The Mother's Day Classic is an 8km fun run in Geelong (and other locations in Australia on the same day) to raise money for breast cancer research. I've been doing it for a few years now, and this year I decided to run it barefoot for the first time. My preparation was typically slipshod. I left it until the last possible minute to organise a silly running costume, and ended up buying a pink 'onesie' that I thought would fit - until I tried it on and found that it was a little tight and I looked like I was trying to emphasise certain body parts that are best left to the imagination. Hello boys! My wife thankfully vetoed that idea, and suggested that I try on a pair of her pink flannelette pyjamas. They fit me well enough thanks to her penchant for roomy potato sack couture, and I was on my way. Next on the agenda was a trip to the local op shop to buy some material and sew up a long conical pom pom nightcap to match. In true last minute spirit, I was still sewing like the wind at 1:30AM on the morning of the run, but I still managed to make it out of bed in time for the 6:30 drive to Geelong. Disaster almost struck as I jogged to the registration tent to pick up my number and rolled my ankle on the edge of a path. I'm blaming the shoes. I thought I was gone for a moment, but the pain settled down quickly and I ran off to get changed into my pyjamas - and out of my shoes. The start was a typical packed affair, and I found myself a long way back because I'm not the pushy type and the vast majority of runners were women - outnumbered by almost 4 to 1. I threaded my way through the crowd for the first 500m or so, which was actually quite a lot of fun. Lots of comments and laughter in the background. My plan was to run the first 2km at a fairly brisk pace, as the middle section of the run was going to be on nasty rough roads. As we climbed the first hill I encountered my first heckler for the morning from a group of cyclists that were riding the other way. One guy called out "Nice PJs, buddy!" to which I replied "Aren't you wearing tights, mate?". Everybody laughed. The sun was out and conditions were perfect, and the mood in the bunch was relaxed and jovial. Lots of people were asking me if I had slept in or ran out the door in a hurry and the usual lines about forgetting my shoes were on high rotation. Lots of fun banter. A workman on the side of the road asked me if I had forgotten something, and I called out "Yeah, I didn't have time to shave this morning!". Meanwhile, I was positively charging along by my standards, but that took a bit of a hit once I hit the rough roads. The middle of the race included two laps around the middle of the Eastern Gardens, which is horrible rough chipseal. I've done it a few times now, and it's just not fun to run on. On the plus side, it is a good surface if you're looking to gain some sympathy and admiration from your fellow runners. To add to the difficulty of the surface, my pyjama pants were starting to get a bit loose and I had to keep hitching them up every few minutes to avoid what would have been a rather embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. Guy running in pyjamas - funny. Guy running with pyjamas around his ankles - call the police! I was starting to flag a little at the 4km mark until a young guy bounded past me looking like a million bucks and picked me up with a friendly comment on the way past. I tried to keep him in sight for a while and we started lapping people as we began the second lap around the gardens. That was fun. I made a few encouraging remarks to people as I ran past and slowed down to congratulate a lady who was pushing a double pram with her twin boys. I heard a few "Did you see that?" comments and one lady exclaimed to her friend "Look, he's not wearing any feet!". I reached the turn-off for the last 2km suffering from extreme flanellette toastiness, but the bonus was that my feet felt slightly cold and numb as a result. If you can't feel them, they're not hurting. A fit looking bloke caught up with me and we chatted away towards the end. He told me that he was suffering a dreadful hangover after his brothers had caught up for a family dinner the night before, which made me feel better. He challenged me to a sprint to the finish, so we wound it up a bit in the last 300m and flew across the line. He got me, but I knew that was coming. At the end of the run I was accosted by some photographers, and one random lady who also had some pyjama pants on came up and asked to be in a photo with me. I cheered a few work mates to the finish, and then wandered home. Funnily enough, my feet woke up and felt a little scuffed once I took a shower, and my ankle throbbed a little in the afternoon, but it was all minor stuff and I would happily do it barefoot again. Better still, I managed to take more than a minute off my shod time from the previous year, although the course was slightly short, more like 7.8km according to my GPS watch. When the results came out I was pleasantly surprised to find that my time of 34:52 placed me 29th overall out of about 700, 19th out of 155 men, and amazingly, second out of 27 men in the 40-49 age group. A podium finish! There were no prizes for second though, and the guy who won my group beat me by an even five minutes, so I'm not getting carried away with myself. I guess all the good runners stayed home to cook breakfast for their Mums, and I'm eternally grateful for that. I made an appearance in the local newspaper the following day, shown celebrating my glorious second place and surrounded by adoring fans: Actually, the truth was that I was wandering back to the car and the photographer was coming the other way - he had slept in and missed most of the event. I guess that puts things in perspective.