Running – it’s all about encouragement and fun


Come on this is the last hill, promise! I say this to a young chap who is struggling at the 14km mark. He is red-faced, sweaty and has a look of pure exhaustion. Are you sure? He puffs back to me. Absolutely! I say. Come on, after this some down and then flat to the end.  His posture straightens a little and he keeps running on.


Up ahead is a young woman walking, as I get up to her I see the look of misery on her face. Come on, I say. Run with me for a bit. I chat away about running and Tasmania and tell her lots of silly stuff. She too straightens, smiles a bit and keeps on running.

I catch up with an older man. He is walking. How are you going? I ask. Oh, not too good, he says. This my 11th run of this event and I’m struggling. Come on, I say. Let’s chat and run. We run together for a bit.


With just 4kms to go I come across a lady who is doing it tough. Stooped. Walking. Looking defeated. Her friends are encouraging her and she just wants them to run on and leave her to her misery. Come on, I say. It’s less than a parkrun to go! All her friends say, Yeah! Less than a parkrun! She smiles and sees the logic and starts to run again.


As we run over the official 21.1km marker point I hear a young lady say: This is the longest I’ve ever run! Everyone around smiles and I give her the thumbs up and say, Well done!


Just after the 21.1km mark I come across a young lady who is walking. Come on, I say, We’re so close, run with me! She doesn’t say anything but looks at me and runs. I chat away. Then as we hear the roar of the crowd we quicken our steps. We round the last corner and there is the finish line in sight. We see the crowd as well as hear them. Come on, I say. Sprint to the finish! Off she goes! She crosses the line first and then I come plodding through. She comes over and thanks me and hugs me for helping her with the last couple of kms.


Louise and Pauly turn to each other and say, She’s made a new friend on the run.

And I did. I made lots of new friends. The Great Ocean Road Half Marathon was the sweetest, friendliest run I’ve done for a long time. I had the race nutirion right and for the first time in a long time no worries with gut issues. I set out to have fun and enjoy myself and I did.

AND with every word of encouragement I uttered to other runners I was encouraging myself and remembering what it feels like to struggle. AND being grateful that it was my day for a wonderful run and my day to be the encourager.  My day to return the favour for all the wonderful encouragement I’ve received from other runners when I was struggling.

I encouraged countless people. I stopped frequently to take in the views of the ocean and the cliffs and snap photos. I thanked every volunteer that I ran by. The best run ever!

I was there for a fun time not a fast time.


Unsporty Woman Great Ocean Road Stats:

  • Facebook updates: 4
  • Koala sightings: 1
  • Photo stops: way too many to count!
  • Hills: lots!
  • Happy chats: heaps
  • 21:1km time:  2:20:23
  • 23km time:  2:29:58 (scraping in just under 2:30:00 as I’d predicted)
  • Category position:  44 out of 82
  • Overall position:  1980 out of 2487
  • Happiness: off the scale

This run has demonstrated everything that I love about running. Running for fun. Running for challenge (those undulating hills were a slog in places). It was my second slowest half marathon but one of my happiest.

A romantic couple who ran a lot of the way holding hands.
A romantic couple who ran a lot of the way holding hands.

Louise and I had a good chat about the run in the back seat of the hire car as we drove back to Melbourne on Monday. I sort of think I should aim to run a bit faster and stopping to update facebook certainly doesn’t make me faster. (But I saw a Koala!) You just aren’t competitive, you run for fun, and that’s not a bad thing, Louise suggested to me. I think she’s right. I’m not. I like to be fit and have endurance to run a long way. It’s crossing the finish line and feeling good about it that makes it a wonderful run. (Poor old Huey, Louie and Daffy had to wait 30 minutes for me though – they all say they don’t mind).

I had lots of lovely encouraging texts from  Janette; I mentioned that it was a really slow time for me and that perhaps I should’ve tried a bit harder.  She suggested that if I’d left my phone at home I’d have finished 15 minutes faster but loved the updates so was glad I had it with me.

warm clothes bags:   we were bused to the start of the race and then ran back to the finish.
warm clothes bags: we were bused to the start of the race and then ran back to the finish.

Goal Accomplished!

The Great Ocean Road Marathon event is rated by some as being in the top 30 marathon events in the world. It is! It is simply stunning. My goal on Sunday was to run all the way, to finish; to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the sound of the crashing waves. One day we’re coming back to run the 45km marathon.

Half Marathon Number 11? I loved it!!!

Happy running 🙂

Ps the distances are a little over the standard marathon and half marathon distances because the courses run from town to town.  The road is so narrow in places that a town is the most logical place for the starts and finishes.

PPs We’re in Western Australia for the week visiting my daughter.  I will post the profile of the course when I get back to my pc.

24 thoughts on “Running – it’s all about encouragement and fun

  1. What a lovely review of the run, your happiness is certainly infectious and all those people you stopped to talk to will remember your encouragement and support! I looked for you at the beginning but was very happy to find you at the finish 😄
    It was indeed a beautiful run, I really want to go back next year and complete that marathon. It was a run of great trepidation for me as I really had no idea how it would go, I had no plan, no time, I had terrible problems with both the travel sickness from the bus journey and a nervous tummy, I didn’t touch my gels, water or glucose tablets (no idea why, I had them all in my belt)
    I learn lots on that run, was lucky to get away with it after 6 weeks of minimal running but the view gave me goosebumps every time I looked to the sea and I’m on such a high still having completed it 😀
    Enjoy your time with your family xx

    1. Super super super impressed with your run after your injury, being unwell on the bus as well as nerves!!! And you ran it all the way without any fuel, that’s amazing. Paul doesn’t have anything on the run either. I don’t know how you do it! The views and the scenery were simply stunning. I can’t believe how lovely it was. And I loved you skydiving photos! You are a braver woman than me. What a fantastic weekend you had with the most amazing results, very well done. I hope you get to do the marathon 🙂 It was lovely to see you at the finish line. All the best with the next BIG challenge Sam xxx

  2. Why does it not surprise me one little bit about all your encouraging!!?? You have to be the most giving runner – giver of good vibes and pick-me-ups. Yay, you!!!! As Samantha has written – all those people will remember that crazy, happy lady who helped them out with encouraging words. It certainly sounds like an amazing run. … and best of all YOU SAW A KOALA!!!

    1. Hehe thanks Janette 🙂 you are lovely. I had the best run ever. I can’t believe how much I loved it. It was so good for it to be my turn to support other runners, loved it! I was so desperate to see a koala. Honestly I bet I looked drunk while we were running through the bushy parts, looking here, looking there. Seeing a koala without any of the other fantastic things about this run would be enough to get me back there again!

  3. Wow, once again you inspire me. It sounds like a great run and lots of fun – but I can’t believe you managed 4 Facebook updates – that’s super impressive. Have fun with your daughter.

    1. Thanks Debbie 🙂 I had to tell everyone I had found a koala. One friend has an older phone and can’t receive photos so I just had to fb it! We are having a lovely time in WA. It’s so nice to see my girl and my future-son-in-law. Thanks for the lovely comment Debbie xxx

  4. You really are amazing and inspiring Anne-Marie! I bet you made a huge difference to those other runners & you had a wonderful time along the way. I think enjoying a run is a perfectly legitimate goal. There will be other half marathons & PB attempts, this one was memorable for other reasons. X

    1. Thanks Tahnee 🙂 that is a lovely comment and it has brought a tear to my eye. I so love that we runners get each other so well. We do walk in each other’s shoes. I might have a little go at Run Melbourne (maybe). Thanks so much for the lovely and very humbling comment xxx

  5. Annie you are so fabulous. Many people like you have helped me and encouraged me when I thought I might have a cardiac arrest. It is so appreciated.

    1. Thanks Sue 🙂 Oh I know all about that side of it too. Ross Half Marathon last year… oh my goodness, if it hadn’t been for encouraging words I’d never have made it. I loved that it was my turn to be the supporter this time.

      1. Thing is… It’s the kind of thing I do and it drives my KID insane… It’s like “MOM REALLY???” Lol!!!! And he hates it even more if I wanna stop and take a selfie!!! Haaahahahaaaa!!!!

  6. I love this post! My husband and friends are always saying the same thing – “Oh, she made a new friend” as I shake hands with or high five the people that have come in around me at the finish line. One of my favorite parts of doing races. Congrats on half marathon number 11!

    1. Thanks Jackie 🙂 It’s so wonderful to be that special person who makes a difference on a run. I’ve had so many special people who have helped me…it was lovely for it to be my turn to give back.

  7. What a great run it was and so well organised,we had a fantastic weekend.
    I’m sure if you left you phone behind you would have saved 15 mins but wouldn’t have no were near as much fun or proof you ready did see a koala.
    All that realy matters is crossing that finishing line( and the medal 😂 ) of course. I love waiting and watching looking for that pink hat to appear and the smiling face. We can just about work out what time to expect you now thanks to your face book updates 😂
    It’s always nice to have people that care on the finish line xo

    1. It is so lovely to have people who care on the finish line. I was looking out for all three of you and there you were! It was such a lovely weekend. One that will be hard to top I think. One of those really awesome weekends to remember for ever! Thank goodness for facebook updates hehe 🙂 Perhaps for Run Melbourne I’ll have a little go…maybe… xxx

  8. I love encouraging other runners, and I’m grateful for how willing other people are to give me support when I need it. I loved reading your recap. You’re such a positive person! Gives me aspirations to just enjoy running and not worry about the competition so much.

    1. Thanks Shaz 🙂 when I added them up I was quite shocked. It’s just amazing how far this running thing can take us. And it still stuns me every time I cross the finish line even though I’ve done it a few times now hehe 🙂

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