Pontifex: a runner’s viewpoint

Pontifex. It is the annual 4.4 mile run that puts every being to the test; whether male or female, tall or short, duckites or fletcherites. The run starts right next to the Broom and Lees bridge and prior to the whistle being blown, the build-up of enthusiasm, debates as to who will beat who and preparation leads to a very energetic start to the run. The more capable runners possess a more calculated approach to their start, whereas, the more inexperienced runners burst off sprinting, only to realize that a metaphorical bus of exhaustion is about to collide with them. One is either a calculator or a zoomer. I unfortunately fall into the latter category; last pontifex I started off sprinting as fast as I could, maintaining first position until I reached the opening to Northbrook near the BTT. The rest is history. The flood of people who overtook me jeered as they realized endurance was not one of my many qualities. The rest of the run was a blend of uphill and muddy stretches in which all sorts of challenges are faced. The mental battle is as pain-staking as the obvious inflammation of the hamstring and quads. Being surrounded by friends is always a help, the collective grit is always more powerful than the individual. Then, finally, the notorious Death Drop; it’s the final uphill piece of land before you run across Maniacs to complete the run. The aching of one’s legs is clouded by the glory that one feels when they see the spectators them thrive when they ascend from the hill. I feel that the ‘not as good’ runners are more profoundly affected by conquering the Death Drop as the multitude of accomplished runners watching them suddenly gives them an influx of adrenaline, and a final sprint always occurs (eradicating the previous sensations of fatigue experienced throughout the race).