By Bruce Greenhalgh
The Parkland Promenade minigaine provided proof that there is more to life than rogaining. There are, as evidenced by scenes from the minigaine, cricket, golf, soccer and getting married as alternative Saturday afternoon activities. On our clockwise circumnavigation of the Parklands it was cricket we encountered first. My fitter and younger teammate, Phil, even had the wherewithal to watch part of the match whereas my only involvement with it was hoping that a well hit ball wouldn’t make it to the boundary and mean I’d have to run around a fieldsman. It was early in the event, but already any unanticipated obstacles felt like genuine impositions to me.
The cricket continued – a Women’s Big Bash match – on the next oval we ran past, and the obstacles continued in the form of cars parked on an adjacent oval. The parking fee was – wait for it – $17! That’s before, I presume, a charge to get into the Big Bash venue. For another three bucks they could have entered the minigaine and enjoyed free parking! What’s wrong with these people?
Next it was golf, and crossing the links at North Adelaide we may have upset some golfers. No matter, as somebody who regards golf as ‘a good walk spoilt’ I felt no guilt whatsoever about possibly upsetting somebody’s concentration before their tee shot. I’ll say this about golf though, running across the greens and fairways was a delight after having experienced a bit of the grass seed rich rough of the Parklands.
Life’s not all about sport of course, and some people were engaged in more momentous activity in the form of getting married. We first came across a wedding party as we headed along North Terrace toward the Botanic Gardens. They were busy having photos taken, spraying champagne around and so on and so forth. All good fun I’m sure, but they were monopolising the pavement. Would it be too insensitive to run through the group and end up on the photographic record of somebody’s big day or should I detour (groan – extra distance) around the group? I wrestled briefly with this question before it was answered by a lull in matrimonial proceedings that allowed me to run in a direct line.
There was more wedding activity in the Botanic Gardens, though precisely what was happening I couldn’t tell you. We were starting to get concerned about finishing in time and that, and in my case keeping a respectable pace, was fully occupying our minds. The East Parklands were next and the question of whether to go for the 40-pointer next to Fullarton Road arose. Did we have time? Another cricket match decided it as it was on an oval we had hoped to run across. With this (admittedly minor) short cut out of the question we opted to head straight for the 90-pointer in the south-east corner.
The South Parklands offered a rich vein of rogaine points, and I was keen to make the most of this stretch. With time and my legs both getting tight I only just registered that a soccer match was being played on one of the ovals. The beauty of the beautiful game escaped me. I was in full struggle mode at this point and into that phase of a rogaine where I wonder why on earth I put myself through such discomfort. Other Saturday afternoon pursuits: cricket, golf, soccer, even getting married, suddenly seemed much saner ways to spend the time. At least there are breaks in play, interludes, pauses, time to catch your breath…
We had no such luxury as we watched the fast-diminishing time. It was only when we’d crossed Anzac Highway (at one of the official crossing points I might add) that I was confident we’d get in before 6.00pm. The last control was a cinch to locate since half the entry were going for it and with that in the bag all that was left was a dash to the finish. (I’m being generous in my description of my slight and brief increase in speed as we headed across the car park.) Then onto something I really wanted to do, which was sit down and be still. Aaahh!
Shortly after, and despite being exposed to other activities as described, rogaining seemed a pretty good way to spend a Saturday arvo. My thanks then, to all those who made the rogaine possible and gave up their time which they might otherwise have spent on golf or cricket or getting married…