Runners travelled from the cities of Melbourne and Sydney for the race because of the valuable prizes offered, generally airfares to the US. Many camped at a local recreation ground designated for the purpose, and I can remember a youthful student, Rob De Castella, camping there having driven up in his old Peugeot. Race day itself always seemed very hot and dry and the course included exposed gravel roads and a tough climb. The field was always very high quality and would have done justice to any Australian distance-running championship. I don't remember ever doing very well there.
|The Kew Camberwell Athletic Club encampment at|
Griffith prior to the 1979 Bacchus 12000
My club, Kew Camberwell, usually had a large contingent of runners and partners attending, and apart from some running and the race itself, we spent our time playing pick-up cricket and soccer matches on the recreation field where we were camped, visiting wineries and patronising the local clubs. I remember one hard-fought soccer match, played the day before the race, resulting in one of our best runners dislocating his shoulder after a rough tackle. To the amazement of our colleagues from the Glenhuntly running club, camped nearby, we continued with our game after arranging for one of the girls to take the injured runner to the local hospital.
|The victorious team, after a Kew Camberwell intra-club|
pick-up cricket match at Griffith just prior to the 1979
For my exercise today, I just walked 5km as planned. My joints were a bit stiff and sore after yesterday's long run, but I didn't feel very tired, which is a good sign. The only visible cloud on the horizon before next Sunday's Melbourne Marathon, is that Sharon has a bad chest and sinus infection, and is being treated with antibiotics. Selfishly, I hope it's not contagious.