For those of you who follow these posts and understand that I am not a morning person, you will appreciate the dedication it took to get out of bed at 4.45am, clothe myself and run in the darkness to the train station to catch the 5.45am to Murrarie to partake in the Bridge to Brisbane. I sat very still and quietly in the carriage and was grateful that there were no loud noises. However, as we passed more and more stops, and more and more eye candy got on, I perked up considerably. I couldn’t believe the number of people at Murrarie. Another train pulled in but a minute after the first drew away and the platforms were crammed. Again at the starting line there were thousands and thousands more. I couldn’t hear what the loudspeakers were saying so I had no idea what to do, and neither did lots of other lost folk milling around (who presumably did have their hearing). However I found a queue, shuffled along to the starting line, and finally there was space to run.
The atmosphere was fantastic and I was so delighted to be surrounded by so many healthy people in a country with some of the worst obesity statistics in the world. The sun came up, showing smokestacks against the dawn. A man dressed as a dragon passed, holding his disintegrating, green plastic suit. A truckie honked at us and a pack of girls cheered us on. There was a tall man in only his multicoloured briefs and sneakers, his Facebook name texta-ed onto his bare back. Various bands were stationed along the way, playing motivational music. I have a lot of respect for someone who can belt out an 80s tune at 7am in the morning.
By the 5km mark my thighs were starting to hurt but I remained pleasantly distracted by all the fit men. By 7km even they couldn’t take my mind off my legs. I stopped for a drink, worried by the waste of the plastic cups littering the ground, which sounded like ice crackling underfoot. By 8km I was consumed with pain and by 9km I wished I had trained more. But then we reached the showgrounds and I sprinted the rest of the way. I found my t-shirt, delivered to me by a friend from work, and limped to the bus stop. There were no buses from the Gabba for another half an hour so I had to walk home, feeling sorry for myself, but also elated that I had achieved a goal, however mediocre it had been.
There was also, of course, the fuzzy glow of doing something for something else, which is one of the reasons why I work for Autism Queensland. Yet, since undertaking this venture and pestering people for donations, it has startled me how little people are willing to do to help others. Last week I bought a Big Issue from a man sitting on his milk crate outside the post office. I have never bothered with buying a Big Issue before, but he looked so pinched and pale with lack of nourishment that I gave him what was left in my wallet. As I did so, I realised that even that small amount I gave him would have improved his life, however meagrely.
This post is a final, blatant request for donations to help Autism Queensland with their work in early intervention (fundraising closes tomorrow night). For those of you who have all your faculties, are able to work, have a roof to live under and enough food and loose change to buy beer or coffee or a bunch of flowers, please spare a few dollars for kids who have a difficult life. Trust me, you’ll feel better.