100 miles is a long way however you look at it.
It feels particularly long when you are driving up from Brisbane on the motorway and your speeding along for an hour whilst the odometer is nowhere near 100. Anxious and excited was how I was feeling come Saturday morning.
Before I jump into the details of the race, I thought i’d give a high level overview of the 12 weeks leading into the race in the table below. There were just 3 weeks where I managed to run over 100 kilometers which is pretty low by most standards however I was confident that I had put in enough ‘long runs’ to see me through. Regardless, its mostly all mental anyway.. – thats what i kept telling myself in the lead up.
|Week No.||Long Run||Total Mileage (KM’s)||Comments|
|1||0||50||Taper for GC Marathon|
|2||42.2||56||GC Maraton – 2.41|
|4||51||121||Good run exploring Trail Walker|
|5||51||139||Repeat of week 4’s long run but quicker|
|6||42.2||80||Pacing 3hr bus at M7 Marathon|
|7||45||60||Mt Solitary Marathon|
|8||0||13.5||Abosolutely stuffed – took a full week to recover|
|9||70||90||Long road run – felt good|
|10||100||126||Oxfam Trailwaker – just over 14hrs|
|11||0||60||Taper for Glasshouse|
|12||0||46||Taper for Glasshouse|
The start of the race was low key to say the least. No timing mat, no giant timing clock, just Ian Javes saying ‘go’. Finally we were off. I had planned to run between 5-5.30min/km’s for as long as I could before the inevitable slow down later in the day. I thought this would give me a good chance of being in the mix once the going got tough.
I quickly found myself running in a small pack with Oliver Zambon, Damian Smith and Scott Hawker. The plan was to stick with Oli for as long as possible as I figured he’d be the one to beat – I didn’t know a great deal about the other runners.
The first 9.7km is a loop and takes you back to the start. I felt really good here and enjoyed chatting to Oli and Damian. The pace felt super easy and the first 10km was ticked off in 51.54.
The climb up to the top of Mt Beerburrum felt good and I put a small gap on Oli and Damian here. Nearing the top probably 4 or 5 runners came charging down the other way about 2 minutes in front. I noticed one 100 miler amongst the group but couldn’t put a name to him. I took it super easy on the way down careful to put as little stress on the quads that early into the race. The memories of my poor Mt Solitary Marathon were all too raw… Damian passed me easily here and Oli quickly caught up as did Scott.
The next 10km or so is mostly dirt road and some trails. We ticked off that 10km portion in 56.37. I remember asking the others who the lead 100 mile runner was. Nobody knew but we all agreed that it was too early in the game to be worrying about chasing him. Be patient. Shortly after Scott took off and went on to win the 100 km race in a little over 9hrs in course record time. Great running. You can read his excellent report here.
Unbeknown to Oli or Damian I wasn’t feeling great, my legs were feeling tight and fatigued which was a concern so early on in the race. I even entertained thoughts of pulling out momentarily as 140 more kilometres was beginning to overwhelm me. However, I persisted and the next 10km’s was over in 55.09. Good consistent running so far.
I had my first drop bag at CP4 (24.7km) which when I was planning the night before I thought was at the 32.2km mark. In my drop bag was another 3hr bottle of Hammer Perpetuem. So when I came to CP4 I didn’t realise it was CP4 and just filled up my water bottle and ran on. I was a few hundred meters up the road when I realised my mistake but I wasn’t prepared to turn around and re-fuel. I’d just use the food at the aid stations instead.
Shortly after the 30km mark Oli ducked into a bush and I decided to use this opportunity to stretch my legs out. He had a couple of pit stops prior and always caught up easily. However, this time I thought I would push it just a tad. The terrain had begun to change too as I entered a part of the course called the ‘Goat Track’. Lots of short steep ups and downs here and twisty turns so once I was out of sight of Oli and Damian I wouldn’t know how far behind they were until I hit a long straight road stretch. I really enjoyed this section and my legs felt much better for the change in terrain as I activated other muscles. I was beginning to feel good. A few kilometres of really pushing it meant that I managed to catch up with the lead 100 miler. I passed him and surged on.
The 4th 10km section was 56.44 and the 5th 10km section was 58.38. Still running consistently here. And still running in the lead. On the powerlines section (which was pretty cool) I looked over my shoulder occasionally and could always see Oli just a minute or 2 back. I was struggling to shake him but knew it was still early days and not to stress out over it.
I can’t remember too much about the next few miles but got a good boost when Phill turned up to CP8 as I had just finished the last loop there at kilometre 68. I was still running by myself and actually feeling pretty decent. I was hurting but managing it and getting a buzz from being in the lead. It was good to see the other runners too heading out on their loops as I was heading in. Lots of words of encouragement which was good.
The 6th 10km section was run in 63 minutes and the 7th in 58.29. Still ticking over.
I met Phill again at CP7 and decided to change out of my NB MT110 into my Inov8 Road 233. These were half a size bigger and was a great move. My feet could breathe again. Upon leaving CP7 at approximately 80km (8th 10km in 58.40) after running a 4.4km loop there was a long stretch of road and I could see Oli just cresting the top – probably only 3 minutes behind me. Damn, he was hard to shake. I continued on and as Phill drove past in the car I told her to pull over. I wanted to clarify that the person behind me was definitely Oli. Her response was great and gave me the biggest boost of the day. Apparently the runner behind me was in the 100km race and I had actually built a 21 minute lead on the second placed miler. Excellent. This was just what I needed and gave me the motivation to push on.
The 9th 10km was 64.37 and the 10th was 67.06. I had a little celebration with myself as I passed the 100 kilometre mark in approximately 9hrs 50.
A few kilometres later and I was at the school having completed the Western section in 10hrs 20 – just 5 minutes off Mike Le Roux’s course record split. However, that didn’t excite me too much at the time as I knew I was slowing. I was just interested in surviving at this stage. Having said that, the race was still on and I didn’t want to hang around at the school all night so I had a quick water top up and headed back out to CP9. I remember looking at my watch to take note of the time as I thought I would see the runners behind me coming into the checkpoint. I wanted to gauge how far ahead I was. I think this window of opportunity lasts for 2km or so until I had to turn off, however I didn’t see a single soul. So I estimated that my lead must have grown to around 40 minutes. Another much needed boost.
After crossing Moffats road I was then treated to some great views of the pineapple plantations. Having never seen one before I was pretty fascinated by them. I never knew the pineapples grew so low to the ground. The next section was also one of my favourites running on trails through the pine forests. Pretty awesome.
11th and 12th 10km sections were 61.56 and 63.46 respectively. Slowing but still reasonably steady.
I met Phill at CP9 and was given my ticket and actually ran most of the way up to the top of Wild Horse Mountain. I was lucky enough to do this in daylight as the sun was slowly setting. The view was outstanding and I stopped for 30 seconds to take it in and I remember thinking how lucky i was to be doing what i was doing. I gingerly made my way back down the hill back into CP9 and then it was a 5km section on to CP10.
Phill was doing a cracking job and had me in and out of the checkpoint quickly to tackle the 6.5 section or Western Loop. I absolutely hated this section. It was without doubt my lowest point of the day. The track was deep soft sand and really slow going. It was up to my knees at some stages. I was even amused to see a car completely buried. I’d be interested to know the story behind that one. Slowly but surely that awful section came to an end and I was back at CP10 where Phill refuelled me. 13th 10km section in 68 minutes.
Upon entering CP10 there was another runner there fuelling up. Phill explained that he was the second placed 100 miler so I assume he was Adam Stokes. He was looking pretty good so I didn’t waste time and went and ran the easier Eastern Loop at 10. This section is 9.2 kilometres and I ran this in roughly the same time as the Western Loop. 14th 10km in 70.02. Slow but nothing to worry about. With a 50 minute lead and 20km’s left I knew Adam would have to run over 2 minutes per kilometre quicker than me to take the win. With that thought in mind I did take the foot off the gas a little – my body and mind just needed it.
After retracing my steps back to CP9 i collected my 2nd ticket and power walked up to the top of Wild Horse Mountain again. Ticket in the box and then back down. I stopped mid way to empty my shoes of sand and then I was in and out of the checkpoint and on the home stretch. Adam hadn’t arrived at CP9 by the time I had left so I knew the win was now in the bag. 15th 10km in 75.31. Slowest of the day.
The pine forests weren’t as much fun on the return leg but I did see a huge owl sitting on a low branch which was cool. Through this section I started passing runners coming in the opposite direction all sending positive vibes to each other. I was so close to the finish but my body wanted to give up. Well thats what it felt like. 100 miles is such a mental battle. The key is to try to just think of nothing and concentrate on your breathing – eventually those negative thoughts fall away for a little while.
After what seemed like an eternity I finally made it to the finish line for the lowest key finish of any race i have ever run. Phill was there to clap me in and Ian Javes the race director tried to send me out on another loop not realising that I had finished. I had a good laugh about that. 60.35 for the final 10km section. 16 hours 17 minutes – 1st place.
Sitting down never felt so good and I stayed in my chair for a good 15 minutes before heading back to the motel. I didn’t sleep too well that night and was surprised how good my legs felt the next day. Not much soreness at all. The only issue still giving me grief is my recurring left shin injury, possibly tendinitis or something.
Throughout the run I had:
- 24 scoops of Hammer Perpetuem
- 5 Bananas
- 1 chocolate brownie
- 1 small piece of cake
- Half a sausage sandwich
- 2 small sausage rolls
- A handful of different fruits
- 5 salt tablets
- 4 powerades
- Plenty of water
I’m pretty sure my time was the 3rd fastest in the races history which was pretty cool. Upon reflection and now i’ve experienced the course I think i’d definitely be able to take an hour off my time if I were to run this again. If I actually take my training a little more seriously and if the race is competitive up front I don’t think a finish time starting with 14** is completely out of the question.
A great race and i’d recommend it to all.