It’s all about the 500 metres of sand at Patonga – that’s why we do this run. GNW throws 174.5kms of the toughest bush terrain at you and then if you reach Patonga Beach, it gives in to you gracefully, and allows you the privilege of running on its golden sandy yellow carpet as reward for your efforts.
But before I launch into an account of my own race, firstly magic runs by Andrew and Meredith. You guys smashed the old course records and deservedly so. Brendan great effort in the 100 kms too, you are real class and your time showed it. This race is attracting the best of the best and we hope more people with more desire to break records will enter over the coming years. Without rehashing any old arguments I think readers would be surprised in how many people in the top 20 were doing some sort of track speed work on a weekly basis now. Distance is at the heart of what we do, but it’s no accident or ‘luck’ that the top 20 all went under 30 hours.
With a changed plan this year I cut back my monthly km’s to around 400 and started to train around 12 weeks before race day. On my first run I saw Otisr (Mark Redding) out there doing his thing. I was thinking as to how the hell I was going to make it through the training, let alone the race. It really was fun training with all my Ultra 168 mates, and on some training sessions, the numbers reached around 20 and even a dog with his surfing master in tow. The simple plan this year was to run 26 hours and/or stay in front of SPUD. I have been trying for 3 years to finish in front of him for his record with no luck, so this had to be the year before I move up to the Zimmer frame category. It was pretty funny running together for the first 28 km’s with this nice friendly façade, but each of us knowing what the other was up to.
It was a pretty uneventful first 2 legs and I made it to Congewai feeling pretty good. I used the iPod for the first time on Congewai road which was great. I haven’t seen the CP times yet but I thought it was around 3.35 for the first leg and 2.35 for the next. After leaving Congewai to the tower I was feeling ok and I am sure the weather had a little to do with this. With that, I made it to the top in 57 mins feeling good.
The first major hurdle I had was climbing Watagan Creek. It took me forever and at one point I thought I was going to have to wait for the National Parks Ranger to come along and charge me with loitering. I filled up with water at the unmanned water stop, and the Ian and I played leapfrog for a while until we got hit by the shower just after Pig and Sow Ridge.
It is both good and bad, the section going into the Basin as you can see where you are in the field and you also see how far you are behind some of the front-runners. I was in and out of CP3 pretty easy and it was fairly plain sailing to Yarramalong, where I caught up with Chris and had a brief chat of all of 5 words, before we parted company. Only then for him to pass me again in 6-7 km’s further along the road.
Most likely the worst leg for me was CP4-CP5. I started off fresh but could never get into any rhythm and struggled for most of it to even run. It felt like I was out there for days, eventually I had to walk for around 3 kms and struggled up the big hill off Ourimbah creek road. It was then that I decided I would sit and have some solid food at Somersby.
When I arrived at CP5 I was glad to be able to sit down and have couple of slices of pizza, some coke, soup, coke, coke. I don’t know how long I was there but I would say around 12 minutes. It felt like I had my energy back and from there, Joel and I ran to Mooney Mooney a lot better after my little feed feast.
The first time I checked the leader board was at MM and I was surprised MQ was only 15 minutes behind. It sort of scared me into getting into the last leg. With Martin as my pacer it felt like we were doing enough to stay in front of the wolves chasing us. Even though we were walking a fair bit, we managed to get some good kms in and maintain a steady pace all the way to Patonga Drive and the final few kms.
I ran down onto the beach looking for Dave to give me a gold medal for finishing under 25 hours, but with no such luck, but you can’t be soft you have to earn that gold medal. My time of 24.44 was only good enough for 6th but I’m pretty happy with that. I am still smashed 4 days later but that’s ok it’s the way I like it.
To Dave and fellow TT’s and ‘vollies’, thanks for putting on the best 100 miler in OZ .It was great to see so many good results, and whilst I can’t mention everybody a few that come to mind Keith Hong, Greg Brown, Levi Martin, Roger and 100% Alexis. It was a random meeting with him that turned into an epic training adventure. A great result for him, but you only get a reward for what you put in and he did just that. Congrats everyone and it’s on again next year.
Some stats for the spread sheet master amongst us:
- 13 hammer bars
- 16 gels
- 3 bags of salt & vinegar chips
- 6 water ice blocks
- 3-4 LCM’s
- Hammer Electrolyte tablets x a million
- 6 Vegemite sandwiches
- 500 ml ginger beer
- 1.5 litres coke
- A town full of water