Almanac Running: City Bay fun run – Singapore Sharks, snags and spirituality spruikers

 

Support vehicle #2 takes a wide, languid arc and then halts in the Kurralta Park loading bay.

 

It probably says many grim things about late-capitalism that my six-kilometre leg of Adelaide’s City Bay fun run begins at an unsound cathedral of shallow greed and deep despair, a shopping centre.

 

Claire takes a photo of me in my safety pinned, microchipped race bib. With a kiss and a wish for good luck, off I trot.

 

There’s pythonic toilet queues about the car park. ‘Mambo No.5’ booms from the sound system and it’s vague fun although I prefer my breakfast soundtrack with its highlight being the song once described as the most beautiful sung in English, ‘Waterloo Sunset.’

 

The event announcer, possibly a young baritone derostered from Nova FM, informs us that the first of the 12k runners is approaching so I make my way to Anzac Highway’s median strip. Peering cityward, a cluster of athletes glides past. These are Collingwood six-footers, trim as gazelles, erect of carriage and with eyes set to the middle distance. It’s impressive.

 

I head to the starting chute and do a few stretches. As a key sponsor the announcer invites the Sunday Mail editor Paul ‘Ralphy’ Ashenden to the mike to say a few words. He’s an old Kimba and Kapunda boy and I strain to hear him but it’s too noisy. I’m sure he was terrific.

 

A countdown follows before bang! As Bruce often said in his distinctive near growl at the start of an Olympic race, ‘Away.’

 

As it’s uncluttered, I veer over and slip into the road’s cycling lane and soon we’ve all space to find our rhythms. It’s warm for September and I recall Claire urging me to have fun. But pushing along, I’m convinced this is largely retrospective. Like parenting and eating tofu.

 

Glenelg seems some distance yet but there’s bunches of brightly yelling spectators. My eye’s taken by a sign. Held by a wide-eyed type, it proclaims with conviction-

 

King Jesus reigns.

 

I imagine a runner hollering to our Christian converter every minute, ‘Yes, He might but Port needed Him last night!’ So, I don’t bother to also comment.

 

To my left I spy some uniformed staff at a long table offering free ice blocks, water and encouragement. Ha! A real estate agency! However, their goodwill could be desolate marketing to the foolish. Ignoring their saccharine enticements, I press on.

 

Just down the highway’s another man with late 90’s Scott Hicks hair- all lank and grey and desperately arty. He has a megaphone and extends broad and amplified inspiration. I’m touched but wait, I then hear him rambling on. He says, ‘Vote No in the referendum. Don’t be deceived. It’s what Jesus wants.’

 

Oh.

 

With a kilometre to go I’m running hard as I turn right onto Jetty Road. A fellow runner gets the wobbles and lurches over to the gutter. Swerving to his aid, a mate puts an arm around him. He’s fine.

 

I push through the finish line. Meeting Claire, a kindly stranger takes our photo. Spotting my Singapore Sharks shirt another participant comes over and tells us he ran out for Penang. He then asks if I played footy in Asia to which I should’ve replied like this.

 

After I was maliciously delisted by The Crows I fled to an Indonesian cave and survived on bitter leaves and surprised insects. Then Buddha appeared and told me to voluntarily reincarnate by joining the Singapore Sharks. Accordingly, I became that most enlightened of earthly creatures, a half-back flanker.

 

But instead, I said, ‘No, I got this shirt because I helped to coach my boys.’

 

Strolling about the village on Colley Reserve we eat some fruit and those most wicked, yet life-affirming of delicacies: barbequed sausages on white bread. A giant inflatable beer bottle advertises a major race sponsor in the Hahn brewery. Mercifully, none of their (rancid) product is on offer.

 

We walk to support vehicle #2.

 

 

PS- I finished 121st out of 1791 6k runners (top 7%) and was first for my age. However, I was beaten by three older participants, and each was 73 years old!

 

 

More from Mickey Randall can be read Here.

 

 

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About Mickey Randall

No, instead I get out my Volleys, each with the inescapable hole, just by the little toe. What if someone bought a pair of Volleys and they didn’t develop these holes? The absence of holes would itself make a psychological hole.

Comments

  1. Wonderful story MR, almost inspiring me to go for a jog. Am with you in your praise of the half back flanker. I believe you approach the world through the position you played as a youngster and said position gives you deep appreciation for protecting what you have while striving ever onwards.

    Your sign poster poser enroute to the finish line and bbq snag, reminded me of the opening lines of one of Tom T Hall’s best. A song called Kentucky, February 27, 1971:

    There were signs beside the road like “Jesus Saves”
    And “Relieve yourself the fast and gentle way”
    I was lookin’ for an old man who lived way back in these hills
    Who just might have a story I could tell

  2. Thanks for that Rick. I miss some of the traditional footy language like ‘half-back flanker, forward pocket and ruck rover.’ I know these things don’t always stand still but there’s some loss in it.

    Great song lines too. Whenever I’m on the road in FNQ I’m a little surprised, although maybe I shouldn’t be, by the frequency of the Christian billboards. It supports the notion that Australia isn’t one nation but at least half a dozen. Happily, they’re both still with us but Mum and Dad gave me all their vinyl a few years’ ago and I’m sure there’s a Tom T Hall album in there. That could sort part of my afternoon before the footy…

  3. Given Port’s backline you should have requested a trade when the Crows delisted you instead of heading to the Singapore Sharks. You could be a dual semi final player – you seem fast enough and fit enough to earn a spot.
    “Waterloo Sunset” could replace “Never Tear Us Apart”. You could lead the choir.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    In my role as a minor contributor to the Coodabeens weekly songs, I put this forward earlier this year, to the tune of Waterloo Sunset. Like Port last week, it failed to get up. I was inspired by Mickey’s tip re the BCC Radio Soul Music podcast.

    On Torrens River, Popeye keeps rolling
    On a cool Thursday night
    Big game of footy, Port and Catters
    Spirit of Brucie Light

    And we go with our friends
    Whenever we play on
    Adelaide Oval
    We are in paradise

    Every week, we cheer for our team from the outer
    Never, never will we be torn apart
    Adelaide Oval’s fine (Adelaide Oval’s fine)

    I’m gonna meet Kylie
    At Adelaide Oval
    Just down from Malcolm Blight
    I’m really pumped up, we could be top dogs
    We’re gonna win alright
    I think that we’ll win the flag
    Whenever we play on
    Adelaide Oval
    We are in paradise

    Every week, we cheer for our team from the outer
    Never, never will we be torn apart
    Adelaide Oval’s fine (Adelaide Oval’s fine)

    Thousands of Port fans leave really happy
    Adelaide’s pumping now
    Like waddling penguins we cross the river
    Leaving our favourite ground
    And we go with our friends
    Whenever we play on
    Adelaide Oval
    We are in paradise
    Adelaide Oval’s fine (Adelaide Oval’s fine)
    Adelaide Oval’s fine

  5. PB – whenever I hear ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ on the rare occasion I see the start of a Port game on the box I wonder about these shadowy figures who are somehow sufficiently bothered to try to dismantle a minor (and underachieving) AFL team?

    Swish- of course it’s Kylie. Kylie being a hairdresser from Taperoo. We listened to the Waterloo Sunset Soul Music episode the other week in Port Elliot and it’s one of the very best with its probing insights into the psychology of the song’s narrator. It’s interesting that over its long existence they’ve not featured a Beatles or Stones song. I reckon the ‘Mr Blue Sky’ episode is terrific and for sheer disbelief at how it achieved its cultural status the one on ‘Africa’ by Toto is also notable.

    Thanks.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    You are all talking a different language to me. Don’t understand it, but enjoy reading it! Thought of you on Friday Mickey. Stopped for a coffee at The Red Grape at Sevenhill. Advertising their award winning sausage rolls. Nice read as always.

  7. Love the Red Grape Daryl and often have lunch there if I’m working in Clare. So many great things in the region. My favourite golf hole being the 7th at the Clare Golf Club. Excellent beer garden at The Magpie and Stump. The wonderful Riesling Trail which is fun on an e-bike. Hope you enjoyed your time up there!

  8. Good work once again, Mickey.

    I don’t mind the Soul Music podcast.

  9. Luke Reynolds says

    Great work Mickey, with this continued improvement in your running I see a place for you at the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

  10. Thanks Smokie. Soul Music ranks highly for me.

    Luke- if the 2026 Commonwealth Games aren’t in Melbourne, I’m not interested. Sorry, what’s that?

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