Distance: 50 km ( my GPS 49.7km, others up to 52 km)
Time: 6 hrs 0 mins 56 secs
Rate: 7' 13" per km
Total climb: 1962 mtrs, total descent, 2051 mtrs
Start point: 150 mtrs above sea level, high point 1020 mtrs above sea level
Weather: sunny, temp at start 15 degrees, finish 30 degrees in sun, about 26 degrees in shade, wind calm mostly, light on top of range, humidity 45%
Week: 50 km
Feb: 222.75 km
Year: 743.8 km
Mtn bike ride: 18 km ( very easy until puncture, then walk back to work, 1.5 km carrying bike)
I didn't finish work on Friday night until after midnight and Mick C picked me up at 7: 30 am on Saturday for a 7 hr drive to Healesville in the Yarra Valley in Victoria. This run we entered last year but the run was postponed due to bush fires in Victoria and total fire bans. The run was transferred to April, the same day as Canberra marathon, so we missed out.
This year we decided to enter again, but with hesitation as it is only 3 weeks to Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains. We have in the past backed up two ultras close together with no problems so we hope again to do the same.
The drive down was uneventful, plenty of road works, I slept off and on most of the way so didn't see much. Found some accommodation in Healesville, checked out the registration area for the early morning, also doubling as the finish. The start, however was a 20 minutes bus trip away for both our 50 km event and the other 30 km event starting an hour later than us.
Some pasta for evening meal and an early night for me, Mick watched the movie. The alarm went off at 6:00 am, quickly ready and down to the registration area. Only a few there when we arrived but soon the familiar faces of the ultra running world arrived, Kelvin, Whippet, Brendan was sweep, Rob as Race Director for the first time. Most of the chat is around those that did the Western States 100 miles in America during our winter, those that did Coast to Kosziusko in December, backing up after Bogong to Hotham in early Jan and some that did the Cradle Mountain run in Tasssie just a couple of weeks ago. And you reckon I'm silly.
Uncle Dave was there to give the race record a shake, and with around 35 in the long run and over 50 in the shorter run, the RD was very happy with the way the event is continuing to grow. Kelvin tells the story of 4 or 5 starters in the early days, this event started by Nigel Aylott, tragically killed by a falling rock in an adventure race in USA a few years ago.
We started out on a single file bush track, just climbing in altitude slowly in the first few kms, then up and up, about 5 kms of just up. Tripped here on something, no damage, soft landing, just a graze or two. An hour and twenty minutes to run 8 kms and I had thoughts of missing the cut, however there were plenty behind me. It was a tough beginning knowing there was still 40 kms to go and two more big climbs to come. I passed a guys sitting on the ground going no where just before the Dom Dom Saddle, rolled his ankle, not too badly but not able to continue.
The next section is a loop back to the Dom Dom Saddle of just under 10 km. I liked this part, reasonably flat, very runable in the bush with a bit of up hill back to the drink station. The pace was quicker here and the cut off was just a distant thought.
Then the hard work really started. A big climb up the Great Dividing Range, on a 4WD road for part, then off into the bush up a grass climb again, walked much of this, just too tough and more to come. I was running with Malcolm Gamble at this stage, we had plenty to talk about, he had just done Cradle Mtn overland track run a couple of weeks ago. We came to an unmarked intersection up high on the range, no signs although the course markes had said stay on the main road if in doubt. We wasted about 10 minutes deciding and checking out two tracks before a group of trail bike riders told us they had seen no runners on one track, so we took to other.
Undulating is being nice along here until we came across a drink station at about the 36 km mark. Only a km and a half to the top of Mt St Leonards, then down hill. Luckily, the distance was under a km, although a very rocky, rough track in the scrub up to the top meant more walking.
Off the top of the mountain reminded me of the old bush track off Mt Franklin at Brindabella Classic. Very steep down, feet went from under me and down on backside again. Only a couple of kms of this then a very good dirt road, gentle down hill, as fast as you can go, which wasn't that fast. However, I managed to pass a few here, plenty walking, having gone out too hard in the conditions. Some how I felt pretty good, no cramps, energy levels good and generally appreciating the run. A couple of short hills towards the end, walked those and made it to the finish in just over 6 hours, nearly 2 hours behind Uncle Dave who missed the record just just a couple of minutes. If we hadn't of lost 10 minutes on the top of the range deciding where to go, I may have just caught Mick who ran 5 hrs 53 mins, also very happy with his effort, no knowing the course and the weather conditions not in his favour.
Waited in the cool, I should say very cool water of the creek close by to was off sweat and dirt and help the legs. Presentations over, we headed to any place that had hot food with salt. Chicken and chips and a coke usually our choice after a run like this. Headed home, stopping twice for a McCafe and arrived back in Canberra just before midnight. Would I do it again, yes. It is harder than Six Foot Track for sure, longer and the hills steeper.
Not much sleep and off to work at 5:45 am. A bike ride today and another 20 minutes in the cool water at Pine Is and the recovery in well under way. A short run tomorrow if I get the chance.