Australia Day Aquathon 2017

On Thursday I completed the Australia Day Aquathon.

The Australia Day Aquathon consists of a swim in the Wollongong Harbour and a nearby run. The distance that participants completed was dependent on their personal preferences. As it was my first time participating, I went with the ‘Try Aqua’ distance of a 200m swim and a 2km run (or rather a walk for me).

When I went to the registration desks, I was surprised and pissed off to learn that the ‘Try Aqua’ category wasn’t being timed. Every other category, including the kids’ category was being timed, even though the ‘Try Aqua’ people were “giving it a go”, it still didn’t mean that we couldn’t be timed.

I panicked when I heard the organiser informing that womens’ individual under 30 had to line up on the sand, especially when I saw some women in that category were wearing yellow swim caps as it was the same colour that the ‘Try Aqua’ category were assigned. I asked the organiser and thankfully, he told me that (at the time) we wouldn’t be starting for another half hour.

Not long after that I found some other ‘Try Aqua’ participants, one lady I spoke to had done the Aquathon a few times at longer distances but decided to do the ‘Try Aqua’ distance as she had a baby four months ago. I also had a good chat and laugh with three other ‘Try Aqua’ ladies, with one of them wishing me luck with a thumbs up a few seconds before starting.

The Aquathon would mark the first time I would be swimming in the ocean in six years, it was cool as I was entering the water and it took me a few minutes to figure out when to get off my feet. Lucky for me, the water was cool but not too cold, and calm. We all swam around a boat dubbed ‘Shellac’ and past a huge orange buoy, before swimming back to shore.

After the swim, we made our way up a set of stairs to the concrete concourse where we would put our shoes on. Even though I wasn’t timed, I didn’t want to take too much time putting my shoes on. I quickly dried my feet, sat down and put my socks on my wet feet, my joggers on and started the walk (but not before hearing the comment of an amused spectator on my plastic pouch with my phone and keys in it, hidden in my shoe).

Other runners, mostly kids, kept running into my arms for some reason, I didn’t think they were swinging out that much. I hate the fact that I kept apologising to them all as they were running into me. I made my way past the Continental Pools and to the bronze statue near the Northbeach Pavilion where I turned around. When I was on Cliff Road nearing the finish line, I looked at the people cheering their loved ones on, some people cheered me on, which was nice of them and gave me a giggle. I crossed the finish line after months of training just before 9.30am, but not before posing a little for the official photographer.

As I wasn’t timed, I concluded from the 8.55-9am start time and the approx 9.30am finish that the Aquathon took me about 30 to 35 minutes to complete, so between 2 to 7 minutes over my training times. This didn’t surprise me as my training times didn’t take the change over into account.

Overall I was pretty pleased with myself and it turned out that my family and friends were proud of me. It certainly upped my motivation for my impending ‘fun walker not runner’ tour later this year.





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