No giraffes, no Charleston, but a good run.

2 weeks ago a group of friends and I headed to Werribee in Victoria for the My Physio Werribee Mansion Run. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I was grateful that someone shared the info with me. It seems that there is a fun run on any given weekend if you are keen enough. I am a bit picky with what events I enter, as sometimes it seems a bit silly to pay money to run somewhere, when I could do it around home for nix. But, in saying that, an organised run event is a great way to stay motivated, see different parts of the world, connect with other people, push yourself a little harder than you might on home turf and, if you’re a mum or a dad, score yourself a few kid-free hours away.

With running as my fitness go-to (albeit it a strange choice for me, check out this blog from the archives) I often get asked about the various runs I have done. So, in a bid to offer my thoughts concisely, and clear the writer’s block that has had me cursed for a few months now, I thought I might provide somewhat of a personal review on the runs I have participated in. (N.B: it’s pretty limited.). I’ll kick off with the aforementioned Werribee Fun Run.

Distances on offer: 21.1km, 10km, 5.5km, 3.5km, kids 1.2km

(I ran the 10km with a few friends and some other pals did the 5.5km).

This event offers a great range of distances and as such, there were varying degrees of fitness and abilities participating on the day.

Just coming into the starting area (car parking is ample) is pretty fascinating, as the majestic mansion sets a unique backdrop for the run and the gardens provide fantastic, curious surrounds (take the family; great place for a picnic post-run).

The running surface was probably my favourite aspect of this event, as it was so varied. One minute you feel like you are running through the English gardens of Downton Abbey, then you’re transported to the Australian bush (the surface is a little rocky and uneven - we did see a few fall prey to a rolled ankle). You come to a bridge which looks sturdy enough, but half way across when the thing starts to rock and bounce, you momentarily think this run could very well be your last. After a pretty nasty hairpin and a short-but-steep hill, you’re out in the open and trudging along a fairly lengthy (feels lengthy) and exposed stint on an unforgiving concrete path (my least favourite part of the course). The only thing exciting about this leg was that I had the feeling we were running along the back of the Werribee Zoo and I was anticipating a giraffe, zebra or elephant sighting. We didn’t see any exotic animals and now that I have my bearings I’m thinking there was never any chance of it.

You loop back around, covering much of the same track you headed out on, except for a set of stairs that is bound to set any PB-seeking runner back a bit of time. (NB: I’m not a PB seeker, but the stairs were still not a welcome sight). The finish chute was exciting, with plenty of space for family and friends to cheer you across the line. A band or some music wouldn't go astray here, just to add to the vibe. (Imagine how fitting a jazz band would be! Charleston anyone?). Your efforts of the morning are rewarded with a medal.

The run is only in its second year (I’m told; haven’t actually fact-founded that info) and like many other fun runs the organisers will have to work on balancing the books between maintaining viability and getting too many runners on the track. Because of the out and back nature of the course and the overlapping between the various distances, space on the track was pretty limited (back in my field anyway, I’ll never know how much space the front runners have in any event). But it made it friendly and intimate and I always like to check out people’s running apparel anyway.

There were a few sponsor tents there to stock up on gear, grab a massage or buy yourself a gym membership. There wasn’t much in way of food vans on offer (coffee van probably made a killing), but like I said, a picnic in the gardens afterwards would have been a very lush way to end the day. Otherwise head into Werribee - we had a highly-rated-by-all brunch at the Black Seed Café, just to clock up a few extra kid-free hours.

werribee groupflipped

I asked some of the girls for their feedback on the run – check it out

It was a fantastic event with beautiful surrounds. It was my first official run and it was a great experience to be a part of it and a great accomplishment to complete it. – Loretta 5.5km

Finishing an event like this makes all the mornings and training runs worth it. It motivates you to keep going and gives you confidence to better yourself each time. It was great meeting new people. I love the social aspect of running and the friendships I make because of it. Time with friends away from the kids makes it feel like it’s time for myself. – Liss 10km

I love that we experienced it as a group, the scenery was beautiful with perfect conditions! I struggled with the hills and stairs and even though I felt like I was dying I pushed through it and it felt like more of an accomplishment. I also loved that I found a burst of energy to sprint across the finish line. – Nicole 5km.

Next post – the Bellarine Sunset Run.