|This exit from the Hume Highway was very familiar to|
me in 1971/72.
One evening in late 1970, I was helping wash the dishes in my family's kitchen and listening to the radio when they broadcast the lottery in which marbles marked with all of the dates in the latter half of 1970 were drawn. If you turned twenty in that half year, and the date of your birthday was drawn out of the barrel (22% chance), you were destined for two years of National Service in the Australian Army. My birthday marble was drawn. I was finishing my second undergraduate year at Monash University and could have sought a year's deferment, but I was living at home, riding a Honda 50cc motorbike (hardly a "chick magnet"), and perennially short of money despite various casual and vacation jobs. The Army offered generous tertiary education support for ex-serviceman, and I wasn't philosophically opposed to the Vietnam War at the time, so I didn't seek a deferment and started my military career in April 1971. I hoped to continue my running, but didn't really have any idea how practicable this would be.
|Mug shot on arrival at the Officer Training Unit (OTU), |
Scheyville, in April 1971 (I'm the one in glasses!).
|Some of my fellow OTU classmates after we had returned |
exercises in what is now Wollemi National Park
|My OTU Class Graduation Parade, October 1971|
|Graduation from OTU|
|Program extract from my Battalion's|
Athletics Carnival in Puckapunyal.
I did manage to get more serious about my running career, often training on the tracks and hills of the tank training range, or out along minor country roads, in the evenings. I can also remember regularly dragging my platoon out for 5km morning runs. I won races ranging from the 110m Hurdles through to the 5,000m in various divisional championships within the Armed Forces and represented them against the Universities. On most weekends, I also ran in Victorian competitions with my club.