It is amazing what a new pair of high-tech running shoes and the latest running apparel can do. I am writing this after competing in a Fastest Mile event put on by Nike. Nike regularly put on challenging and somewhat mysterious events, emanating from their Nike Britomart store in Auckland. Nike might be one of the world’s well-known sportswear companies, but the focus of the Nike Britomart store is very much on this corner of the world. The store, the first in New Zealand to open under the Nike name, is the base for a local run club and a lineup of fitness events.
Today, along with other media and sporting professionals, we were transported by a procession of Maserati chauffeur-driven cars to an unknown destination. Yes, that’s right, we had turned up to the Nike store, having received a parcel of new Nike running attire – and had no idea where we were going.
Alongside myself in the car was a young man who had run a sub-four minute mile and a young lady who was training full time in long jump – hopefully eyeing the Olympic Games next year. As it turned out we were driven to Ardmore Airport in South Auckland. We arrived just before two busloads of Nike running club enthusiasts.
It was a rainy grey day and so not the best running conditions, but after a series of warm-up exercises, we were lined up on the runway according to our estimated one-mile running times.
Having not timed myself previously for one mile, I really had no idea and so just lined up with other nonplus runners. My previous running endeavours had been more long-distance marathon events and so to run flat out for what translated as 1.6km, was a new experience.
I was not alone, however, as I noticed some slow runners behind me, actually cutting the corner, ie turning around well before the halfway turn-around point. Good on them, I thought, at least they were giving it a go. As I ran down the home straight I could sense another runner from behind making an attempt to catch up to me – and so that spurted me on to really “bust my guts” and make sure that didn’t happen.
To receive the gold medal with So Fast engraved on it at the end was like the icing on the cake – making the day so worthwhile. My thoughts of all the hard work now being over, however, were soon dispelled. All of the participating runners then had to get into relay teams and run up and down the runway [half the distance this time] to see who was the fastest team.
The massage tent at the conclusion, needless to say, was one popular place. Stretched out on the massage table, provided the perfect medium to reflect on the fastest mile.