It was 6 am on Sunday 25 August 2019. I was awoken as the day dawned, 8 degrees it was, and after a long, sound sleep, it felt like the nerves of the night before were simply a fear of the unknown. I thought to myself, today is the day.

As with anything you’ve practised for and anticipated, everything just had to go to plan, everything had to go swimmingly, and I simply must perform at my best. I instantly made breakfast and a hot drink.

Like the night before, I was mindful of what I was consuming, especially in the 24 hours before the race. I made pikelets with bananas and strawberries and Milo with milk instead of my usual coffee. Okay, it wasn’t all healthy, but I felt more disciplined than usual.

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The journey to the race in South Brisbane, which is near the CBD, was a little riddled with hiccups for my running partner and I. It dampened our spirits a little, but we knew that mindset was key, and we still had the race to complete. We needed to put our weeks of training into fruition.

An event which had more than 25,000 of Brisbane’s eager runners was sure to bring a mix of emotions before the race of excitement and nerves. Before long, we were at the start line, joining the masses.

Running with thousands of Brisbane’s population was a lot different to our training on the weeks prior at the calm, serene Manly and Lota, in the eastern coastal bayside of Brisbane.

The crowd, the pressure to beat my personal best time, the documentation of the race, and the anticipation were instant reminders that while there were plenty of leisurely runners, it was a race, and it was timed.

My pace was rather fast in the beginning, perhaps from the nerves and momentum of all of us embarking on this mission. When I was halfway through the iconic Story Bridge (a wide bridge through to the city that Brisbane motorists often have to pass through), I started slowing down to a more consistent pace that I could maintain.

The hills and steep corners were particularly challenging for my racing partner and I, who was ahead of me and out of sight about 1km after we started.

It was encouraging to see participants from all walks of life, father-and-son duos, young children, friendship groups, couples, elderly, company runners, and many more.

There was definitely team spirit shining through as spectators and race volunteers cheered us on and offered cups of water, delightfully exclaiming “2 more km’s! You’re doing well!”, photographers taking action shots from the ground in the middle of the road, and performers starting their show as we approached the finish line.

By the end, I must admit, I was feeling hazy and reaching my limits, barely noticing the “Congratulations!” banner above me at the end of the race, only realising the race was coming to an end when the crowd cheered us on even louder and more excitably.

I completed the 5 km ‘Orange Runner’ race in 31 minutes and 50 seconds, coming 978th out of 6289 participants, 342nd out of 3882 female runners and 47th out of 462 female runners in my age group. My running partner finished the race in an impressive 29 minutes and 51 seconds.

While the results weren’t my personal best to date, I was proud that my running partner and I did what we set out in the beginning when training – to participate in the Bridge to Brisbane this year.

Tens of thousands of dollars were raised for charity and the annual event this year was a huge success.

The 2019 winner of the 10 km race Callum Davies completed the race in 28 minutes and 41 seconds.

For us, the running won’t stop because Bridge to Brisbane has packed up for the year. We will continue to challenge ourselves with each training and truly incorporate regular running into our lifestyles.

The Bridge to Brisbane race has encouraged us for the better to improve our fitness as the years pass. It is truly an all-round fantastic annual event.

For more information on the results and news from the 2019 event, visit bridgetobrisbane.com.au