A bucket list item since I started taking fitness and endurance competitions seriously was to win a race. It didn't matter where, what distance, or how. To cross the line first in front of every other athlete was all that mattered.
On the 26th of August 2023, I achieved that goal — A 5km Parkrun.
I was in England for 2 weeks seeing friends and family after an extensive period of avoiding the long-haul flight from Australia.
On the 3rd day of my trip, I woke up to a sunny Saturday morning and decided to take part in the local 5km Parkrun due to start at 9 am.
After one too many beers the night before catching up with friends I needed a) water b) coffee and c) food (if manageable).
Then at 8:58 am I looked at my Garmin and thought ‘Oh Bugger!’ I’m going to miss the start.
So I quickly laced up my trainers and sprinted down the road to the field where I found a large group of people who looked ready for a 5km run.
10 seconds later the organiser shouted 3, 2, 1, GO!
I crossed the line 18 minutes and 46 seconds later and was handed the #1 Token.
On the walk home, I thought how did I manage that? After years of trying to win a race where my fitness was much higher, I wasn’t hungover, jetlagged and followed a training plan leading into every race.
For my first win — I simply rocked up 10 seconds before the start and went for it.
Whether it was the alcohol, the fact I only decided to take part an hour beforehand, or I had nothing to lose — I was super relaxed at the start.
All my best races and performances have happened because I was calm beforehand.
My 10km PB of 36 minutes — After a few glasses of wine the night before, waiting in the starting pen chilled out, singing to myself whilst watching the other competitors bounce around in their anxious state.
My sub 10-hour Ironman — Laughing with friends on the start line, hearing comments such as ‘You look so relaxed, mate!’.