Friday, August 14, 2009

A brief apology to Pre

Last Sunday I finished my 26th City to Surf. Aside from the rather esoteric 3000 metres on the track, the City to Surf is my favourite race. At 14k, it's long enough to require some endurance, but short enough that it doesn't resemble a slow and painful tooth extraction.

New sub-3 man Scott Brown has been kind enough to nominate me as southern Canberra's answer to Steve Prefontaine. I've taken this on board and have decided to run all races out hard, in front — because (in the words of Pre) "winning any other way is chicken shit!"

This is the tactic I used in my recent Calgary ski jump 5k. Except that I wasn't "in front" — I'm too slow to ever be in front, but I can still race out hard, and bugger the consequences. These were my thoughts as I was chatting to Adam prior to the start on a beautifully cool and sunny day.

Sometime between that chat and the gun firing to send 63,000 runners charging down William Street, I reverted to type. I couldn't force myself to race out hard, so as I ran up to the Kings Cross tunnel, I said under my breath a brief apology to Pre — "forgive me this one time".

My conservatism resulted in a good race. I was relaxed and enjoying the day. I even threw my arms in the air in time to Enter Sandman, belted out by the band on the roof of the Golden Sheaf Hotel. I didn't die running up heart-break hill! I had time to look around and marvel at the people I was running with — from young teenagers to grey-haired ladies and a man pushing his child in a three-wheeled stroller.

I ran a strong last 4k, rushing down Military Road with my friends, and even managing something of a sprint for the 300 metres of Queen Elizabeth Drive to the finish. A 67:18 chip time was slower than last year, but I was happy. Maybe next year I'll listen to Metallica before the race, and that'll fire me up enough to race like Pre!

That's me in the middle!Me with my friends! This photo was in the C2S gallery but now it's gone. Was I too ugly?


Blogger Thomas said...

As long as the grey-haired ladies didn't all beat you, you don't have to apologise!

11:27 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Well done, Ewen! "winning any other way is chicken shit!"...I love this.

1:31 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Ewen I'm worried about you, if things go on this way your soon be overtaken by the 3 wheeled buggy guy!
Stop listening to the Jason Donovan tracks and put on some thrash metal.
If you turn into a fun runner your be happy and content [and boring] but your soon miss the pain and misery of the long distance runner, so put some drawing pins under your eye lids and take it to the limit one more time! maybe just maybe your hit that elusive runners high on the way to a new age group p.b.

4:05 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Rick you leave Jason Donovan out of this! It's obvious that he hasn't been listening to his stuff from "the early years," hey Ewen.

You know Ewen when I saw your result from the C2S on Speedygeoff's blog, I didn't know that you had taken the race out so unPre like. The result looked good to me and I thought you had gone out fast and dragged it in.

I suppose we can forgive you this one time but please get back to starting like a "Bat out of hell."
(Don't even think aboout putting shit on "Meatloaf" Rick).

Still, you may have done the right job with this 14K distance but I've heard that going out fast is maybe the best way to race 5Ks.

And you know you have to do it to keep the legend alive. Few of the runners today know of Steve Prefontaine. I was at a race last year and this guy was tearing out in front when I yelled "GO PRE" He looked at me like I was trying to sell him a Mobil link prepayed phone!

Well done in the C2S, by the way.

7:11 am  
Blogger jen said...

Oh my!! That is a huge race!

Great job and great pace. I love the Pre quote, he's got some good ones. I think you are definitely the Aussie Pre! :)

12:06 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

Yep, love the quote " winning any other way is chicken shit ". Won't happen to me either, too slow to win a " one ticket chicken raffle".
I thought that was a good result at C2S, well done. Really it's about enjoying being there on the day and chsing those young ones up the hill.

2:21 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:21 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Check out this groovy Pre video

4:29 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

This grey haired lady thinks you did an awesome run. The most important thing about C2S is to enjoy the atmosphere and just have a great day which you obviously did. So did I - it's a fun event! And yes, speedygeese rule!!

6:32 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Better the devil you know

9:41 pm  
Blogger Stu said...

I'm not a Pre fan...he was good, but could he have been better if he raced differently??? In my opinion - yes!

10:46 pm  
Blogger Superflake said...

Run from behind and mow them down at the finish.
Still a nice run Ewen and another year starting from the front.

10:59 pm  
Blogger Love2Run said...

You did well I think. Racing can be terrifying so save your efforts for the good days. Pre is my idol.

12:48 am  
Blogger Dusty said...

I guess I'm chicken shit.. I love catching everyone in the last mile, but if you aren't careful, you can go too slow at the start and have too much left.

That is cool about the nomination!

12:53 am  
Blogger rinus said...

Thats nice music and i think you run for fun and thats what i like to do!.
Next year faster and more music!.

3:11 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

Walker was the king miler

3:17 am  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

I don't think Pre is at all over-rated.
Neither is Ewen of course.
So there is another thing they will have in common!

3:24 pm  
Blogger jojo said...

woo hoo! well done

5:20 pm  
Blogger Rob said...

Well done Ewen. But having done it 25 times before..shouldn't you be improving! Never mind, no.27 might be better.

7:43 pm  
Blogger plu said...

Sensational record - well done.

10:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apology Accepted.

10:11 am  
Blogger Friar said...

The photo was removed because you are only allowed a brief moment of glory.

12:47 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

well done on logging another C2S, maybe you should try the perth one sometime ours is on the 30th...I did a "Pre" for the first 90 seconds or so in a 10k race on the weekend and got in front of some of the world class Kenyans the other day who are presumably doing the Perth C2S...
Then again maybe its time I visited the Sydney one...not a fan of the big crowds though...yeah crank up the Metallica next time and the Pre move will fire works for Andy Roddick the American tennis player...
well done on a good run though

3:54 am  
Blogger Ali said...

Can we stop dissing Jason Donovan!

Love the Pre quote.

I have a friend who just moved to Australia, maybe to meet Jason Donovan, she ran the City 2 Surf, said it was great.

6:06 am  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

Nicely written, Ewen and that is awfully nice of Scott to nominate you honorary Pre! I'm on my way to the track just as soon as some coffee kicks in, but I seriously doubt I'll get nominated for anything.

Maybe I should go back to bed, maybe I use too many adverbs. My world is full of maybes.

7:25 pm  
Blogger Bruce said...

After the ABs successive losses I thought you may at least offer me a few points!

8:11 pm  
Blogger bill carter said...

Congrats Ewen, it sounds like you got a good one. I believe there is also another quote that has something to do with going out fast and "dying like a dog". Your conservatism resulted in a great race that it sounds like you really enjoyed. And getting to sprint at the finish when everybody is watching is priceless.

Take care and congrats again.

5:22 am  
Blogger iliketoast said...

A recent article on Kara Boucher referenced the way Pre ran. I loved it. Go hard or go home, it's like revisiting the past and doing away with all the modern programmed thinking which quite frankly was not turning me on. Somewhere in the middle is a balance. Run like a kenyan but think like Pre.

7:29 pm  

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