It involved dragon boat racing on Lake Burley-Griffin. It was a big (and well hosted) affair with 32 (mostly corporate) teams taking part.
Our team was different to the rest in that it was a bit of a hotch-potch of people undergoing breast cancer treatment, their friends and spouses and a number of ladies who make up Dragons Abreast - a fundraising team who regularly organise and run dragon boat events - made up of cancer sufferers and their friends.
We were fortunate that we'd had a couple of evening's practice in the lead up to the event - so we weren't complete novices, but our practice had only been around technique and timing and nothing really prepared us for the thrill and drama of a 'live' race.
The day began early by the lake. Canberra is experiencing a fair bit of smoke in the air at the moment from bushfires in nearby NSW and the smoke hung over the mountains in the distance. The lake was still though and it was beautiful as the day warmed up.
Our moment came at 8.30am and we put in an admirable effort of finishing 5th in our race (ok 5th out of 6). The second race came hot on the first races heels and we were prepared the second time round, hurling ourselves down the long course.
I shouted myself horse during the race - it was so much fun. Again we finished 5th, but the second race was so close and we could easily have come 3rd. It was an admirable achievement considering we had thought we were going to be nothing more than also-rans. The score chart also (incorrectly) recorded us as 2nd in our first heat (a case of mistaken identity?) so we actually did pretty well in terms of ranking.
Still, putting my insatiable competitive spirit aside in reality the day was much more about the fact that we WERE there and we did HAVE a team. Many of the ladies in the boat had quite frankly been through shitty times with cancer and its treatment and the fact that they were able to sit in a boat and see the beautiful lake was a success in itself.
The day was wonderfully organised. Afterwards Amy took part in "flowers on the water" in memory of those lost to cancer. It left a huge lump in many throats including mine.
I hope we'll be there next year and most of all I hope that all those who took part are able to be there too.
|Audrey by a tree|
|Lake Burley Griffin|
|Eli and Jack|
|Barb and Amy|
|Dragon Boats on the water|
|Jack and Barb|
|Eli and his pirate chums|
|Amy getting on board|