A DAY IN THE LIFE OF FRED PUBLIC DURING THE WESTFIELD RUN
BY CHARLIE LYNN
How can we expect the public to maintain interest in a race where the margin between the first and second placed runners is 27 hours - as it was in 1987?
Let's look at what the average family man in Australia would do between the time Yiannis Kouros crosses the finish line and the time. his nearest competitor Patrick Macke finished in 1987. Remember, this is after he won his previous run by 24 hours.
Let's say Yiannis Kouros crossed the finish line at 6.00 a.m. on Monday morning. His nearest rival is approximately 27 hours or 180 kms behind him.
Fred (representing our target audience) wakes at 6.00 a.m. to the news that the great Greek. runner, Yiannis Kouros, has blitzed the field. It doesn't register. He dozes off again and then suddenly realises he has overslept by 20 minutes. He jumps out of bed, stretches his body, and makes for the bathroom. A quick shave and then puts on his running gear - got to try and keep fit somehow!
Off he goes into the new dawn - his joints are stiff and the fresh breeze sends a chill through his body. After a few minutes he warms up a bit and gets into a more regular cadence. His muscles start to stretch out a bit. He feels pleased with himself but sorry for all of his neighbours who are denying themselves the opportunity to experience the joy of an early morning run. He sees .another jogger - a total stranger - they wave and exchange friendly greetings - "Gday mate, owyergoing?", "Good mate, and yourself?". Then its back to dreamworld.
"Jeez, this feels good. I. reckon I could do this forever. I reckon I could do the Westfield if I could get the time to put some training in. Don't thing I could catch that Greek though - he must be bloody good .....!".
After a gentle 40 minutes he turns the corner and slows to a walk as he approaches his driveway. A few gentle stretches and it's inside for a shower and the days work.
It's 8.15 a.m. and Fred's wife has prepared breakfast for him - some orange juice, muesli and wholemeal toast. He watches 'Good Morning Australia' and sees Yiannis Kouros talking to the press - looks remarkably fresh for somebody who has just run from Sydney to Melbourne!
Fred then has a chat with the kids and after kissing them all goodbye, he heads off to work. He tunes into the radio and hears an interview with Kouros. Kouros remarks that he could probably do better but nobody has ever been a serious threat to him in an ultramarathon.
Fred thinks; "Struth he's been finished for three hours already and his nearest competitor is still over 150 km from the finish line"!
At work Fred's mind is quickly occupied with a number of projects he is working on; a 9.30 a.m. meeting, a visit to a construction site at 11.00 a.m. and a business lunch at 1.00 p.m.
During lunch one of his contempories says "You jog don't you Fred - what did you think of that Greek that got in this morning?". "Great effort" says Fred, "Just think he has finished the event, celebrated with his crew and has now been asleep for about four hours - and the nearest competitor is still about 130 km from the finish"!
They finish lunch and Fred gets back to business at the office. The afternoon passes quickly and 6.00 p.m. sees Fred back in the car heading for home "Don't forget to pick up the groceries and then, call around to footbal: training to give young Billy a ride home"; he remembers his wifes instruction: clearly.
At home he reads the afternoon newspapers and then tunes into the eveninj news. The Kouros victory is now old hat and it just rates a passing mention, But it's enough to trigger Fred's recall - "Struth" he thinks, "Kouros would be out of bed after a deep 10 hour sleep and his nearest competitor is still about 80 km from the finish!".
His wife reminds him that they have a P & C Meeting to go to at 8.00 p.m, Fred goes along and listens as concerned parents and teachers debate the issues of education and the running of the local school. He gets back home at 10.30 p.m. and sits down to supper with his wife and they have a quiet yarr about the day's activities.
"Are you going for a run in the morning?" she asks.
"Yep" he replies. "Then there are some clean jocks in the bathroom - anc please don't put those shoes on until you get outside - and when you get back take them off before you get inside - and take your socks off too cause they're starting to make the carpet smelly, and shut the door properly on the way out this time.......:". Fred listens, acknowledges, agrees and then goes for his shower.
A good sound sleep and then Fred rouses to his alarm at 6.00 a.m. He takes 15 minutes to get out of bed - wanders down the to lounge - "Where are my bloody jocks" he wonders, - "never where I want them". He bumps around in the dark, finds them in the bathroom - "Why did she put them here?". He goes back to the lounge, puts on his joggers and leaves by the front door, but forgets tc shut it.
Today's jog is not as easy but he doesn't quit and plods along for another 8 km. Then it's breakfast, kids, wife and off to work again.
Halfway through a meeting at 10.00 a.m. one of his contempories says, "You jog don't you Fred? I see that the Pommy runner Macke just finished the Sydney to Melbourne in second place". *"Yeah" said Fred, "Wasn't exactly a photo finish was it!".