It was quite a balmy morning by late April standards when we gathered at Turramurra station for the impending 4:09am train. 18 degC it said on my car temperature gauge, and so it didn’t even feel crisp in my running shorts and t-shirt. I did feel a bit underdressed for the occasion though. A few home-made Anzac bickies were consumed care of Mrs Fowler…very nice.

The people who made the train and formed the TT team for 2017 were Daina Lee, Sandra Cary-Jones, Cameron McKenzie, Martin Smith, and repeat offenders John Fowler, Richard Duggan and me. There was also the well-known and acclaimed author Geoff Russell who surprised us with his antisocial antics by joining us at Wynyard after travelling all the way in a different carriage. Worse still, Fergus Dixon had taken the train via Strathfield from Hornsby and avoided seeing us until the last possible moment.

We had a cup of tea and another Anzac biscuit at Wynyard care of kind station staff, and then made our way up George Street to the Cenotaph via a bag-check security station and we partook the last half of the Dawn Service.

Like last year, the lovely tones of a Maori choir and the Sydney Men’s Choir complemented prayers and memories.

Nice cover: couldn’t really read the small words inside cos it was before dawn

Unlike last year, a protester quite close to us decided to wait until the minute’s silence to start shouting loudly and disrespectfully about war and what is it good for etc etc (answer: absolutely nothing). The police quietly and efficiently forced him to the ground, handcuffed him, bundled him away and eventually charged the blighter: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/04/25/man-charged-over-alleged-protest-during-anzac-day-dawn-service

The number of people attending the Dawn Service was down on last year but the security was more visible: unfortunately this level of security is now a necessity for events like this. Due to all the barricades in George St associated with the construction of the light rail we felt safe!!

Later, Richard kindly took everybody’s programs all the way to Turramurra in his backpack. They ended up a bit damaged but nobody was very angry with Richard despite his thoughtless lack of care.

There were nice and slowly-changing Vivid-style projections on one of the buildings:

Location: m-ARTY-n place

After the ceremony finished, the Trotters started walking towards the north end of the city and presumed Fergus would catch us there after some dodgy SMSing. On the way, Geoff felt the call of nature and appropriately went all the way down into the bowels of the Wynyard tunnel, surprising us all a little later by jumping out at a different spot, just like he did on the platform at Wynyard; perhaps his next book will be about apparitions and heart attacks.

Fergus finally turned up at Grosvenor Street in his athletic costumery that (to everybody except him) seemed more suited to an Everest Base Camp marathon but not Sydney on this particular morning. It may have suited Strathfield, tho, bro, and for this reason all was forgiven:

Fergi G

Onto the Coathanger and a ship was arriving! Perfect time for a photo or 2 in the gloaming:

Showboater with boat

Daina limbering up / Geoff limbering east

Finally, there were no more available excuses for inaction. As one, with chins set hard against the rising sun and the challenges that lay ahead, Team Turramurra headed north for upwards of 5 minutes whereupon more than one person stopped for a little while at the conveniences at Milsons Point train station.

From then on it was a bit of uphill. We didn’t see Sandra or Cameron again until Turramurra, I think because there were way too many coffee shops expecting people like them to be out and about…how right they were!
Also, Geoff was happy to plod along at his own pace and so we arrived at Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, with only six bods.

We snuck under the Gore Hill Freeway and up through the pleasant and unsung Cordia Way and thence to Chatswood where, despite Daina’s better judgment, she followed us down steep Fuller’s Road and into the Lane Cove National Park. Just our luck that a male ranger was opening the male toilets and a female ranger was opening the female toilets!! Some of us took advantage of this serendipitous happenstance, while others with better-behaving bladders bestowed their bottles on a bubbler.

We then headed west on the bitumen, sidestepping walkers and jumping away from narky cyclists who, as always, think they own the road. The Serious Six were strung out a bit, in more ways than one, as the trip was now 15k gone and sleep deprivation was starting to show: there was minimal talking.

However, we successfully up made it to the North Ryde end of the park and we spotted another bubbler next to the closed ticket booth where Fergus could take in some fluids to replace all those that had now been efficiently absorbed into the all layers of clothing. It was almost wasted effort because traversing Ryde Road in a 70kph zone was almost his last crossing (except perhaps for the River Styx).

We optimistically headed north along Ryde Road…surely it was all downhill from here?! It was a fair way along to Cultowa Road where we then left the main drag, walked for a bit until everyone caught up, and we then made our happy way through the quiet leafy back streets of West Pymble. The big hill at Livingstone Avenue was still there, and some of us launched ourselves at it…Richard Duggan showed off his Comrades-ready condition and overtook everybody with up to a 150m handicap even with all the Anzac Day programs onboard.

The rest of the trip was a bit of a slog and the team was now pretty well spread out, but each went courageously up Pymble Hill and then along the highway to home.

Robert Thomson was first to the Replay coffeeshop but only because he had sneakily made his way down Rohini St (after John Fowler helpfully held the traffic up) and then across the station concourse while everybody else was walk/relaxing along the highway. Suckers!

There was mucho discussiono about where to have the very important post-run coffee. Daina was very very very keen to go to Replay (she said the coffee is very good but I think she might have shares in the place)…while some traditionalists were also happy to go to Pierre’s (the only one shop in Turramurra that was open last year, and they can provide as many homemade pastries as you can eat – I know this)…in the end we went to the safe haven of Adam’s Pies & Cakes that was very unbusy despite Adam having an offsider there on double-time wages, and so he seemed even more relieved to see us than on Saturdays.

Next year we shall see who will once again be willing to forgo a good sleep but instead enjoy the Anzac Dawn Service and see the sun come up over the Opera House.

Rob Thomson

Post Script:
Turramurra Trotters started the Sydney Dawn Service Run Back from Martin Place in 2015 which was the 100-year anniversary of the Anzac’s landing in Turkey. The first year there were 3 runners, the second year 6 and this year 9 runners.