A small contingent of Striders competed in the first race of the 2017 club championship calendar. Corne Grotius, Ryan Moore, Stan Fetting and I were the keen few to take on this rather brutal 22k trail run. I’ve completed the 18k Pinnacles trail run a few times and assumed this was only 4k longer, it couldn’t be much harder. Hmmm I was a little deluded. If you’ve seen the elevation of this course on strava you’ll know what I mean.
The race starts at White Cedar picnic ground about a 20 min drive past the summit of Mt Glorious and finishes opposite the Maiala picnic ground on Mt Glorious.
The race started at 7am and we headed out with bagpipes playing. The trail started with a little dry creek bed crossing and a small rise up to a bend in the track. Then we ran around the bend and the trail got a little steeper. I thought, “this is ok, I can still jog slowly up this”. I don’t remember if it was another bend or just a rise hiding what was ahead, but suffice to say the next 30 minutes were a blur of burning calves and bursting lungs. 30 minutes of lung busting, calf burning steep climbing. There was no running and at times the trail was so steep I’m sure if I’d reached my hand out in front of me I’d have touched the trail. In the first 30 minutes we’d only run three kilometres!
Mercifully the hardest part of the run was over after those first very hard, very slow three kilometres. At the top of this summit our hard work was rewarded with spectacular views over Wivenhoe dam. After 4k the trail headed back down and we were able to make up some time on the next 5k of downhill. If you watch your footing and have a little faith in your ability to stay upright you can make up good ground on the downhills. That was my strategy for this race, hold with the pack on the uphill and go hell for leather on the downhill.
Sadly the fun bit ended all too soon and Mt Glorious loomed large in front of us. The climb up to the finish began at about the 10k point. For the next 10k the trail was mostly uphill. Not too steep, but steep enough that it was often as quick to walk as try and run. I was encouraged that I still managed to pass a few other competitors but none had passed me.
20k in and I remembered Ryan saying the last couple of kilometres were a nice flatish run through the rainforest on the top of Mt Glorious. I entered the rainforest feeling pretty pleased with my run and looking forward to the finish line. Then we turned off the fire trail onto a narrow single track path back in the direction from which we’d come. The rainforest was pretty dense there and the track was moss covered, booby trapped with rocks, trees roots and hanging vines and slippery. Oh and there was a nice steep drop off on one side. Don’t fall, it’s a long way down! Almost there, only about 850m to go, I can smell the coffee….but the joy is short lived, there’s stairs! Steep, slippery stairs. My legs are screaming “STOP! Just lie down here”. This report is censored for family consumption, so I won’t repeat what I may have said out loud. Stairs conquered, garmin buzzes another kilometre, that’s 22k and I’m still in dense rainforest. Sad face. Just keep running, just keep running. Another minute then suddenly you pop out of the rainforest and into a clearing. The finish line is right there. Happy face. High fives and sweaty hugs all round.
I think we did our club proud today. Ryan finished in 2:17, Stan 2:19, Yvonne 2:26 (4th female) and Corne 2:56.
I’ll probably be back. As hard as trail running is, I love running in the bush and TRAQ always put on a very friendly and well catered event.
(photo courtesy of Stan F)