Tour de Mountain - Mawson, ACT
Distance by GPS: 24.5 km ( advertised at 25 km)
Time: 2 hrs 7 mins 7 secs
Rate: 5' 11" per km
Weather: perfect, 6:00 am start, sunny, temp 10-15 degrees, humidity 50%, wind calm
Week: 24.5 km
Dec: 252.35 km
Year: 4684.45 km
The course was changed this year to eliminate some of the rocky, dangerous down hill parts on Wanniassa Hills. This resulted in a longer 25 km event instead of 19 km and the adding of a 9 km one mountain run and a 17 km mini tour. Record numbers of participants indicated the changes were for the better.
Early start for the longest event at 6:00 am just after sunrise meant a cool start turning out a perfect day for running. At this time of the year and through summer, the chance of a total fir ban is always high, but the AMRA get permission to still conduct events if the event is started and finished early morning before the heat and wind become a factor.
Start line was at Mawson Playing Fields, ideal with plenty of parking, toilets and a big area for the start/finish area. After a quick dash up Athllon Dr heading south, the 25 km runners crossed the road towards Mt Taylor. Previously Mt Taylor was done last with only 3 mains climbs on the run. This year, Mt Taylor is first of 5 climbs, and being fresh maybe a little easier. The up hill is still the easiest side from the horse paddocks, but those stairs near the top are too far apart for me to run, I need to take big walking steps. Going well at this early stage having passed training partners, Mick, Nick and John on the way although they were not far behind.
Near the top I was running beside Liz Bennett, a well credentialled marathon runner and SFT aspirant next year. We were to run together for the rest of the event. Some youngsters piled on the pace both on the up and down, some we didn't see again and some fell in a heap later on. Back to the Athllon Dr crossing and on to Farrer ridge, an easy climb to the trig up a newish track, then down to the underpass at Yamba Dr. Mick later said he was not far behind at this stage but just couldn't catch us.
The next part up to Wanniassa trig was done in reverse previously but the track is now very rocky and washed out due to rain. Ok to run up but not good if running down. Walked a few parts of this saving energy and still passing a few of the slower runners in the 17 km event that started half an hour after us. Liz still beside me, she was happy as she lives north side and was unfamiliar with the course.
Isaacs ridge course also changed, now we were to climb to the top twice, from both ends, needless some power walking required to get up there. Excellent views over to Woden and Black Mountain in the city but only to be admired when going up. You watch your feet on the down.
The circuit completed, back to the houses of Farrer after the second underpass from Isaacs and the going was now easy, well the hills had gone, much flatter and the pace a little faster. Still keeping up with Liz although we both said we were getting tired.
We passed a youngster walking, he had gone passed us at speed earlier and paid the price, just a lack of experience, he will learn.
Finally made the turn with half a km to go to the finish line, Liz eased away to finish 30 metres in front. We had a great run together, chatted most of the time, encouraged when the going got tough. I hope she does have a go at SFT, anyone that can consistently run sub 3 hour marathon just needs hills and more hills to be ready.
I noted Friar's comments about entries may be limited for next year for SFT at around 850, best get in early.
I finished less than a minute in front of Mick, Nick just a couple of minutes later. How I did that I will never know, just felt good on the day, everything went right, and perhaps running beside someone at a solid pace all the way helps at lot.
Very happy with the day, if you didn't turn up and run, you definitely missed another great day.