Own race, own pace. This was my mantra for Hobart Run The Bridge 2016. It was a run about participation and fun rather than speed and hunting that illusive PB. I lined up right at the back of the pack, it felt like forever to get to the start line (this event only has gun time so I started my watch right as I crossed the starting line rather than with the gun). The first 3kms was all about weaving and zooming to get out of the crush. I really enjoyed the challenge of the hills and soon found myself overtaking the 60 minute pacer. The weather has been hot and humid but this morning it was slightly overcast with a slight breeze and 14°C. Perfect. I was having a great time, loving the run every step.
I was running up the eastern incline of the famous Tasman Bridge and there she was. Purple Hat Lady. Immediately I was transported back to one of the first funs runs I’d entered, The Adventure Race 2012. I was running along one of the narrower trail sections of the course and from behind me came a growly GET OUT OF THE ROAD!!! I startled, stepped aside and a lady in a purple running cap trotted by me. No smile. No excuse me. No thank you. My first encounter with Purple Hat Lady.
I saw her again at Hobart Run The Bridge 2013, my first 10km event ever. She would run down the declines, walk up the inclines and trot along the flats. We were regularly passing each other but she pipped me at the post by a matter of seconds. Purple Hat Lady strikes again.
I started to wonder if she would be at every event I entered.
Tasmania is a small state of Australia. We don’t have that many fun runs. Pauly and I love to enter as many as we can, so we see the same people quite regularly. I’ve seen Purple Hat Lady at both Point to Pinnacles (2013 and 2014). I’ve seen her at the Cadbury Marathon two times. I’ve seen her at City to Casino and if I think hard I’ve probably seen her at more.
So there we were on the bridge today. Again. Again she was in front. This time though she wasn’t walking up the inclines, she was running. She was looking slimmer, more toned; more muscly. And I noticed that she had worked on her running style (remember I’ve run behind her quite a bit); she has obviously worked on her technique, she was looking great. Same purple hat though! We kept within meters of each other but then on the last big hill with only 4ish kms to go she walked. Own race, own pace I kept telling myself as I – ninja-like – ran passed her.
Today I did something really sneaky (shhh, don’t tell anyone). I took a guarded little look behind me and memorised her race number. I did. Terrible I know.
With 500m to go the course doubles back on itself. There was Purple Hat Lady yet to reach the turn-around point but not that far away.
Plucking that memorised bib number from the old grey matter, I looked up her results and discovered that she is in the age group above me. She was just a little less than a minute behind.
I didn’t need to get out of the road today. We shared the road and ran The Bridge. There was room for all of us. Whatever Purple Hat Lady is doing training-wise it’s doing her good, she looked great. She was a few minutes faster today than that first encounter on the Bridge four years ago. I really hope I’m running as well as her when I get to the age group she’s in. More power to you Purple Hat Lady, you are an inspiration. Today it was my turn to be in front. Until our next encounter…
The Unsporty Woman’s Run the Bridge official times:
2015: 56.02 (55.25 by my watch)
My 10km PB stays at 51.57…quite a nice number that…think it might just stay that way 🙂
Happy running 🙂