This is not another race report. You will find them everywhere and this article is a start. http://www.irunfar.com/2014/05/2014-the-north-face-100k-australia-results.html
I recently enjoyed a day in Sydney and a few days in Katoomba and its surrounds in the Blue Mountains about 90 minutes drive from Sydney with my family. Coincidentally there was an epic 100km trail race on the same weekend that I just had to do. The race course took me on trails and to areas in the bush you would not usually go, for that I am grateful. I was particularly touched by the Welcome to Country given at the pre race briefing on behalf of the traditional owners of the land by David King and Auntie May King. (please forgive me if I have got the names wrong)
A highlight of my trip was on the Saturday 17th May as I was approaching Ironpot Ridge the sound clapping sticks echoed through the bush, just as they would have before white man had ever set foot on this great land. There was a Didgerdoo too. Much of the course passes through bush that remains untouched and as you gaze around at the sandstone cliffs you see it as the original custodians would have. I looked at the magnificent trees as Auntie May had instructed the night before and silently said hello from her.
I often wonder why we don’t celebrate Australian Aboriginal culture more. I am fascinated and have great respect for it. I love their affinity for the land and water and their intricate family relationships or kinship system and social structure. For instance you don’t have to have blood to be a brother and there are lots of Auntie’s and Uncles. I am blessed to have a large extended family my Grandparents on both sides were great breeders so I have the benefit of having lots of loving Aunties and Uncles who look out for me.
I am appalled by the living and health standard many now live in as a result of white man’s influence and the lack of progress achieved by subsequent governments. If this event The North Face 100 can bring peoples attention to the beauty of this land and it’s traditional custodians we’re all winners. My feeling from those that attended the pre race briefing was that runners but specifically trail runners do have this appreciation.
That weekend I enjoyed another rare experience. We travelled to Jenolan Caves about an hours drive from Katoomba, I had been here before for another event and I was keen to share it with my family this time. The family were not disappointed to find that we did actually drive through the cave as I had promised. Then after strolling around admiring the various landmarks we wondered down to the blue lake and were amazed to find Platypuses swimming about. Diving down and resurfacing floating for short periods on the surface or swimming a short distance before swimming off again. Amazing.
I am fortunate to have explored many corners of this great land we call Australia, it’s diversity is astounding. I have left my footprints in the fine red Pindan dirt of the Kimberley and walked the squeaky white sand beaches of the South Coast and run along the cliffs on the South Coast inhaling the pure fresh air off the Southern Ocean and traversed the treeless plain called the Nullabor, and walked among the tree tops of the Giant Tingle Trees, experienced it’s Rainforest and much more. But there’s more. I can’t wait for my next experience but I will probably be back at The North Face 100 again, because I can, theres nothing I have found so far quite like it, even with all those steps.
Jodie Oborne, 12 hours, 49 minutes, 10th female, Queenslander, born and bred Western Australian.