Most runners I know are on a bit of downtime right now. The big season races are complete and everyone is looking forward to a good stuffing at Christmas. However, there are two races on right at the start of 2012 which should catch your attention, and they’re both races that I’ve done in the past.
First up is the Narrabeen Allnighter. I’ve done this race twice before and I’ll be honest, it’s a real killer on the mind. The setting is fantastic, around the lake at Narrabeen, starting at 8pm for the 12 hour guys and gals, with a 9pm start for the 100km hopefuls. The first year I did this run I was in training for the marathon des sables. I carried a 10kg backpack for the first 6 hours, before discarding it and making my way to a rather mediocre 92kms. Immediately afterwards I found out that I had a fracture of the fibula and was laid off for 8 weeks. I only just made it to the start line of the MDS.
The second time around I was a little wiser, but unfortunately not that much fitter and plodded my way to 98kms. After that I said no more track events, but I havent managed to keep that promise 🙂 This is a great race for those that fancy an evening stroll alongside some of Sydney’s most pleasant scenery in the northern suburbs.
As this is an over-nighter too, the temps tend to be a little cooler, but not always the case. The last time I competed, it ws still 30 degrees at midnight. The killer thing about this race however is the dead period between 4am and 6am. And while a totally flat track may appeal, you need to watch your ITB on this one and make sure you mix things up every now and again with a bit of walking too.
I’ve tended to use this race as a bit of a kick-start for the opening of the year, and it’s a very well run event too. Ron Schwebel, the race director and Glen Lockwood, his trusty co-director make a great team, so if you live nearby and fancy a stroll, get your name down for this one. My plan is to get down for this one for a few hours to see how the race unfolds, and it will be nice to sit on the sidelines and help out for a change too!
Next up on the same weekend is the race that’s been around for donkeys years when it comes to ultras, Bogong to Hotham. This race is a brut, there’s no two ways about it. I ran this one last year and by 20kms, I’d felt as though I’d run 100kms already. If you want a true test of mountain running, this is the one to go and do.
The start sees a gentle meander from a campground, up to the foot of the track that rises to Mount Bogong. It rises 1,400m in just over 6kms!!! After that is a nice trek down to what’s known as big river, which sits at around 1,000m. And then, you’ve guessed it, a wonderful 800m climb out. I remember last year, walking out of big river as if I was blowing a hole right out of my arse. I was moving so slowly and couldn’t believe we weren’t even 20kms into the race by then. The only words to describe it was freaking tough as.
I hit Langford gap in just over 6 hours. If I was racing this year, I would have been DNQ’ed as the race moves back to the original format of one start and 6 hours to hit the one and only checkpoint. I tell you now… There will be a few people sweating on that cut-off 🙂
Following the monster climbs, there is then a fair bit of flat over the tops of the ranges, before you descend once again into the depths,before rising up and out past the Mick Miles memorial cairn and a nice 5km meander to the summit of Mount Hotham. Marcus will be racing this year and reporting for Ultra168 down on the NSW/Mexican border – the question is, can he beat my rather mediocre time of 10:56 from last year? 🙂