Yesterday, while waiting for the Old Bus Depot Sunday Markets to open, we wandered over to watch the runners finishing up the annual Canberra Marathon race.
While I did worry that the announcer might say something like, "Ladies and gentlemen, the new record has just been set by a Jack Russell chasing a seagull across the finish line", we were quite close to the action.
The most amusing action was happening a few bends away, where a group of local teens had armed themselves with binoculars and a thick printout of participants' names and registration numbers. As numerous very sweaty runners would approach this group, the teens would select someone to barrack for. To the (lucky) chosen runner's absolute bewilderment, the youths would then start yelling, "Come on Bruce, you can do it mate!" or "Go for it, Jennifer!", or "Yay, Davo, keep going, man!", and so on. I swear we saw these runners transform, and they'd pick up a little speed and/or confidence to appease their young (supposed) fans' efforts.
The kids' collective enthusiasm wilted just a little, though, when they picked out one particular runner and yelled, "Onya George! Good effort! Keep it up!"
The bemused runner called back, "You guys know me? That's great! You can take care of this for me. I'll get it back from you some time."
With that, the runner stripped off his sweat-saturated shirt and tossed it to the barrackers. Now they had the bewildered looks. Priceless.