With people from all corners of the world, including Samoa, a unique sense of community formed at the B.O.C. Falefa Run on Saturday, quickly welcoming all the new faces.
Beginning at the Falefa Falls Bridge, the road quickly wrapped around the mountainous coastline. The initial incline gently eased us runners into the course.
Looking down over the pristine Falefa Bay on one side, and up at the sheer green walls of the mountain on the other, the kilometres quickly passed by. Egged on by the whip of birdcalls, the water stations appeared out of nowhere. Never in Australia have I done a run where sponges of cool water are wrung over your head, but it was a welcome and refreshing first.
The hills, for the most part, were extended but not exhaustive. Steady ups were rewarded with cruisy downs where gravity took charge.
So spectacular were the views that it was them, not the hills that took my breath away. A few times, unable to tear my eyes away from the scenic beauty, I stumbled over potholes.
Once the first runners reached the turnaround, the real excitement of the run kicked up. Every runner or walker passing the opposite way exchanged high-fives and cheery words of encouragement.
With this second half-support and smiling locals, a second wind of energy pulsed through me. The hills became irresistible to charge, and a grin crept across my face.
It was with feelings of elation that I ran across the finish line where every participant was treated like a champion. The banner was held up for everyone and every person was cheered across the line.
Fresh pawpaw, and the coldest coconuts I’ve had in all of Samoa hit the spot in terms of perfect refreshment. As the first run for the Samoa Events season, I doubt there was a person there who won’t be back for more. Yes for more running, but also for more of the warm welcoming feeling that embraced everyone there.