My RunASOne october highlights

Spring time in Adelaide has always been a special time to get out and run. The weather is warming up and the days are lasting longer, while the trails have dried up, and the grass tracks are in peak condition! Aside from the magpies trying to take your head off, you won’t hear many complaints from us South Aussie runners this time of year. Unfortunately, the cancellation of the City to Bay did dampen a few spirits, but there were still plenty of events to keep the RunAsOne team busy, and it was great to see so many taking advantage of the opportunities. In summary, these are just a few of the many moments that put a smile on my face last month!

1. Izzi bounces back!

In 2020 our super coach Izzi went from strength to strength claiming 2 national medals, and another 2 state records on her way to an Olympic debut in Tokyo. Izzi earned her spot on the team with relentless determination, resilience, and training consistency, and we all enjoyed watching her realise her much deserved Olympic dream in Tokyo. At this point, I had admittedly begun to expect perfection from Izzi as she led by example in both training and racing. After the Olympics, her return to Australia saw her take a forced break from running, which provided a well earned rest. However, this break also posed a new challenge: a return to fitness! It has been insightful to witness this journey back to full fitness, which has endured some rough sessions, and a slightly disappointing race under what seemed to me like a weight of expectation. However, within just one week of disappointment, came a performance that may go down as her best tactical race so far, and one that earned her a win at the prestigious Noosa 5km Bolt. I don’t think I would be alone in saying that watching her bounce back and weather disappointment is perhaps more inspiring for her team than any medal or record will ever be.

2. Luke Mitchell breaks through again!

Following on from my recent blog on Luke, he has gone and started the track season with another breakthrough performance over 10km, and debuted at his first handicap race in style. 25 laps of the track is daunting even for the most seasoned athletes, but at the state championships in October Luke took 55 seconds off of his previous 10km PB, and was second across the line behind his coach Riley! His time of 31:04 makes him a very competitive runner at this distance in any running festival or track race nationwide. A week after this show of strength on the track, Luke nearly pulled off a win in his first handicap race at the Flinders 3200m. Starting as one of the backmarkers, Luke gradually made his way through the field before storming home to take second place just 4 seconds behind a competitor who started nearly 100m ahead. His last lap was scintillating, and he was overall the fastest runner on the grass track that night. We are very excited to see what Luke can do on the track this year, and I anticipate that this won’t be the last smile he brings to our faces!

3. 115km!

I can usually comprehend a feat of endurance, but at the recent Heysen trail race from Kuitpo Forest to Victor Harbor, the finishers of the 115km had me asking how!? Laura Chapman managed the amazing feat, as did Justin and Kate McDonald who conquered the course together just as they have done for at least 5km per day for every day since 2016. Regardless of time and place, this trio must have endured so much adversity throughout the day and were no doubt tempted to stop on many occasions. When given an option like this when you’re on your own in the middle of nowhere, I can’t confidently say I’d choose to continue like these three did. Furthermore, on a day that many others struggled, this trio thrived! They have done themselves and their RunAsOne team mates extremely proud. The following two quotes from the amazing finishers capture the achievement in better words than I possibly could.
Justin and Kate: “We got through 115km together because we kept each other smiling all the way to the finish line and beyond”

Laura: “I went in to the race not quite believing I could complete the 115km distance but wanting to give it a really good crack. The faith my friends, family and coaches had in my ability kept me going through the pain the whole way.”

What an achievement!

4. RunAsOne cult figure, and now marathon runner!

Lastly, RunAsOne cult figure Jarryd Pike joined best mate and RunAsOne teammate Chris Skull to cross the finish line of the Murray Bridge Marathon! I’ve known these guys for a while, and I’m confident that they wouldn’t be offended to hear me say that I didn’t see this one coming! Jarryd (“Pikey”) has been a great Addition to RunAsOne since he started earlier this year, bringing a new level of energy to our 6:30 am session start time. While Jarryd brings a lot of fun to the group, it is Chris who set the challenge for the pair to complete this marathon! Pikey and Chris demonstrated admirable discipline completing every run Riley set them, while still maintaining a busy social schedule! While we all had a laugh at Pikey’s expense along the journey, he proved to be exceptionally resilient. On the day, he was equipped with his new half tights (anti chafe), and 2XU running socks (anti blister). He stuck with Chis who set a remarkably consistent pace from gun to tape, and they crossed together in just over 3 and half hours! This was one of the more enjoyable journeys I’ve had the privilege of following, and I can honestly say I had a smile from ear to ear hearing their result. Furthermore, they proceeded to offer a series of updates from their night of celebrations that also didn’t disappoint in the slightest. Well done fellas!

In similar style to highlight number 3, the following comment from another runner on Instagram is testament to the value these guys bring to RunAsOne and the wider running community:

“How did the lads in the first pic end up at mbmf (Murray Bridge Marathon Festival)? I was running with them for a bit. Nice guys.”

To repeat my sentiments in the introduction, the 4 highlights covered in this blog are just a few of the many moments that put a smile on my face this month. This group continues to go from strength to strength, and every single member plays a part in that. I can’t wait for the next few months of training and racing within this fantastic community. See you Tuesday!