London Zoo 10K Stampede - A Spectator's View!

London Zoo 10K Stampede - A Spectator's View!

Evening all, Aussie reporting in after the London Zoo 10K that I couldn't run today...

Firstly, thank you to ALL of you for your kind words to date and I will reply to you soon. I thought it would be worthwhile sharing my experience of being a DNS today but still being at the race... and it was great...

Mrs Aussie, the little Vegemites and I arrived nice and early at the Zoo and I got some really positive words from the race registration folks and the marshals when they realised I was injured, registered to race, but had come on down anyway...

As we headed for the start line there was that pre-race "buzz" that those of you who've run in events will understand. That "20 minutes before we start" electricity and the move towards the start funnel... The Zoo had laid out the funnel into waves based on estimated finishing times, so I wandered on down to the 50-60 minutes area and let them all know that I would have been with them today but as I wasn't they'd have to push extra hard! Wished them all good luck and got some really nice vibes going in the funnel... I'm clearly mad and should maybe marshal events or something too one day but I thought "well, if I can't run it I'm going to do my best to cheer on those who can"...

5 minutes to go and we made our way just past the start line to see them all come past... BOY can those front runners move... they were OFF! Took about 4-5 minutes I reckon to get them all through the funnel but there wasn't a lot of jostling about on the narrow paths and you could really see how the wave approach worked out well... The Aussies cheered 'em all through and then went to find some breakfast... we figured we'd have about 35 minutes or so until the first flying runners were back (I still don't know how they run that fast for that long!)...

I bumped into one of the organisers on the way back and was in my "Work, Rest, RUN" top... she asked me why I wasn't running... when I told her this there was lots of "we really appreciate you coming in anyway" and lots of positive vibes again... I couldn't possibly comment, but I may have secured a spot for next year already and if I'm first on the list you may even see the Aussie in a number 1 bib for the 2015 race! They even handed me a goody bag (no shirts - don't worry) and I got a good look at the medal... next year I want one!

About 35 minutes in and the little Vegemites and I headed back to about 30 metres before the finish line to cheer people home... 36:45 and the first bloke comes over the line - WOW, just wow... amazing times and levels of fitness in these front runners... Harder still to believe the WR is 10 minutes faster! :)

Numbers 2 and 3 followed in the next few minutes and after 5 or 6 of the men it was time for the ladies... and 1, 2 AND 3 were in a tight sprint finish... how exciting! Big clap and cheers ("C'MON GIRLS!") and they went for it... it was one of those courses where you see the line as you come round a corner... and there were a lot of sprint finishers today... We stayed until the last lot of runners came in at around 1:36 or so and I tried to clap and encourage all of them... I got lots of smiles, thumbs up and nods from the runners today and even got a thank you after one bloke finished in a sub-60 minute time... seems I'd yelled out to him "c'mon mate, this'll be a sub 60 minute one for you if you push it now... look up at the clock!"... he took off like a rocket and crossed the line in 59:53 and he came to find me after his run to stand with me and cheer on the others and to say thanks for pushing him to his PB and breaking that hour... was a great moment! Some other great moments today:

1) A dad grabbing his 5 year old's hand 20 metres from the finish line and running over the line with him.

2) Mum and daughter finishing in 1:05 and crossing the line hand in hand.

3) Mum stopping 20m from the finish to kiss her kids and husband and THEN crossing the line in 1:02!

4) The smiles, laughs and thanks from the runners for the support...

I loved it today - it wasn't as good as running it, but as I AM a runner it was great to support runners... and it felt good to be positive about it... The family had a great time too and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the Zoo...

And the ankle? Best day EVER for it too... the exercises are working, the drugs are doing their thing and the swelling is coming down. It's nowhere near ready to run on yet but it's been the best day so far for it and it's not been as painful as it has... the running gods still like me, even when I don't run... so, fingers crossed and I'll be out (gently) on those trails soon...

My lessons? When you can't run, support someone who can run! Marshal, clap, cheer... get involved... it was disappointing not to run but the buzz of the those who could was enough to feed off for a little while...

Thanks for all your positive vibes, it's keeping me sane. I'll be back soon - it's a marathon, not a sprint... :)

Happy running for those who can... happy resting for those who can't (or shouldn't)...

PS. Thanks Team C25K for ALL your support and kind words - I really appreciate it... I'll keep ya'll posted and I'll stay active on here anyway... you're not going to run away from me that easy...

24 Replies

  • Excellent write up Aussie. You were effective even when not running! Hope you get the pace for next year - you deserve it on your support role alone.

  • Sounds like a great race to take part in and spectate at, glad you had a good day and made to most of being injured. Here's to a speedy recovery! :)

  • Great post Aussie! Sounds like the folk really appreciated your support and you still sound so upbeat even though it must have been hard for you not being able to run. Glad your ankle is feeling better today- have everything crossed for a speedy recovery for you -and glad too that you will still be motivating us lot. x :-D

  • Oh Aussie, what a lovely post. Sounds like a wonderful day and a great experience for you and the family. Even if you couldn't take part as a runner, you did your bit cheering on and encouraging those that could. So well done m'dear. What comes around goes around, so reckon you've stored up some good running Kama today. Won't be long now until you're back out there clocking up the miles again. :)

  • Aw Aus, that fair warmed mi' cockles .....

    Sounds like you had a fab day with your family, and Im so sad for you that you couldn't take part.

    Massive big up to you for going there to support and encourage the others, you're a top bloke .

    Onwards to recovery ! :-) xxx

  • You sound to me like you was born to run and be part of running. It shows massively.

    I do feel for you not being able to run, but can hear in your post that you'll be fit and well and determined to be out there when ready ;-)

    Here's to a speedy recovery. I'm running next year in Richmond park for the Down's syndrome association with your great posts I feel I already know the place ha ha :-)

  • Chapeau, Sir.

  • Hey Aussie, what a lovely post: Your generosity will entitle you to running karma for next year I am sure! Glad to hear the ankle is improving and that you had a great time despite not bring able to run. Good luck with your continued recovery. :-)

  • Way to go Aussie! Even though you are not running you show a big runner’s heart. Fair play to you sir.

  • What a great report! You are just an all round inspiration, whether or not you are running. So glad it was a good day for the Aussie family, and what a great lesson to your little vegemites. Well done. :)

  • I want that polar bear ...

  • Aww Aussie, what a lovely post! Kudos for keeping your chin up and staying positive. xx

  • It seems like you really turned the negative of not being able to run into a huge positive for yourself. How easy it would have been to sit around feeling sorry for yourself but you seem to have had a tremendous time watching and encouraging others. (We won't say a word about possibly bribing the organisers for next year)

  • That's a lovely post. I'm so sorry you couldn't run but you turned it around and you encouraged others. Well done - glad you and the family had a great day, and fingers crossed that you get that number one bib ;)

  • Really good post, and I completely agree - when I was injured for a significant time last summer it was marshalling at Parkrun that kept in me going with my 'fix'. Good on ya Aussie! :-)

  • Hi Aus

    Sounds like you had a fab day despite not running yourself

    I was out cheerleading marathon runners yesterday. Shouting, clapping, whistling, whooping my head off. I noticed that those runners who had stopped and were walking soon started running again when they met up with cheering supporters. You could see them physically lift, so well done all supporters. The runners need you!!!!

    I hope you'll soon be back out there Aussie!!!!!

  • Oh what a lovely post Aussie. Did anyone else well up when reading the 'great moments' bit? No? Just me then. :)

  • Well done for supporting Aussie, hope your able to get back out there soon. Fingers crossed for your place for next year

  • Fantastic posting Aussie, I almost felt like I was there. Great to get out there and cheer on all the runners. Glad to hear that your ankle is slowly feeling better and improving. We're all sending you positive vibes, we can all identify with the frustrations of injury.

  • Well, what an absolutely lovely post Aussie. I wonder how many other runners did something amazing because they heard you cheering and encouraging them on when they really needed a boost.

    And just as important, if not more so, the fact that you were able to enjoy their successes and notice the little things that make these occasions so special for so many. Thank you for such a great write-up and a reminder that it's not all about times, pace, place - but sometimes just being there, being supportive and being involved, in whatever capacity.

    *'The Vegemites' it!

  • We need spectators like you, but I hope you get to run again very soon, Aussie. Well done for going down and giving your support when it would have been so easy to hole up at home feeling sorry for yourself. You're made of the right stuff, and it's great to hear that the good vibes flowed freely :)

  • That's a lovely race report from a supporter! Seeing your photo is getting me excited & very nervous for Kew! I know there's no polar bear though haha! I'm so sorry to hear about your injury & I really feel your disappointment but you have done the best thing which is to rest up (says she who has been advised by her docs to give up running due to bone & joint issues) Give yourself a bit of TLC & I know you will come back fitter, stronger & raring to go for the next race. On a positive note enjoy the atmosphere of Kew, I'll think of you during my first 10k but think of me & by all shout at the back runners especially those struggling to complete the second 10k for the HM as I will definitely be one of the slow ones! Speedy recovery.

  • Nice work there Aussie and good of you to cheer on the runners. I'm sure you'll be back before long.

  • I've been out of the loop for a while due to a period of illness, but now dipping my toes back in. So I didn't realise you were injured - really sorry to hear that.

    This post us just great - what a fantastic, positive, selfless thing to do. I love that it was the right thing to do to go and support those runners while you couldn't do yourself what you would have relished.

    Hope the injury is sorted soon and you can get back to it :-) xx

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