Sarah sniffed and looked around her. The runners were milling, getting ready to head off. She saw a couple of women leaning into each other, stretching. They were muttering under their breath something, probably some mantra or some other weird encouragement. A man a few rows away jumped up and down like a gamboling lamb. A teenager near her stared into the distance.
She hadn’t run long distance since high school, but she remembered she’d found it easy back then. Just concentrate on one foot after the other. Left right left right left right. Glide through the track, past the other runners, past the landmarks, past the finish line. Usually first. Sometimes later.
An announcement went over the loudspeaker system – one minute to start time. Non-competitors quickly moved off the road, taking jumpers and tracksuit pants with them. Everyone faced one direction and got ready to go.
The countdown commenced. “Ten, nine, eight…” Sarah took a deep breath and got into a starting pose. “Four, three, two, one” the starter gun rang out and the runners started. Sarah took two steps and tripped on a lace. She fell to the ground and screamed in agony.
X-rays revealed a broken wrist. Sarah sat on a table, embarrassed, as a jovial doctor applied the plaster. “First person I’ve met to break a wrist in a fun run!” he joked. Sarah laughed sycophantically, and wondered if she would be expected to repay the money she’d raised for Osteoporosis Australia.