‘John Medley Dash’
The University of Melbourne’s ‘John Medley Dash’ is an unofficial race held at least twice a semester.
The event gets its name from the destination, the John Medley building, which sits at Gate 10 on Grattan Street. Similar to ‘Redmond Barry Run’, participants are Arts students that are enrolled in subjects such as Criminology, Psychology, Media & Communication and Sociology.
A notable feature about the ‘John Medley Dash’ is that all participants are required to hold a stack of papers (typically 9 – 14 pages, containing no less than 1800 words, double spaced with references).
These papers are often collectively known as ‘essays.’ To complete the race, one must deposit the essay before the academic offices close at 5 pm, or in some cases, a stipulated deadline, colloquially known as ‘submission time.’
Essays are a central element of the pre-race festivities that take place up to 45 minutes before submission time.
The classic ‘John Medley Dash’ typically comprises of the following occurrences:
1. With the help of their friends and family, essays are proofread, printed and compounded together whilst participants perform a traditional war dance to boost their morale. Nervous pacing is also accepted as a substitute, but is generally frowned upon in this day and age.
2. It is the responsibility of the friends and family of participants to play music from action movies or TV series. Appropriate aural stimulation is paramount to the success of John Medley Dashes.
3. Once final checks to the essay have been made, a handshake or similar gesture is given to the participant. Historically, this signifies a nod of approval for the pursuit of academic excellence via physical endeavour of the lower limbs. Today, the gesture is accompanied by movie references that revolve around the concept of achieving victory against impossible odds.
4. The dash begins. Often, it requires the traversing of multiple terrain such as grass, concrete, tarmac and marble tiles. Participants brave traffic, stairs, urban obstacles and misplaced stationery to arrive at the John Medley Building.
5. Upon reaching the John Medley Building, participants must head to either the West or East tower, depending on race rules. Going to the wrong tower significantly increases the chances of failure.
Since its inception in 1878, 39 people have perished performing the John Medley Dash. 33 of these were due to traffic accidents. The rest were a result of heart failure or complications, with the exception of one drowning in 1994.
The last successful John Medley Dash took place today, 23 April 2012 at 1545 by He Ruiming with the time 2 minutes, 47 seconds.
He Ruiming is a second year student majoring in Media & Communications and Criminology at the University of Melbourne. This piece of writing is partly fictional and serves to entertain, not inform.