Saturday 17th August 2013

Lamington Eco Challenge 2 Marathons in 2 Days – Marathon #1. The alarm went off at 4:15am. I got up dressed and made porridge for breakfast. Did a final gear check and packed my bags in the car and headed off to Lamington National Park. It was a really scenic drive up the mountain range and it was great to see the sun rise over the ranges. This was my first trip up to Green Mountains and my weekend was made just by the slow but scenic drive up the narrow windy road that climbs into the ranges and National Park. I collected my race pack a little after 7:00am and chatted to other competitors as we waited for the race start at 8:00am.

After a short briefing we were off. The course was simple and well-marked and there was very little chance of anyone getting off course and no one did. After a short run down the road leading to the O’Reilly’s we veered off onto a forest track and before long came to the first gate a farm and a checkpoint. From here we were directed across the cow paddock where cones showed us the best route across the paddock. It was a grassy paddock and the cows about were seemingly unperturbed by 60 or so runners and walkers making their way through the paddock. The paddock was a very steep down across the creek and then up again where we passed through another gate onto Duck Creek Road.

The course then followed Duck Creek Road which started out as cool shady rainforest and soon thinned to forest and was undulating at first and then came some quite steep downhill descents where you could really turn the legs over. The track is 4WD only at this point and was in pretty good condition and the views across the Kerry Valley were spectacular. The next checkpoint was at the half marathon turnaround. Portaloos were available at each checkpoint. The marathon runners then continued down the track into the Kerry Valley. There were more steep sections and hairpin bends to negotiate before the road levelled out and we came across another creek crossing and a few more gates and then the road turned into bitumen. There were also a few cattle grids and cows and even camels about. We continued along the undulating road turning left onto Kerry Road where we crossed a single lane bridge and after 1.5km came across a checkpoint aid station and the turnaround point. It was great to get support from other marathon runners as we made our way back up the ranges to Green Mountains. I walked the steep ascents and ran easy when possible and was greeted by helpful volunteers at the aid station and the vehicles that passed on the track (the ranger and mostly race official vehicles) were courteous.

Finally you reach the cow paddock again turning right to negotiate cow pats, cows the odd rock and the springy grass, the muddy creek and the steep climb out of the valley up to the checkpoint and aid station. We were then directed right again to follow cones marking the best course across the paddocks back to a single trail track through the forest. There was about 3km of magnificent forest trail where you had to negotiate rocks, tree routes and fallen logs before popping out again on the Lamington National Park road where it was a shortish run along the road to the finish. I managed to be the 1st home overall on day one and had a good lead.

Marathon 1 of 2 was done. I was a little tired and hungry and was very careful to quickly rehydrate and fuel by taking Shotz Electrolytes (1L), a banana and a Shotz Protein Bar and tried some of the Hammer Recoverite on offer. I can’t say I am a fan of the Chocolate flavoured Recoverite drink. I then felt a little better and ready to tackle the course again the following day.

Sunday 18th August 2013DSC01203

Unfortunately overnight a motor vehicle accident had occurred on the course and the Duck Creek Road was closed somewhere past the half marathon checkpoint. All marathon runners were briefed in regards to this matter and advised that we might not be able to run the full marathon course and that we might be turned around at the half marathon checkpoint. As a group we were hopeful that we would be able to access the road for our event and agreed to start the race without a definite decision on this matter.
We set off at the start of marathon 2 knowing that we might be turned around at checkpoint 2 to run the half marathon twice to make up marathon #2. When the lead marathon runner was running towards me I knew then that it would be a groundhog day and we would have to negotiate that dreaded steep up and down of the cow paddock twice. It was such a relief to climb up over the last little ridge the last time and I was not the first to comment that I was glad to not have to do that hill again.
Having to do the out and back twice was challenging and my second marathon was 30 minutes slower than my first but had an additional 235m elevation gain. I really missed the section of flat road where you could open up the legs and cruise along at a fairly good pace.

This was a very well organized event all credit to the race director Meredith who organized a fantastic group of volunteers to man checkpoints and provide assistance to competitors over the two days. The competitors were supportive and friendly and it was a pleasure to be a part of this inaugural event.

The race pack included a Hammer Energy Bay, a can of drink, a race technical singlet (gender specific) and a small selection of information. A number of spot prizes were drawn on both days and I received a Skirt Sports Technical T-shirt .

Lamington Eco Challenge 2 Marathons in 2 Days – Marathon #1

Lamington Eco Challenge 2 Marathons in 2 Days – Marathon #2

Race results and other information on the event can be found here.

Hill Seeking

I love hill repeats.  Insane I know.  Actually it’s more of a love hate relationship. I don’t exactly love it when I am doing it but I get through the uphill grinds, ticking them off mentally as I go and when I am pushing out that last one I am in my element.

How could anyone love hill repeats.  I love it because I know I will get significant fitness gains far greater than any easy run on the flat.

Sometimes my workouts are on the road and shorter it depends on the event I am training for.  At the moment my upcoming event is on trails and very hilly so I am running up and doIt's a hillwn a trail with uneven steps, a turn or two, exposed tree roots and rocks.  Hill repeats are my strength training and I would much rather be out on the trail or even the road doing hill repeats than cooped up in a gym lifting weights.

But each to their own.  I prefer nature.  It’s a hill, get over it.