Report by Tanja Miller
On Saturday the 27th of May 2018 I found myself lined up at the start of the Tauranga Cross Country Open. It was a surreal moment for me and I had plenty of self doubt going on “I’m 41 years old! I’ve never been a runner or athlete of any kind so what the heck am I doing here?” and “What if I come last? That’s ok right? Someone has to be tail end Charlie?”
The last memories I had of cross country were back in 1989 at intermediate in Cambridge. I was 12 years old and I decided I never wanted to run another school cross country EVER. They sucked and I sucked so what’s the point? During the next 5 years of high school I stuck to my word. I managed to come up with various excuses to keep me from having to endure the ‘torture’. Then along came husband and the growing, birthing and breastfeeding (13 years of it, yikes!) of 6 demanding babies and thoughts of cross country were hidden well away in the “bad memories” box.
Yet somehow here I was lined up with a fit group of talented teens and mature women who all looked like they’d been running for years! Thankfully I had my trusty side kick Charli running beside me for moral support. I kept my negative thoughts in check as I really wanted to show her and her siblings that you’re never too old too try something new, break out of your comfort zone and find your hidden talents.
Then the starter gun went, snapping me back to reality and it was game on! I had a wee goal of trying to come in under 20 minutes but I didn’t want to go out too fast. I’d been unwell with flu and was still recovering. With my girl running beside me I set about running the best darn race this 41 year old body could. Lap one done and Charli called out “9 mins Mum for lap 1, awesome!” Wow, better than I expected.
The course was firm underfoot with not a speck of mud insight. The sun was shining but there was a strong breeze which made part of each lap more challenging. The dreaded Waipuna cross country course hill was harder than ever and I’m so glad I only had to ascend it twice unlike my husband who had to do it 4 times! And I managed to clear all the barriers without face planting, bonus!
Then somehow I found myself in the finish chute “Go for it Mum” yelled my Charli girl and so I did. I sprinted and crossed the finish line in 17:16! Yes, I did it, I came in under my goal time. All the work I’d put in plodding away up hills and through the grass at Minogue park and Porritt had paid off. It was such an honour to run with a group of women, young and not so young, all with the same goal, get to the finish line! Thanks to Tauranga Ramblers for a great event which welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities and well done to all the runners. If there are any other parents like me who’ve spent years as a sideline supporter for their kids sport. It’s never too late to get out there and join in. It will give you a great insight into what it’s like for them as well as improving your own fitness, If I can do it, anyone can!
|Senior Men & Masters Men 35-64 8060 Metres|
|2||Logan||Rodger||Hamilton City Hawks||29:58||SM||2|
|5||John||Bowe||Hamilton City Hawks||31:31||MM35-49||3|
|15||Les||Miller||Hamilton City Hawks||34:48||MM35-49||10|
|16||Sunil||Hamilton City Hawks||34:48||SM||5|
|27||Gilbert||MacDonald||Hamilton City Hawks||48:28||MM50-64||8|
|Masters Men 65+ 6060 Metres|
|Senior Women, Masters Women Women U18 4060 Metres|
|Men U20 U18 6060 Metres|