Round The Bays

“The Journey
The Destination:
A Better Lifestyle For You.
A Brighter Future For
Our Children”

From the Round The Bays Fun Run Information pamphlet.

It was a dreaded sunny day so I decided to participate in the 28th annual Round The Bays fun run. Gathering my brother for some company, I headed off to the city centre for 8.3 kilometres of fun.

Driving around the downtown area at 9.00 am searching for a car park, it seemed that if 80,000 people were going to be in the area that it might possibly be a good idea to have one of the many city council-owned car parks in the area open. In the end I parked in the Sky City car park. On ya.

It was a bit of a rush to get to the start line, but the walk along Quay Street was accompanied by commentary from pseudo-funnyman Willy De Witt.

Finally 9.30 rolled around and Mr De Witt counted down and said “Go!” then a big booming cannon went off. Three minutes later I was able to find room to walk a few steps and finally started my journey around the bays.

By that stage the commentary included the dulcet tones of Miss/Mrs/Ms Helen Clark, prime minister of this fair nation. She stood atop an extended platform, resplendent in a white, green and pink tracksuit.

There were many people from various companies wearing their customised shirts. URLs and nonsensical slogans abounded (“Speed matters. Now more than ever.”).

I had the opportunity to go along as part of a corporate team, but I didn’t. What’s in it for me? I’d still have paid the same entry fee, I would have got a rude-arse singlet and been able to take part in a post-run corporate shin-dig. Not much incentive there. I will walk with a number on my shirt, but not with a name.

On more than one occasion I found myself stuck behind a group of people from various firms who constantly whinged about all sorts of things. One group of women agreed that they were “about a quarter of the way through” when they were actually about three quarters.

It’s not really a true Round The Bays due to the fact that a number of bays at the beginning are not gone around, but are gone through. The race started on the land formerly known as Mechanics Bay, then went over the land bridge that cuts off most of Judges Bay from the sea, then past Hobson Bay. I would have liked to have seen the course go around Hobson Bay. That would have sorted out the corporate whingers doin’ it for The Children from the hardcore athletes.

Back on the course, the next bay was Okahu bay. This was marked by the crunch of plastic cups after a water stop and a line of people waiting to go to the toilet. That’s just silly. Go to the toilet before or after, but don’t go during. But then, people were stopping and buying fast food and others were smoking afterwards, so it’s not really all that surprising.

Around past Bastion Point, and on to Mission Bay, where the first hose ho stood spraying the runners and walkers with her garden hose. Some hose hos were good, in that they sprayed only about half the road, but one old bastard had his hose going across most of the width of the road, meaning that an impromptu wet t-shirt extravaganza took place.

Then there were the mothers with prams. Those three-wheel off-road prams, that, like those 4 Wheel Drive vehicles that never make if off sealed road, will never make it off pavement. Mothers pushing babies or small children in these prams were the most violent and unpleasant thing about the entire event. My heels were whacked on many occasions by the front wheel of one of these prams. The worst bit was when there’d be a large group of pram-wielding mothers all in a row. When faced with them, passing became a tactical manoeuvre. I’d like to see a separate race for the mothers with prams.

Next was Kohimarama Beach, and even more hose hos, then finally around the corner and there was a large banner proclaiming “FINISH”. Somewhere the Venga Boys played. I tally-ho’d off to the finish line, handed my slip to the time keeper and made it in 99 minutes.

If I sucked and didn’t believe in giving free publicity to any company (like the only good publicity is paid publicity), I’d refrain from mentioning the sponsor, but as I don’t suck I shall.

At the finish line I received a nice cold carton of Milo (the ready made stuff, not the powder) and a Kit Kat bar, courtesy of Nestle. I sat down in the sun and nursed my aching feet (my shoes were too small) and got a bit of life back in my arse.

Then off to a service station for a cold non-milk-based beverage, then on to the bus back to the city. The walk from the bus depot back to my car was the hardest, as the two blisters on my feet seemed to be hurting even more.

But I got home, had a shower, then enjoyed a celebratory lunch with my brother.

And you know what the best part was? It was for the children (pronounced “choowdrin”), apparently.

Almost two months later my “Certificate of Merit” showed up. The best part of it is that it shows that I was placed 502nd in the women’s under-25 age group. This slightly alarms me as I am not under 25.

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