Buller Marathon from the Sidelines
6:15 am alarm sounds
Wake Jazzi who is sleeping with Grammar
The troops head to the buses:
two parents, two strollers, two kids.
People are streaming to Victoria Park from all directions.
Buses waiting, buses loading, buses pulling away, more buses loading
Half marathon here; full marathon there.
Picked up and head up the Buller Gorge Road
We're one of the last cars before the road closes at 8 am.
Our support station is set up:
Swarms of kids, parents, even the new school Principal
Water, electrolyte, soaking wet sponges and encouragement.
"You're looking good", "Good job", "Bravo".
Lead car coming.
Everybody get ready.
Here's the first half marathon runner - way ahead of the others.
We are his first water station.
Now there are lots and lots of runners
"More water up front"
"Check the numbers"
(we have special drinks and food for some numbers)
"Stop playing with the sponges kids and pass them to the runners"
"You are soaked.
No we don't have more clothes for you"
The half marathon walkers are here!
What a funny gait. They wiggle their hips.
Some are faster than the runners
And there are swarms of them
filling the road,
wanting water and water and water
and a bit of electrolyte
Not very hot yet, not many sponges.
Yay! Strike up a cheer
Here come the three strollers:
Peggy and Rowan; Hughie and Jasmine; Justine and Ben and Joanna
All awake and looking good
Striding along at a great rate
"Look, there's Sarah. Get your water from her"
No more walkers
"Tea time for the water station"
Relax, tea, coffee, cake, sandwiches, Milo
More water fights.
"Full marathon runners coming"
"Only 16 kilometers to go - you're looking good"
Running styles abound:
Human fleet-footed gazelles float effortlessly over the ground
Platypuses flap, flap, flap,flap
Long-legged giraffes seem disjointed but really cover the ground
Penguins shuffle with tiny steps
Kiwis run with necks extended, heads down
Normal humans just chug along, no particular style, but keep going
Buller Gorge Road opens at ten and traffic is chaos
dangerous in some places.
Sightseers are out
along with tourists who had no idea they would be caught in this.
The town turns out to welcome the runners
Personal marquees are set up along the sunny road.
Some people dress up in their best clothes;
others beat drums of celebration.
Yellow bibs are relay runners
Blue are full marathon runners
White are half marathon runners
Orange are half marathon walkers
All converge on Victoria Park
and enter triumphantly through the memorial gate.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Victoria Park is crowded with happy and exhausted participants
Some stay to eat and drink, visit and listen to music;
Others go straight home to a hot bath!