• Elliot Cooper

Goorooyarroo Voodoo.

Updated: May 23

The YMCA Goorooyaroo half marathon pops up in my Facebook feed Monday. The race is on Saturday. I remember on Thursday. Entry is still open. Fifteen bucks. I’m in.

Boom. Saturday morning. Up at 5:30am. Stomach is a mess. I eat some oats and get going. I pull into Amy Akman street. People are there: Walkin’ Malcom is there, Glenn (from Gunghalin gallop, Bush cap), Kelly-Ann, Mike l’Pirate, Tracy. Serious crew.

Looking around there are some fast-looking fellas I don’t know. That’s fine. I’m just here to test the legs out and see what happens.

We go.

Up over the rise and into Mulligan’s. Soon Matt Robbie overtakes. Damn. I didn’t know he was there. The leaders are already ahead, but Robbie will catch ‘em for sure.

There are a few quick kms, maybe a bit hot for me, but I’m going with it.

About 7km in my stomach turns. The eyes start looking for a pit stop, just in case. Then there’s a guy on my heels with a… unique breathing technique. You know that sound a rope makes if you swing it around real fast? It's that sound, and pretty loud too. And this sound is some psychological witchcraft shit. I definitly never want someone right behind me making a noise like that. He passes me. His name is on his tank top - Shane. Shane, I don’t know who you are, but you’ve got some weird breathing thing going on there.

We’re getting close to the turn around. The stomach demons seem to have gone away. I get out my water cup and try to fill it from the tank. This never works for me. It’s like my cup is cursed. I pour some water from a cup on the table into my reusable.

A coupla kms further down the track there’s some voodoo goin’ on with my guts again, my left calf is complaining and so is my right shoulder. Probably Matty G sittin’ at home with a doll stickin’ the needles in.

But I work with it. Mind over matter could end badly, but today it might to be okay. By the time I’m back inside Mulligan’s, the stomach is looking like it’ll hold. In a couple more kms I’m coming back over the last rise. Phew.

Afterwards, Shane comes over to shake my hand. Breathing aside, not such a bad guy. Glen was strong for most of the race, but says he had to back off at around 15km.

Robbie was already wearing jeans out walking his dog. Of course he won. He takes me through his race. “I was staying steady right, and then I tried some stepped surges, so I did a 4:00, then a 3:40, then a 3:12” serious witchdoctor numbers. “It’s great when you do a 3:12 cos you pass people” he means people in the 14km race, he was already in front, “and they think you’ve been running like that the whole way”. It was 9am and he was off to “taste test” craft beers at Frankies. Onya Robbie.

On the way home I saw a sign for Mangoes. Did I pull right over and spend all my doe? Yes I did.

These are mangoes.


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