Balmoral Burn, 2015

My motivation for entering the Balmoral Burn, (a 450mtr sprint up an increasingly steep incline), was that having just celebrated a birthday, I would be the youngest in my age category and therefore, if ever there was a time to enter with all odds stacked in my favour, this was it.

Winner of the Elite Athlete event

Winner of the Elite Athlete event

The problem however, was that I hadn’t done any training.  I mentioned this to Tiago and told him I hadn’t run since June 2014.  He said, ‘You should enter anyway, and if I wasn’t going to be interstate, I would come and support you’.

Paraplegic race

Paraplegic race

Even though the race was on in 48 hours, he suggested I do some training.  ‘At least run up that hill once’.  So the day before I gave it a shot.  I walked to the bottom of Awaba Street and timed myself running to the top.  Only I couldn’t last the distance.  It becomes so steep I had to walk and although I picked up the pace at the end, it took me four minutes to run the length of the race.

Alfie just loves the Porsche police car (that's just used for PR purposes)

Alfie just loves the Porsche police car (that’s just used for PR purposes)

And that’s pretty shabby.  And I know it is because there’s a K-2 race (5-7 year olds) and the child holding the record sprinted to the top in two and a half minutes.

Waiting to start

Waiting to start

Last night I had pre-race nerves as I was quite convinced I was just going to go out and make a fool of myself.

He's there somewhere

He’s there somewhere

Alfie was fine.  Really looking forward to it.  He ran last year and couldn’t wait to line up at the start.  His race was before mine.  My instructions to him were to position himself at the front to give himself the best advantage of a good start.  But he’s very laid back and allows the more competitive people to push in front of him and so he started at the back.

Picking up the pace

Picking up the pace

All ended well though with him picking up the pace and finishing 12th in the Yr 3-6 age group.

Big strides

Big strides

As he was running I was being summoned to the marshalling area.  I don’t know why but instead of running males and females separately, and instead of running our age group on its own, they combined two age groups so there was a range of 20 years in my race.  The older competitors were called to the starting line first so I found myself at the back – just like the little guy.

A band and dancers to encourage you up the hill.

A band and dancers to encourage you up the hill.

Never mind.  I knew I wasn’t in with a chance and all I wanted to do was finish.

Unflattering but hey, I'm ahead of the PM just behind me.

Unflattering but hey, I’m about to cross the finish line.

And off went the starter’s gun and we were away.  They don’t call this the horror hill for nothing.  It starts off on a bit of an uphill battle that isn’t too bad but as you run along the incline increases dramatically.  At one point I did have to stop and walk which sounds ridiculous given this race is only just over 400mtrs.

Almost finished as is Tony

Almost finished and look who is just behind me!

As the crowds increased towards the finish line I didn’t want to be seen doing the walk of shame so I picked up the pace and jogged towards the finish line.

The PM!

The PM!

As I charged over the line I was suddenly surrounded by a wall of cameramen and photographers taking my photo.  I couldn’t believe there was so much interest in me crossing the finish line.  But then I heard people saying, ‘Well done, Prime Minister’, and I turned around and there was our PM, Tony Abbott.  I had no idea he was at the event, let alone racing with me.

PM, Tony Abbott

PM, Tony Abbott

He shook my hand and congratulated me and I said, ‘I just beat you!’  And he said, ‘You did too; you had a very good burst at the end’.  And then we chatted for a while and he was very humble and friendly and full of smiles.

Getting along famously

Getting along famously

I asked him if he would mind having a photo with the little guy and he said, ‘Of course’, and he crouched down to Alfie’s height and Drew took the photo.  Then he had to run back down the hill to the starting line where he gave a speech and handed out awards to the winners.

With the little guy

With the little guy

PM's speech on the screen

PM’s speech on the screen

Then we saw Phil Kearns who is an ex-Wallaby.  The Balmoral Burn only exists because of Kearns.  Back in October 2005, Kearns was in his car in the driveway of his home and accidentally reversed over his 19-month old daughter, Andie.  During her lengthy stay in hospital, his daughter was greatly assisted by the Humpty Dumpty Foundation.

With Phil Kearns - founder of the Balmoral Burn

With Phil Kearns – founder of the Balmoral Burn

After Andie came home from hospital, Kearns, feeling greatly indebted to the help and assistance he received from the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, wondered what he could do to raise awareness for the Foundation.  He came up with the idea of a charity run up Awaba Street in Mosman.  The event that has grown every year is now in its 15th year and has raised millions of dollars for the Foundation.

Maybe I should have let go of his hand!

Maybe I should have let go of his hand!

After our races we watched the wheelchair race which makes you realise if it’s difficult to run up on your legs, how much more difficult would it be to push yourself up that hill using your arms.  And there was even a tiny little boy who completed the race and he was being applauded from the bottom of the hill to the top.

Little boy raced all the way to the top

Little boy raced all the way to the top

A favourite race of mine is the pet and owner race where dogs of all shapes and sizes run or dawdle up the hill.  While there were some standout performers, the best sight to see was the child being dragged up the hill by her enthusiastic and very strong pooch.

Two dogs racing to win

Two dogs racing to win

There is something for everyone at the Balmoral Burn and if you don’t think you can run to the top, there is the ‘No Burn’ event where you can walk.

Girl being dragged up the hill by enthusiastic and strong dog

Being dragged up the hill by enthusiastic and strong dog

The Balmoral Burn is an extremely well organised event that sees elite runners, social runners and those who just enjoy participating in a worthwhile cause, compete in a fun and somewhat gruelling challenge that even attracts our PM.

Unbelievable strength

Unbelievable strength

And all funds raised go to the Humpty Dumpty Foundation that is a children’s charity.  For more than 25 years the Foundation has been purchasing essential and often life-saving medical equipment for sick and injured children in Paediatric Wards, Neonatal Units, Maternity and Emergency Departments in hospitals across Australia.

Happy we both survived

Happy we both survived

And after the ‘Burn’ we had to attend a lunch.  We arrived half an hour late and when I walked in the door I said, ‘Sorry we’re late; I was just with the Prime Minister’.

Just having a wee chat

Just having a wee chat

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  1. says:

    Well done! Thought that the Balmoral burn had been longer than that….proud of you!

  2. Well done for making it to the end. How amazing to find yourself beside your PM. It sounds like a great event. I love the fact you can take part with a pooch. GG

  3. You are an inspiration lady! I start my 30 day ab & zumba challenge tomorrow, that alone is scaring my socks off. 🙂

  4. What a great story and good on your for even going in it and supporting an amazing charity!!!
    Good to see Tony with his constituents… But even better you beat him!!!! Hehe! Liz xxx

  5. Danielle says:

    Well done Alfie and Charlie! Glad you beat the PM!

  6. What a great story! And you beat the PM too. I would be walking up that hill – I bet it’s one of those things that looks OK at the start and then starts to burn horribly very quickly.

  7. Oh Wow, you can dine out on that story for some time I would think. How great that the PM was happy to have his photo taken with Alfie. Good Stuff.

  8. What an adventure! What a great job you did – beating the PM too – it looks like he held your hand for ages! 😀 So the question is: why wasn’t Drew running? 😉

  9. What a surprise to have tony running behind you – I love your excuse to being late for your lunch – and I am impressed at you finishing the race – I think I would struggle to run 40m

  10. What an adventure and how awesome that you made it until the end, even beating the PM!
    Congrats to you and Alfie.

  11. Well done, Charlie and Alfie (you beat the PM–and with no prior training!!!!). Nice story as well.

  12. Congratulations on a well run race and in such notable company.

  13. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Your post gave me a smile. Only you would wind up in a chat fest with the Prime Minister. Congrats to you and Alfie on completing the race. I would have been in the no burn group for sure. I can’t run 400 meters on flat ground, let alone up a steep hill. Well done!

  14. Congratulations Charlie, that is fantastic! And how nice that you were able to meet and chat with your Prime Minister! Well done!

  15. Thank God for rewind TV because I yelled, THERE’S CHARLIE!!!” John wasn’t paying attention and thought I was yelling at the dog so he said, “What’s he done now?”

    “No, Charlie’s on the news racing the Prime Minister!”

    “What???” he said.

    So we scrolled back and John said, “That IS Charlie and she’s in front!”

    Well done, you. 🙂

  16. Well done Alfie and well done Charlie! What a great run and accomplishment and you got to meet Tony! Or should I say Tony got to meet you! 🙂

  17. Wow – well done you! I suspect I’d have heart attack if I attempted something like that. I believe in going with my strengths – and laying on the couch reading a book is one of my best ones. 😉

  18. Well done Charlie!! We used to live at the top of Awaba Road and it is just torture to walk up that hill let alone run it!

  19. Lordie: I must have seen the ‘Burn’ run twice on news and missed you! But somehow knew you would be there. And, reading twixt the lines, I hope you understand the very, very, very loud claps re you coming up the hill ahead of Abbott . . . I have this strong allergy you see . . . 🙂 ! Did love the young wheelchair bound boy pulling himself up for the fifth year . . . absolutely great!!

  20. haha love your excuse for being late. Well done Charlie! You definitely got a good handshake in with him too.

  21. Well done, Charlie and what a special day it turned out to be for you. I just love your “late arrival excuse” … that’s a classic and what a story you now have to tell!

  22. Congrats – Charlie – walking up that hill is hard enough!

  23. You made it!!! Good for you Charlie. It is not about the time or how fast you were going it is about the spirit of the race and you have captured it. With the wheelchair races not far behind it is difficult to complain about a hard race no matter how hard it was for you to get to the finish lane.

  24. What a wonderful event! And brava to you for finishing with a smile on your face. I would have been crawling to the finish line. Such terrific photos of you and the PM 🙂

  25. Kudos to you Charlie! You are such an inspiration and I reckon the PM is lucky to have met you. 😀
    Have an awesome week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  26. What a story! And I love the different categories they have – getting up there in a wheelchair is super impressive!

  27. Well done to you and Alfie! Just the name of the race makes me hurt.

  28. Congrats on a race well run. And to meet the Prime Minister. Bonus! Sounds like you and Alfie, and the PM, had a great day.

  29. Talk about a reward for picking up the pace! What a claim to fame to have just beaten the PM (much better than just being beaten by him!). Well done Charlie, it sounds like a great effort.

  30. Well done Charlie, and you beat the PM, congrats. Congratulations to Alfie also, he is such an athlete.

  31. AHAHA! nice one. And you didn’t know all along that it was the PM? I wouldn’t have known either. Where are his bodyguards?
    Nice one Charlie, you beat him! Maybe you could beat him too in the elections. 😛

  32. What a fantastic story, Charlie! Just look at the excitement you’d have missed if you hadn’t pushed yourself! I love the photos and smile with the PM, and had to laugh at the idea of wondering why the photographers were so interested in your participation at the end of the race. Very funny. And Alfie now has a wonderful memory, too. Great, great even. I’m touched by the reason for the race in the first place!

  33. Oh that is so funny Charlie. Did the PM rip his hand away at last?:)). Good on you for doing the Burn.


  1. […] he moved in for a photo and happened to remind the PM that it was his mother who beat him in the Balmoral Burn.  Just in case he’d forgotten.  The PM finished in just over an […]

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