Fitzroy Falls Fire Trail Marathon
Distance: 42.195 km ( may have been short by 300 metres)
Time: 3 hrs 45 mins 26 secs
Rate: 5' 20.5" per km
Weather: cloudy, temp 5-12 degrees, humidity 80%, wind calm
Altitude gain/loss: 380 metres
Finished: 23rd/95 starters, 20th male, 1st in age group
Week: 76.0 km, Oct: 104.9 km, Year: 3434.85 km
First I must thank Mick for driving so I could have a short snooze on the way down and a bigger sleep on the way home. And thanks to Nick for keeping Mick awake on the drive home, it was a long hard day on the trails.
We left for Fitzroy Falls about 4:45 in the morning for an 8:00 am start. Clear skies over Canberra soon changed to cloudy as we neared Goulburn, not looking like rain and luckily there was no wind. This past week had seen a few terrible days, unusual for this time of year.
Arrived with an hour to spare, plenty of time to have a chat to the regulars, the organisers and study the map. For me, the course has changed a bit since I last ran here in year 2001. I ran the first two events then missed the next 7 as the Brindabella Classic was a priority and too soon after for me to recover.
Just over 100 entries for the marathon with 12 failing to front for this wonderful off road race. Perfect running conditions, cool, calm and cloudy meaning no repeat of the hot days experienced in the past. A narrow start for about 200 metres meant the organisers had 10 seeded runners in male and female getting a front line start. Didn't matter as there was plenty of room after the first right hand turn.
Settled into a rhythm, feeling good, legs doing what they should and not complaining. The track surface was nice, softened by recent rain, settling any dust but not filling the creeks. One large puddle near 5 km had a track around the outside, too early to run in wet shoes. We also had to avoid this puddle on the way back which I did.
Travelling partners had ran off in front but I managed to catch Mick after the 15 km mark chatting to a girl who went to finish 3rd female. She ran well as she had done the Sydney marathon only 3 weeks earlier in 3hrs 38 mins and ran 3 hrs 44 mins today on a far more difficult course.
We reached the 20 km mark and drink station to be told to go left when we knew we should have gone straight on to and out back 5 km. The RFS marshall said he knew it was wrong but everyone except two early starters had gone the wrong way and we would do extra later on. We did that after the 30 km mark on and easier less hilly track so I think we benefited from this small error.
I had caught Nick at this stage, he was having some walk breaks and so I pushed on still feeling Ok. A slow 5 kms from 35-40 km resulted in my slowest patch, and unfortunately stopping me from getting under the time I had hoped for a 3:45 hrs.
Finally made it to the finish just 26 seconds outside my target, absolutely happy as a pig in mud with the result. Mick finished in around 3 hrs 57 mins and Nick in 4 hrs 14 mins. Other Canberrans ran well, many under 4 hrs, I forget the times but the results should be out soon, a computer print out was available at the finish.
The first 3 males all ran under 3 hours, Alex Matthews finished 1 st, the winner of the Bush Capital marathon in July in race record time. He certainly likes these off road events. He received some prize money, some flowers, a medal and half a dozen duck eggs for his win. What more can you want ? Well done to all that competed and finished. A great day, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and caught up with a few others that you only see once or twice a year.
I will need to check the blog post to see who won the beer or wine bet. Sorry if you lost but I tried my best.
Down to the river tomorrow to help two tired legs recover, but I feel good at this stage.