Featured in

  • Published 20160802
  • ISBN: 978-1-925355-53-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT’S EARLY MORNING and I’m waiting with ten thousand other people in the four lanes of road that separate Sydney’s Hyde Park from St Mary’s Cathedral. A man is talking to us through a megaphone but it’s hard to hear him against the vigorous dance track bouncing from the sound system. Eventually someone will blast a siren and we’ll all go off and run a half marathon together.

I am squashed into position in the middle of the pack, which is approximately where I will finish the race in a couple of hours. The weather may change but the start of a running race is always the same: nerves, clichés, noise, enthusiasm. By now I must have run close to thirty half marathons but I’ve never shaken the feeling that I’m an interloper when I wait in a crowd like this. When did bookish klutzes start running long distances? I’m still astonished that I can run twenty kilometres at a stretch, that I have become someone who craves access to the wide spaces of the imagination that running opens. I ran my last race a year ago and now, heavily pregnant, all I want to do is run: to clear a path with my feet, to move like a beacon through the city, to run. My unborn son kicks, thrashes. He moves faster than I do. When I started to run long distances it was as if I had become the inhabitant of a new body. Now, waiting for the baby to be born, it is to the rhythms of the running body that I wish to return: exertion, release; movement, stillness. In the interim, strangers offer me their seats, friends offer to buy me sandwiches, drunks offer me the first taxi: anything to get a pregnant woman off her feet.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

Catriona Menzies-Pike

Catriona Menzies-Pike is the editor of the Sydney Review of Books. Her 2016 book on women and long distance running, The Long Run, is published...

More from this edition

Circling the city

GR OnlineFOR THE LAST two years I’ve been walking the streets of suburban Melbourne, armed with camera and notebook, a participant in a psychogeographic game...


FictionEVA HAD LOVED the first slap of cold water on her face when she dived into the pool, then the bubbles peeling away from...

See how they run

EssayA formal committee table surrounded by chairs is seen towards the back of the stage. Lounge chairs and a coffee table dominate the downstage...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.