Centennial Park - Sydney
Distance: 94.0 km
Time: 11 hrs 53 mins 33 secs
Rate: 7' 35" per km
Finished: 14th / 19 starters
Weather: cloudy, temp range 20-29-25 degrees, humidity 78%-50%-75%, wind light west 15 km
Week: 94.0 km, Feb: 280.3 km, Year: 718.95 km
We drove to Sydney on Saturday with Softshoe who was tackling his longest distance to date. Weather in Sydney was near perfect for what I was expecting and hoping for, sunny, warm, low humidity and a gentle sea breeze.
Overnight it changed but not to my liking with clouds rolling in, the temp was fine, but the humidity was high and stayed that way.
It was dark as we arrived to set up under a large tree near the start/finish area, a good location just after crossing the electronic timing mat which is just visible in the picture under my feet.
I started off Ok, keeping a nice rhythm for the first couple of hours, eating and drinking plenty but by the temp warming up and the humidity still high, I started to feel the conditions were not going to be good for me.
My preference is dry heat, a sunny day but it was not to be. A few spots of rain didn't help and the faded badly from around the 30-50 kms marks. A bad patch in a 12 hour event is impossible to recover from, the cut off is tight for me under good conditions.
I couldn't cool down and actually did the second half with a damp towel around my shoulders.
I picked up a bit in the afternoon when the humidity dropped to the 50% mark, but the time damage was done, several laps taking almost 45 minutes for 3.5 kms. No where near good enough. The easy calculations were that I would be 2 laps short of the 28 required even with picking up the pace in the last 3 hours.
Plenty of encouragement from the drink station helpers especially Milov & crew on the back straight.
Such is the nature of ultras, you never have it under control until you cross the finish line.
In Melbourne in August I finished inside the cut off with 11 hrs 38 minutes for 100 kms, this time I missed the cut by an hour. Weather conditions were vastly different, Melbourne in winter every season every hour, Sydney in summer not easy even though the track is virtually flat, not quite but almost.
Martin Fryer was the male winner in 30 seconds over 8 hours, In Melbourne, Barry Loveday ran 7 hrs 15 mins, in the ball park for what I missed out by. Tough day in Sydney, the track surface although packed dirt was soft sand in places, not as good as Melbourne's Tan track but there was no Anderson St hill to climb.
An enjoyable weekend away, another event proud to have been part of in it's first year. April said at the start after we had sang the national anthem that she could have filled the field limit 3 times over, such was the interest.
Next year, some one else may take my spot as I may look to return to the hills and mountains.
Great to catch up with my ultra running friends I have got to know over the last 10 or more years.
Congratulations to the two Canberra winners, Martin & Pam. This is the place to race.