With events back on in Melbourne after an almost 2-year hiatus, our members recount their return to the MCG Stadium Stomp, held on the 13th of February. We hear from full course stomper, Claudia and half course stomper, Francois about their experiences.
Report by Claudia Stevenson
Full course - somewhere between 7300 and 7600 steps
Despite my calves still tingling nearly a week later I’m delighted to have able to complete Stadium Stomp again. Last year, (or was it the year before?) I had planned to do Stadium Stomp tourism, completing all Stadium Stomps in Australia but then came the Lurgey and that was put on hold.
So this year. I’m back signed up… I’ve done the hard one, all the rest are easier!
What do I like about Stadium Stomp?
I love how it’s an untimed course and how polite and friendly everyone is on course. Because of the stadium seating there’s plenty of places where people can pass without feeling pressured. I have a love hate relationship with that tall stand where the seating goes up to row LL (I even saw a MM this year). I hate when you get up to U or Z or AA and your legs are screaming at you but I love that feeling of accomplishment every time you make it up there!
The full course is not for the faint hearted. It is steep and hard but the music is great and camaraderie on the course is wonderful. Start with the half course and work up your courage to do the full!
Thanks to Sophie for all her organising and of course to my wing woman and guide, Marg for doing all these crazy things with me!
....and some perspective from Francois J:
Half course (approx 3900 steps)
Some people just go out and keep fit as a life routine, irrespective of whether they have upcoming events or not. Unfortunately, I'm not one of those people. If I don't have an event to train for I tend to go into a very low maintenance mode at best. Memories of a fantastic time with our Past President Amanda on the steps of the MCG in 2017 and the need to get out of my own decline motivated me to enter for Stadium Stomp 2021. With easy access to the staircase of our six-storey apartment block and event day fast approaching I started stairs training in June last year and I was on track to enjoy the full course of 7300 stairs. Two event reschedules later I had lost my mojo and went back to my favourite relaxed weekly runs with Achilles. I kept telling myself I'll start again next month, and before I knew it it was February and too late to get fit for the full course. The incredible Sophie Thomas stepped in and helped me downgrade to the half course (only 3900 steps), and I felt much less nervous about it.
I was not going to be late, so I walked down to my tram stop ahead of time so I could meet my guide Simon at the G. Thank you to the random pedestrian who alerted me to the fact that there would be no trams on the day due to roadworks, and thank you to the Uber driver who still got me there on time. Note to self: Do your homework!
Event day started out cool and breezy but soon became a lot warmer. We bumped into Claudia and Marg at the start, all pumped for the full course, and their enthusiasm was really infectious, but would that be enough to get me over the line?
Achilles guides are so incrediblly adaptable, and Simon Bernard especially so. I soon realised the usual hand-held tether was not going to work for me on this one, as there are a lot of quick turns, and of course ups and downs. So I took his elbow and after a while I got used to the turns as they were consistent. So I said to Simon he can drop the verbal cues as his elbow gave me all the information I needed. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I found that going slightly faster in this type of situation was much better for my balance than taking it slow, and once we found that sweet spot I again remembered why I love the event so much.
There were significantly fewer participants than I remember from the previous time, understandably, but some great tunes over the loudspeakers really helped and going up and down, out into the sun and back into the shade really makes one feel like it's YOUR MCG!
Halfway through the vent my calves got a little tired, but miraculously it never got worse and I was amazed when we got down to the final lap around on the grass that I could actually jog it! I really felt it in my calves for the next two days, so I know that down-grading was the right decision for me but next time...
Huge thanks to Sophie and others at Achilles to make this possible, congrats to the other teams who also flew the Achilles flag and a special mention to Simon who made it all look so easy.
Our mission is to enable people from all walks of life, including those with physical impairments, to enjoy the health giving benefits of walking and running in a supportive, social and encouraging environment.