Brisbane awakes to greet this particular morning with a sense of awaiting anticipation. The roads at 5:00am bear not the distinguishable emptiness and silence of a normal Sunday morning whose drowsy awakening is interrupted only occasionally by the slow traffic of the drunken drone insipidly crawling down the motorway… rather this morning, a steady hum of cars and motorbikes fill the city streets en route to the Bridge-to-Brisbane starting line.
The walk required from the car parks alone adds at least another 1.5km to the 12km annual race but somehow the joviality of spirits and liveliness of atmosphere makes the distance hardly consequential to one who has braved the cold of early morning. The arid landscape is coloured by droves of runners, joggers and leisurely striders filtered across the roads, footpaths and medium strips with more and more emerging from around each bend in the road and from unsuspecting bushes and fences.
Even in walking from the carpark, one is assailed by a sense of being part of something far greater and more unified than they could possibly imagine. What we cannot know is that at this premature stage in our journey – such a thought or feeling was diminutive compared to the sight that awaited us over the final hill. A long army of colours thronged like a Chinese dragon from the Bridge Starting Line, like a live creature it pulsated with impatient waiting while the early morning sun danced upon its surface like ripples of gold. 31,000 people… the fit and the unfit amongst us, the Australian, the ethnic, the mother, the daughter, the competitor, the leisurely walker, the fireman, the poet, the businessman, the actor, the parent, the child, in the words of our Commonwealth Games Motif – ‘together, we are one’.
A loud horn sounds above a breathlessly awaiting crowd; the Chinese Dragon begins to dance. Watched from afar, it appears a queer creature that moves slowly up the steepened incline. Its movements are uniformed and unfaulting and its back ripples like a flag caught on a strong gust of wind. Within moments however, this illusionary creature begins to divide itself, faster runners edge ahead away from the mass and the long colourful dragon becomes a fragmented mass of what may look to the observer as ‘small coloured ants’ streaming over the Gateway Bridge.
The 10th Annual Bridge to Brisbane race presented us all with an unequalled opportunity of partaking in ‘life’... relishing the scenery, being awestruck by the magnitude of possibilities that await such a crowd, cherishing the moment, challenging ourselves to embrace that ‘a little bit further’ mentality – to test our limits, to test the strength of our resolve, and above all – to enjoy the diversity of people, countries, views and backgrounds that were represented in this rare tapestry of unified focus. Despite overshadowing ailments, I improved on my time from last year and finished the race at 1hr, 28 minutes. I hope the Bridge to Brisbane becomes for me, one of those ‘traditions’ which I can look forward to with enthusiasm each year and despite its familiarity, continue to be inspired by the stimulation of the race. 5 years ago