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Unexpected hazards

I stuck to my decision of yesterday and did not go for a run, or even a walk, today.  The pain in my arch is minimal walking around the house, so I'm hopeful that after another day off tomorrow, the pain will no longer be an issue.

With no training to report on today, I thought I would include a copy of an article I wrote for my Kew Camberwell District AAC's July 1981 newsletter about an incident in a race earlier that year.

The gun fired (Fred's whistle blew) for the start of the annual Victorian Marathon Club Tullamarine Half Marathon on 2 May 1981 and the field settled into the traditional bunch to fight the gale-force headwind. The pace was extremely slow, but like half a dozen others, I was more than happy to let a "bigger bloke" bear the brunt of the conditions. The course consists of two equal laps with three-quarters of each lap passing through windswept rural land and the remainder through suburban Tullamarine. Initially you head north into the country and I waited until we turned south out of the wind before making my move to the front. By the time I had covered five miles, I was into the suburbs again with a lead of some two minutes.

On my way to 2nd Place (2:31) in the 1976 Victorian
Marathon Club Marathon Championship.
As I ran along the left-hand side of the broad suburban road (as instructed by Fred) I was contemplating the hazards of starting too fast when another hazard drew itself to my attention. The extremely loud screech of brakes and tyres immediately behind caused me to simultaneously break the Club high and long jump records (not to mention heart rate). I landed in a quivering heap on the grass verge and looked back to see that a bright red panel van complete with wide wheels and chrome trim had stopped about two metres behind where I had been at "lift off". Inside were two lads having a good laugh at a joke I failed to see. We exchanged a few pleasantries, which did little to dissipate my fear-turned-to-fury, and I looked for a more tangible means of expressing my disapproval. My gaze fell on a small stone in the grass and picking it up I took hurried aim (I was now running again) at the open passenger window. Alas! I missed and hit the bright red duco on the door. This was a joke the lads failed to see. The van was quickly in pursuit and pulled into the curb a few metres in front of me. The driver and passenger started to get out but were too late and I was past. The driver's IQ was not as bright as his duco and he tried the same thing again only to miss me by a wide margin. At this point he must have been hit by a flash of inspiration because he drove to a point one hundred metres in front of me this time before stopping.

I unleashed my finishing burst eleven kilometres early and rapidly closed on the rear of the van as the driver struggled for traction on the road attempting to round the front of his vehicle. He was wearing football boots and they were slipping on the bitumen! The passenger was also getting out and I really put my head down. The driver reached the grass verge and accelerated rapidly but not quite quickly enough and I just managed to evade his outstretched hands. My nascent sense of victory was aborted by the sight of another van stopping further up the road. Two large fellows got out, and with arms spread-eagled, blocked the path in front of me. The footballer was still hot on my heels and I had visions of the rest of the field seizing their opportunity to overtake while I was pummelled to a pulp on the footpath. On my left was a metre high school fence. Just as I was about to vault it and head for Mildura, the fellows in front yelled to my pursuers to leave me alone and moved apart to let me through. They then jumped on the footballer and I never looked back. However, I did run on the right-hand side of the road for the remainder of the race (despite Fred's remonstrations) figuring that if the lads wanted to run over me from behind they would at least have to drive on the wrong side of the road to do it.

[Footnote:  I finished 1st in 68:16]