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Via Francigena

19 Mar

A trail run that takes me 2,200kms from the UK to Rome with a backpack. Plenty of reasons (well, 3 really… Sal, Rosie and Charlie…) why I have had to wait till now.

vf map walk

A 5 kg backpack (if I can get everything I need for 6 weeks into that!), 4 countries, one pair of Hoka shoes…..  and no support.
From Canterbury in the UK to Rome, Italy, the Via Francigina is an historic Pilgrim route on trails and small roads. I’ll be carrying a “Pilgrim Passport” with me to have stamped in different villages and identify me as a pilgrim… (access to some accommodation when I can’t be bothered pitching my tent)
The plan is to not get lost, think Google Translate will work, not be miserable when wet, cold and tired… and move a bit… for a while, carrying everything on my back.
The mini Run 4 Tomorrow from Ottawa to New York was more fun than Dan, Linda, Dave, Malcolm, Bill and myself ever imagined, but the huge logistics for a world run has slowed down the start date till next year. That gives me time to get something big of my bucket list, starting around May 1st and hopefully ending up in Rome mid June.
I have turned into a gear geek, getting advice from Whippet and Roger and weighing my fleecy.  Talking to guys about GPS coordinates,Way points and data?… (not comfortable with what I just wrote…)
I’m anything but religious. I will NOT find God…. but, when I die, I want to know I’ve checked off some beautiful trails, lived life and never settled for boredom.
At 53, my fitness is good… but nothing lasts forever. For 26 years I have been bringing up 3 awesome people, so after leaving Rosie to finish her 4th year of Medicine, and Charlie doing Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, I’ll visit Sal in New York with her new husband and then run Boston in late April with Pete. Hopefully closure after the bombings last year.
So, what do I get after I have run through the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy? I will land in St Peter’s Square…. for a stamp :) Yes. A stamp.

……and hopefully raise more money for Bear Cottage in the process…

Chest pain and getting fit before the big run…..

15 Mar

Getting chest pain in a New York taxi on my way to JFK airport last November was something I would have liked to ignore. I had run a marathon every day for the last week with no issues, however, with my brother dying from heart disease in his 40′s, I was going to do the right thing and have it investigated…. at some stage. Maybe after Coast 2 Kosci in December. I just won’t tell anyone about the chest pain. How stupid. Anyway, I told the race medic the morning we started 240km run, just not my crew.

To cut a long story short, in January, I ended up having a CT Angio. Here is a pretty picture of my heart. :)photo(12)

Yes, that belongs to me. Calcium score ZERO. Yay.  F^** family history. As they say, heart disease runs in my family, but then again, nobody runs.

I also had a mammogram, but I won’t show you a picture of that….. and I went to the Dentist. I even had a spot cut out of my shoulder. I’m ticking all those things off before I escape for a few months.

After my achilles tear in December, I stopped running for 6 weeks. It took patience. Knowing I had bigger fish to fry this year, nothing was going to keep me injured. I walked, swam, did my exercises. I didn’t want to be the person that complains about an injury but continues to run.

Getting a sub 4 hour marathon in Tokyo, running another marathon the next week and then 6ft Track with an 8 kg backpack the next week has given me the confidence to get out and tackle something long in Europe after I return to Boston next month. Boston. I am sure it will be an incredibly emotional time for all involved. Running the last 8kms with the Race Director, Dave McGillivray late October was a very special moment for me and has given me an even more do or die attitude.Hence my next adventure.

When I go, I want nothing left in my tank.

C2K 2013

18 Dec

December 2013 was to be my 5th and final Coast 2 Kosciuszko. A trek of just over 240kms from the sand in Eden at Twofold Bay to the snow on the top of the highest mountain in Australia.
The weekend is always full of emotion and love for all my like minded friends that make the journey down south for that weekend in December, whether they be crew, volunteers or runners. Paul Every and Diane Weaver, the RD’s have made this my favourite few days of the year. Just awesome.
So, on Wednesday morning, my crewgirl from last year, Sarah-Jane drove across Sydney in a Ford Territory packed with everything we could possibly need. With her Dad (ex Wallaby Captain and father of one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met) passing away at 65 back in September, she’d had a tough year. We were going to have a good trip. She picked up me and Pete (husband who had never witnessed the pilgrimage to the Strezleki monument on top of our highest mountain..)
Adam, my wingman from last year and the real thinker behind my mental state at times was my last necessary accessory.
Driving down via Kiama, we found Blue Dog and Hully in convoy, carrying their runners from the USA, Alex and Frank. A pleasure to meet them and get to know them over lunch and then dinner that night. They are on a mission to run to the top of the highest mountains on each continent.
Thursday was spent doing the major food shop, relaxing and then witnessing SJ (Sarah Jane) donning a swimming costume for the first time in 4 years to run Cossie to Coast. This was a major intervention with her shaking like it was the most horrifying thing she’d ever done. She didn’t have the guts to do it last year and I’m pretty stoked that she’d finally cracked that hurdle.
Dinner, race briefing and catching up with old friends and generally getting nervous was on the menu pre race night. Back to the cabin to tape my feet and sleep.

Friday wake up at 4am. Dressed, cereal eaten and in the car at 4:50am for the start at 5:30am. I just love the start. 50 runners all milling around like old beaten race horses… checking each other out. It’s the emotion in Paul that gets me. I managed to get him at his finest moment for the best hug of the weekend. Splashing around in the water on that beach….. Paul, you make this race special and the memories for what it means to you live on with every runner.

1460218_10152119981213792_1546017979_n5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. GO! Oh shit. Who was the idiot that forgot to get a satellite on her Garmin? Bloody hell….. an extra 500 metres before I get a satelite may just kill me at 239kms….

I had hoped to spend some of my Friday with Kirrily and Joe but that never happened. I did have the pleasure of my mate Andy who had told me on Thursday that he wanted to run with me. Happy days. Running with mates is 100% better than an ipod. We hadn’t run together since our 700km run across the Kimberleys in June and I think he just likes me to make him look “big” ;)


Fortunately for me, we spent some time with Matt, his lack of foot wear (huaraches) and tatts…. gave me a better visual than Andy’s red lycra… He had a genki crew and good fun was had by all.

Big Jack

By the bottom of Big Jack, Matt had gone ahead :( and I was with Andy and our crews. We walked “with a purpose” up that fu#^*r of a hill and passed a few wanderers.

Up the top of that 7km climb I checked my feet for rubble and ditched a few stones. Put the same injinji socks and shoes back on… that was at around 60 kms. I didn’t even take my shoes off, let alone change socks for the rest of the run. Over 240kms in one pair of shoes and no sock change. My feet felt great the whole run.

Next landmark was the Cathcart shop at 70kms where I had made good time and was rewarded with a mango Weis Ice Cream. Whoop de do. The things that you get excited about. Another 30kms to the dead tree… For some crazy reason, the tree is famous for being dead. Situated at the 102km mark, it’s existence is only important to a bunch of runners and their crew on a Friday in December.

1497654_10152119966528792_1774935452_nLast year I had changed into night gear here, but I was quicker this year and wanted to stay running while the weather was good and it was still light. I managed to get through the next checkpoint at the intersection of Snowy River Way (106kms) and was thinking less than a marathon to Dalgetty. It soon was dusk and I could enjoy the company of my crew running with me and not just Andy.

With just a niggle in my ankle that I was trying to ignore, I dealt with sleep monsters and it was a welcome relief to have Adam helping me through this section. Last year poor Adam had me heaving and “oh, dear”ing. I was going to behave this year… best chuck in a random swear word every once in a while just to make him realise I’m ok.. Andy and I were both very quiet. I did manage to appreciate the night sky and a few shooting stars which I managed to wish on.

Getting to Dalgetty is always welcome. Human contact. Always lovely to see Andy Hewat, Race Medic and one of my favourite runners on the planet. He’s seen me in a bad way at GNW 100 miler. I felt good apart from my ankle. I ate some cereal at Dalgetty (148kms) and soldiered on with Pete keeeping me company.  The bottom of Beloka Range is the 161km  or the 100 mile mark. I was pushing to get 100 miles done in less than 24 hours and got there in 23:26. Pretty happy with that. The climb up Beloka wasn’t as bad as some years. Dawn appeared over the other side towards Jindabyne. Seriously beautiful part of the world.

1466056_10152119965178792_452902003_nI was worried about Andy. He was very quiet. Very unusual. He wasn’t happy. There were some really lovely runnable sections after Beloka Range but he didn’t seem to think they were “lovely” or “runnable”. It was warming up and I was happy to know I’d be in Jindabyne by 9am. (9am was also the time all 3 of my support crew needed to be within range to get on their phones to enter 6 ft Track Marathon.) I sent them all on and told them I’d be fine until they could catch me on the other side of Jindabyne. Andy was running with his crewman, Ian, and Mike and his car would be waiting at the Jindabyne Caravan Park Checkpoint (184kms). I arrived there a few minutes after 9am and waited for Andy. He arrived, sat in a chair, said not a word, and put his head in his hands. Things were not good. I spoke with Mike and told him I was going on. Andy needed some treatment and I couldn’t wait. It was a good decision for me and Andy in hindsight with what happened after Jindabyne. My ankle was swollen and hurting but I couldn’t see any point in strapping and messing with my shoes. I just wanted to get to Charlotte Pass and get up to the top in daylight. As one of my very first crew said to me 5 years earlier, the race doesn’t start till Jindy…. you think it’s almost over, but that climb from Thredbo River to the highest point in Australia is brutal.

I left Jindy alone. I would have loved to finish with Andy but he was hurting. He’s a great mate, but my job wasn’t to support him.  I had a run to finish and he had a good support crew to help him. My crew drove past and jumped out. They had all managed to enter 6ft! Pete had a coffee for me and toasted Sandwich…  all I wanted to do was poo…. the busiest section of road and I wanted to poo. I yelled out for sunscreen, lip balm and water and told them to hold off on the coffee and sambo for a few minutes… there was a big dead brown snake right there and I had to hold off the urge to squat….. great. Sarah Jane was more excited about doing the climb with me than my toileting.

1475851_496894030418282_154790979_nAnyway…. ;) Got to Thredbo River (190kms) and washed my hands ;) got my coffee that really just tasted of fatty cream and tried to choke down a bit of the toasted sandwich. My appetite was gone. I knew the last 50kms well and made a big effort to swallow whatever I could to keep me fueled. I passed 5 people on that climb up to Charlotte Pass. Managing 6.5kms/hr was as good as it got. It’s one mother of a climb. I’d been moving for 29hours. and sleep deprived. ankle hurting. just a bit. The winner would have finished. I didn’t want to think about that. I needed to focus on the people behind and knowing that they were doing it tougher. The runnable sections had me doing some weird shuffle as my left ankle just wouldn’t bend. It hurt like hell. My legs and feet felt great. Just one ankle….that looked like this a few hours later…..1470141_10202201964667158_1339987527_n

I reached Charlotte Pass around 3pm to the news that anyone not getting to Charlotte Pass by 4:30pm would have their race cut short and have to finish there without the 18km pilgrimage to the top of the mountain and down again. Some would be gutted. Some would be very relieved.

The snow up the top was brutal. It was a beautiful day and I was going to get to the top of Australia in daylight. How to traverse the snow with over 200 kms in the legs was testing. Hokas were the only shoe choice. Could I get back down in daylight as well?

1441375_633500276706923_548238339_n I could understand the decision to stop runners being up there at night and the safety issues the snow delivered. It would have been difficult to retrieve an injured runner if they fell down the snowy slope, which with nightfall would have been icy.  It could have been well over 6 hours of hell in the dark.

Adam had been doing the numbers game at the top. Probably been doing it for hours. He knew I wanted to do 38 hours. His maths at the top told me I could have a 37 something. So that was the race down the mountain. 37:59 …. I would have been ecstatic. But I could move faster than that. Anything to get me off the mountain before I spewed. I was retching the whole way down. Adam and Pete ignored it apart from telling me to drink… yeah, it’d come up pretty quick. SJ stayed right beside me, the little legend.


So just after 7pm, in daylight, in 37hours and 43mins… I finished. Smashed 2 hours off my previous best time. Not a drop of vomit. Big hugs from Paul and Diane and Andy H. and a champagne handed to me from Robyn Basman!

1483837_428208480635882_1005271937_oI managed to choke down the champagne and lasted maybe 2 kms in the car before I left it on the road just near Guthrie Creek….

The wildlife on the road as dusk approached was amazing. I can see why the roadkill we smelt was continual. Kangaroos and  wallabys everywhere and not a hallucination in sight.

Next first was getting back to the hotel in time to order pizza. Didn’t feel like eating or drinking but had a celebratory drink after a decent shower. Nice to be clean. Somehow, I managed to toss and turn and get little sleep but enough to enjoy the festivities of the breakfast and presentation the next morning.

980390_606083466106710_1524987597_oPaul was reminded that he called me “Bombproof” last year after C2K and with Boston marathon fresh in my mind, I thanked him for being right.

I now have a partial tear in my Achilles and am recovering by eating and drinking over Christmas :)

To my most amazing crew that looked after me so well and helped me achieve a result better than I had imagined, thankyou. I said 5 hat pins would do me, but there is one more hole in my Akubra…….

Run 4 Tomorrow mini… Ottawa to NYC

28 Nov

The Team

Malcolm Anderson: Head honcho. Brains behind Run 4 Tomorrow. The ideas man. Kiwi… lives in Canada. Happy to tell Bill to do everything.
Bill Bronsema: Tech geek. Works for IBM but just as good as a bouncer up at Kings Cross. Lives in Ottawa. Shame he had no time to help me with my 200 lumen “lamp”, state of the art Garmin, vision impaired map reading, Spot tracker,  and Minus 5 degrees wardrobe. He did admit to nearly running over me. (yes, really)… but he did help me with the videos and photos below. Thanks buddy. Great guy to have on the team… I think? But seriously, the BEST bodyguard I could ask for.
Dan Marinsik: From the USA, but can’t hold that against him. Only person to complete 10 consecutive Badwater 135 Finishes. After having an acoustic neuroma removed, he now states he has selective hearing… for a reason, seems to be the only guy that you can’t swear at. He also kinda likes to snarl at people ;) All round top bloke.
Yolanda Holder, Walks it in 5:45 consistently. Prefers to communicate electronically via FB than talking to idiots….and there were a few of us….
Dave Major: Pom, geographically challenged (or maybe just liked making me run up hills?) loves a run, loves a beer more. Linda is the love of his life but apparently Dave sleeps on the couch with “Stella” two night’s a beer…
Linda Major: Mum of the team, always looking out for others. Makes me look like a total selfish sheila…. Poor girl is married to Dave ;)
Me… well, when I’m up against 2 Poms, two Canadians and two from the USA, I just puff myself up to be the big guy and soldier on. Taking the crap that’s dealt and flinging it back was the recipe for the run. I think I kept the humour and managed major DOMS of the smile muscles. :)

Ottawa to New York… The MINI run..

Freezing conditions greeted us on Saturday 26th October for the start of our run to New York. We were all to run a continual marathon relay. 5 runners running a distance of 42kms each, until we hit NYC.
Start R4T
Leaving from Ottawa, our first runner was quickly re-routed through roadworks and streets that we couldn’t drive along. We had issues trying to spot her along the road dressed all in black. Mental note for all of us to wear reflective vest in built up areas, night and rain. From the start she didn’t carry any food or water with her… by 20kms and on trail she was cold, hungry and thirsty. We didn’t realise she was carrying NOTHING! (until she asked for stuff) This was going to be an interesting week. Reading people’s minds and keeping the humour….

I was the second runner. My 42kms started just as it became dark. Head torch on, wet, cold and trail. Wooo hoooo!! It was pretty lonely out there but I was happy to get this thing started. Questioning the safety of dark trail in a foreign country didn’t enter my mind until I spotted an animal the size of a vicious fisher cat run up a tree….. ok, so maybe it wasn’t a fisher cat…. bigger than a possum, longer and almost weaselish? Looked grey in colour.. Temps were below zero, it was raining/sleeting and incredibly dark. Probably not somewhere I would send my kids to run at night. Bill was crewing and started to drive to a road intersection and run back to meet me. Was comforting to see his head torch coming towards me once I realised it was him…. When the other support vehicle arrived, I had run 22kms. Bill decided to run with me (thank God) What I thought was going to be a 5 km section became a lot longer. After around 10kms, I was thirsty and worried that the van had driven off course. We couldn’t get through to them on the radio and soldiered on desperate to stay warm and moving. The sound of thousands of geese taking off and doing a fly past scared the crap out of me until I realised what it was… It wasn’t until the 39km mark, thirsty and some 17 kms later that we were back in contact. I sculled a litre of water and ran down the track to finish my 42.2kms. Tagged Dave and wished him “wet” as he started his first 42.2. Wet and freezing cold, I wondered how I was ever going to get warm in the car. Malcolm said he was taking me, Linda and Yolanda back to a hotel… yes. Time to dry out :)
The next morning after sleeping with the Tri Nations (Linda, Yolanda and yours truly) Malcolm rewarded us with a food fix at Tim Horton’s. We then drove to meet up with the boys. Dan was just finishing his run and Linda was going to take over and run us into Montreal and beyond.

After sitting in the car for 14 hrs through Quebec and struggling with ordering Subway in French…. I started my second marathon at 10:30 pm on the Sunday to get to the Canada/ USA border 19 kms away at Aird between Quebec and Vermont. Goodbye Canada…. or that’s what I thought at half past midnight. I was running well until we hit the boom gate. The boys (Bill, Dave and Dan) were sitting in the car waiting to get through when I arrived. Waiting. Bill said he saw a sign 50 metres back, so I went to see what it said. Border opens at 9am…….. and closes at midnight. Shit. It was 12:30am. I wasn’t going to wait 8 1/2 hrs to be let through. “Pause Garmin”

Border Fail
I jumped in the back of the car and quickly became cold and nauseous. I’ll blame Bill’s driving, but I think it was more from being cold, hypothermic and in wet gear. I looked bad enough that Dave gave me the front seat and I cranked up the heat. Drove to another Customs control 40kms away. It was open and decorated with a power hungry Yank with a very small appendage. He asked us what we were doing in the USA and I told him we were running to New York. With a Canadian, American, troublesome POM and an annoying Aussie sheila in the car I commented that I didn’t think he believed us.. he, with small appendage said it was his job not to believe us. Dave (POM) was taken inside for more than an hour to pay his $6 waiver.
Welcome to the USA… arsehole…… Out of border control an hour and a half later, I was pushed out of the car to have a spew…. and finish my run.
Cold and praying to the porcelain gods for the next freaking hilly 23 kms I finished in just under 5 hrs. I was rewarded with a hotel room with 3 men and a huge spa. The spa wasn’t used, the gas station next door was Dave’s saviour selling beer. For me it was a banana, cheerio cereal and yoghurt. Yes, it was my night sleeping with the Tri Nations… ;)
With no midazolam on board, I’m a little concerned about how sketchy I am on the next day. It’s taken me 3 days to remember. My boy buddies and I had to drive to meet the girls and Malcolm…. somewhere in Vermont. We’d left Dan in the hotel to sleep at 2am and I’d start running. Another night run…..

Starting at 3:30am on Tuesday morning, my 3rd marathon was absolute gold. Car temp said Minus 5C and with wind chill, I hate to think… Starting in Vermont with Bill and Dave in the van was not the best combo.. I don’t know if they were taking the piss or whether they really were crap navigators but telling me to go left up a hill and then turning me around to go right four or five times was just nasty (ok, it was only three times, but still…). Having frozen fingers and not able to flip them the bird became quite distressing. So did having a frozen face and not being capable of being the potty mouth I’m famous for… so hard to speak/yell in sub zero land. No worries, they got off on hurling abuse at some poor “lady” running past chairlifts and telling her she was NOT running up ski slopes (I have proof with my spot tracker fellas) Dartmouth skiway south of Lyme.

Even though it was pitch black, the stars and the atmosphere between the 3 of us was like I’ve never experienced. I was wide awake, running in sub zero and laughing like a hyena. The perfect buddies laughing through radios as I ran past bears and vicious dogs. Somehow, no matter how much he wanted to, Bill managed to not drive over me… something he admitted to almost doing in his sleep deprived state. A seriously beautiful run. The sun came up and I finished my run somewhere in New Hampshire. Sub 5 hours … no matter how many times they sent me up a hill, I refused to go over 5 hours :)

Dave and Jane

Grafton Pond
Time to crew and watch Dave run. Rather enjoyed yelling expletives out the car. :) Unfortunately for me, the road was pretty obvious and there were never any navigational issues… maybe it was my map reading skills? The other car met up with us as Dave was running. Dan and his diet of 8 Gu’s and Honey waffles was next. A very sleep deprived Malcolm was kitted up in a skirt. I’ll leave that one alone….


So it was again our turn to stop moving. Dave, Bill and yours truly drove on in the direction of Boston and found ourselves in Chelmsford… looking for somewhere for lunch…Ninety Nine Restaurant. As long as there was beer for Dave and Bill, wine for me all is good in this world. Something about these guys brings back memories of all the shit my big brother used to put on me. It was like Tim was watching over me from whatever heaven you believe in…. and prompting these guys on how to push my buttons. Smile muscles hurt more than my quads. So, sometime around 11pm, Bill and I leave the hotel, Dave staying to welcome the ladies.
We catch up with the others and soon I’m out there again on my way to Hopkinton. The road was dangerous, Bill was driving like a security guard. Holding up cars as I ran in the dark, I kept yelling through the radio to go ahead as I was concerned about cars behind him overtaking and having a head on with cars coming in the opposite direction. For some reason he thought he was bigger and tougher than me and basically told me to piss off. He was in charge and he can do whatever the hell he likes…. Even the Police car that stopped him and asked what he was doing stalking a runner was happy with him… Next video is running into Hopkinton …..Bill says it’s Boston, but it’s actually 42.2 kms from Boston ;)

I arrived in Hopkinton before sunrise. We sat in a “gas” station and I fell asleep waiting for car #2 to arrive so we could finally meet up with Kathy at 9am…
Found a coffee shop and bought a bagel… (Good move. I was about to run another 42 kms to get to Boston…)
Freezing cold and raining, we met Kathy. The others arrived an hour later and we started our run from the start line in Hopkinton. 42 kms to Boston. Last time I was here was just before the bombing in April. This may get emotional. Cold, wet and tired after being up all night, I ventured out with my virgin marathoner Bill, Dave and Linda. Best company ever.

Boston Runners
We had stuff to do along the way. Called into Marathon Sports in Wellesley and realised that all I’d had to eat and drink was a bagel and 500mls water for the last 40kms. I bought and sculled a gatorade as I still had 22 kms to get to Boston and there was word that Dave Mc Gillivray, Boston Marathon Race Director, was meeting us 7 kms before the finish… and running with us! I felt like shit. Luckily I wasn’t the only one. We did a fair bit of walking to make sure that we didn’t get there cold and wet before anyone else and having to wait for Dave. Then we heard that we’d have to hoof it to get to him as he was already there! So, on Comm Ave, 7 kms before the finish of that fateful day in April this year, I ran with Dave Mc Gillivray. He has been the Race Director of the most prestigous marathon in the world for many years. and I had to run the last 7 kms of over 60 kms I’d run that day with him. Fresh. Me. Not so.

Jane and Dave
He was inspiring. A sub 2:30 marathoner. He ran Boston as a bandit the first year he ran it. G.O.L.D. :) He asked me about what we did when the bombs went off. He wanted to know about my experience. As we ran, I showed him where we were stopped… we then turned into Hereford St and onto Boylston. There was a serious tightening in my chest. I couldn’t talk. He was awesome. He showed me where the bombs went off, what shops had only recently just opened and helped me through a tough run to that famous finish line. So 2 official Boston Finishes (’04 and ’08), one predicted finish time (April ’13) and now a bandit run (Oct ’13) I’m all fired up now for Boston April 2014….
So tired, emotional blah, blah… Then Bill got video..

We warmed up inside Marathon Sports with Shane. What a great guy, cool shop.
The lovely Kathy was at the finish to greet us. One of those people you don’t meet every day.
How do we get out of Boston? Obama is there, the Red Socks are playing in the World Series Final and we decide to be in Boston…. like now??
Super supportive of what we were doing, Kathy was happy to drive us all the way back to Hopkinton so we could get our van and some rest further south along the route.
It was now Bill’s turn to sleep with the Tri Nations taking Linda, Yolanda and myself to some hotel in Massachusetts and dinner at TGIF’s. I was craving salad and wine. I got both.
Don’t know how much sleep we got, but being horizontal and showered was a great feeling.
The next morning, after trying to find Dan, Dave and Malcolm (they weren’t where they said they were….) we got a Maccas coffee and found them.
At some stage that day we left Massachusetts and entered Connecticut. Halloween. I was looking forward to running through the beautifully sounding “New Haven” on Thanksgiving night. It wasn’t quite what I expected.
There were no kids in the streets. It was only about 8pm when I ran into the outskirts of the town, but it smelt unsafe. One woman pulling a cart wanted to know why I was out there… running. There were people lurking, walking aimlessly and generally looking for trouble. Bodyguard Bill wouldn’t leave more than 20 ft between me and the car. The rain was the least of my problems. I could hear some woman screaming and hoped it was some Halloween prank but knew it wasn’t. At one stage I had to run up a one way street that meant the car couldn’t. I was fine with that…. they could meet me 100 metres up at the intersection. Bill wasn’t fine with that. “Pause Garmin” a few times that night….
I was ok until I started thinking of someone taking a pot shot at some midget running through what I found out was one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the USA.
Just as I reached the other side of town, Malcolm rang wondering if I should pull the pin and abort the rest of my run for safety concerns… “pause Garmin” team meeting. I was cold and wet and wanting to get the last 14kms done. In the pouring rain I ran as fast as I could to get that run finished. No less than 6 cars drove up beside me to tell me I was being followed….. very glad that I had Bill stalking me that night….
My fastest run so far… 4:33
Found the boys in a hotel. Wet, cold and tired it was shower and bed… Food was a bit of hit and miss. Being still and horizontal was more important. Slept like a baby before our final day running  into NYC!
Wow. We’d done it. It nearly all unraveled last night, but we’d just kept it together. Jumped in the car and hit the Big Apple. Dave was given the privilege of running into Central Park and we all wanted to catch him beforehand. We met up with my Pete and Sam Griffen outside the Museum of Contemporary Art and waited for Dave in Central Park.

Made it to NYC
So, lunch time on Friday, we all ran the last 200 metres of what was the most enjoyable week I have ever had with 6 strangers.
With Dave’s help we found the closest bar for a well earned drink and planned our next day meeting up with Mary Wittenburg, NYC marathon Race Director. How cool is that! She was incredibly supportive of what we were doing and we all received VIP status. That meant police escort out to Statten Island before the race, VIP tent and breakfast meant no hanging out in the cold and another warm tent at the finish.

Jane and Mary
Pete and I decided to hang back to start in Wave 4 with Bill and Dan. Bill was doing his first official marathon (his unofficial was a few days earlier in Boston!) I thought he’d need all the help with pacing that he could get….
We started on the top tier of the Verrazano Bridge (I’d run on the bottom tier in 2001) and were greeted with strong winds. The amount of running gear we could have picked up would have made a pretty penny in some second hand running shop…
By about 18 kms, I had the uncomfortable feeling that the marathon virgin was going to whip my arse… best let him go and hope he crashed and burned..
My plan was always to do around 4:15/4:20… Keeping it pretty consistent, I managed to cross the finish in 4:15. Happy with a 250km week behind me and a hamstring that had pretty much behaved.
We found Bill just after the finish. He’d whipped me… by 4 minutes. I’ll get him in Boston next year.
Off to the VIP tent and waited for Dan, Dave and Linda. All of them finishing off a great week with a sub 5 hr run each.

We caught the subway to The Australian Pub where we were unaware they had put on two free kegs for the runners… of which we were basically it. Plenty of Bud Light to share. Malcolm and Lori met us there and a good night was had by all.
Pretty emotional night to see so many great friends that I hadn’t met 10 days before. I have never laughed as much as I did on the trip. Life long mates.

My favourite Hokas of all time.

5 Sep

So, I haven’t posted since Boston. That’s just slack. I need to write up about 700 kms through the Kimberleys… but that will be long.
What won’t take as long is letting a few in on why I did so well (3rd) at GNW 100 miler last year.
Rapa Nuis are back! Last year Hoka had the perfect size 7.5 as a prototype for one lucky person :)
Rapa Nui
The day after those 175kms of trail and my feet are ready to dance.
Fast forward 10 months and we have Rapa shoes.
So, they say the Rapa Nui Trail shoe is for blokes? Never fear ladies, I’ll let you in on my secret… the Kailua Trail is the same shoe but now in sexy girlie colours. Best. Shoe. Ever.
Take a look at these sweet babes…
They landed on my doorstep the day before Oxfam 100km started. I wore them for 100kms the next day. Didn’t take them off until we crossed the line in 11th place out of 550 teams. Not one blister. Impressed much? My teammate Adam did the same. New Hokas bought the day
… and I ran a sub 4:15 marathon the next day in Mudgee. No blisters.
So, Kailua Tarmac for Sydney marathon in two weeks. Kailua trail for Glenbrook marathon the week after…. back into Kailua Tarmac for Western Sydney marathon the next week and back into trails for Fitzroy Falls the week later… nothing like rotating your shoes :)
Decisions. What to wear for Ottawa to New York?

Boston Marathon 2013

23 Apr

Monday April 15, 2013
Patriot’s Day in Boston

Pete and I left our hotel room in Copley Square to walk down Boylston St to meet our mate John. Like the other times I’ve run in Boston, John has managed to get me on to the first VIP bus with past winners. This year was no exception and I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Fultz winner from 1976. We enter the VIP tent with John and keep warm till the police are ready to escort our bus 42 kms to Hopkinton, the start of the Boston marathon.
While most runners are out in the cold in Hopkinton, we had the warmth of the school gym while we waited for our start.
Us with John waiting for the start.

Pete and I were assigned to different corrals for the start, so I went back from Wave 3, 3rd corral to the 6th… which now, in hindsight could have been a godsend. The first corral of Wave 3 was due to start running at 10:40am, corral 6, some time later.
I had given Pete a charity entry to run the marathon for Christmas and the plan was to run the whole 26.2 miles with him…. my long suffering husband. By 13 miles, he was suffering. Was he dehydrated, sapped of all energy, suffering from ITB, possibly gone out too fast? Yes folks, all of the above. I had reminded him a few times that 5 min k’s is not a great idea…..
He was hurting.
We had friends out on the course, first Bill and his sign for us at the halfway mark, then Debbie just a bit further on in Wellesley.
Photo taken by Debbie at the half way point.

It was great to have some locals we knew cheering from the sidelines.
As Pete suffered I managed to hug a Bernese Mountain Dog, Hi 5 the crowd and generally enjoy the day. Just up the top of Heartbreak Hill we saw Bill again and I knew that the rest of the run was pretty much downhill.
John had mentioned that the Citgo sign at around 25 miles tells the runners that they are so close to the finish… Not even seeing that sign made Pete smile. We passed the “1 Mile to go” sign. Running along Commonwealth Ave we were passed by Police motorbikes… Heaps of them. I was a little concerned as I knew they weren’t escorting us as “winners” to the finish line… then the ambos. Lots of ambulances.
A minute later we were stopped in our tracks. 500 metres from the finish line just before we make the right onto Hereford St and then the last left onto Boylston St and the finish line.
Standing around, Pete looked pale, felt sick and had to sit down before he fainted. He was freezing cold and generally looked like shit.
The runners were very calm at first, we heard that there had been an explosion. All those with mobile phones were madly dialling to try to get through to friends at the finish. There were very few able to connect. The news got worse. Some were crying with worry, major confusion and no official giving us info or direction on what to do.
We were in running gear and cold, we were getting snippets of info. This was bad. Somehow, we found John behind us and we decided to get out of the area….. To where?
Poppy (John’s daughter) gave Pete her jacket and we started to walk. John and Poppy decided to drive back to Cambridge and we thought the best thing would be to get back to our hotel….. Yeah, right. We walked towards Boston Common past blood on the pavement, the smell of explosives in the air and the hint of fear in the police. We asked one policeman if we could get through to the Marriott when an announcement out of his radio informed him that there was to be a ” controlled” explosion in 60 seconds. He told us pretty simply that we needed to get outta there. 60 seconds later, there was an explosion.
We kept walking towards Boston Common and then right into Berkeley St to what would be a lot further past the finish line. Starbucks! We were freezing. We had been handed space blankets but the wind was a shocker. Fortunately Pete had a bit of cash and his phone. Our daughter Sal rang from Sydney. How she managed to get through when they were suspending all cellphone coverage in fear of more bombs going off, I have no idea. Great to know that family knew we were safe and together. Coffee and a warm spot to sit for a while… Lots of grit in my eyes. Listened to a guy next to us who was right in the thick of it. He was crying and traumatized and we started to put the enormity of it together.
Next minute, the police evacuated Starbucks… Out into the cold. No warm gear as we couldn’t get to our drop bags which were in the VIP tent at the finish line. Other runners were able to collect theirs out of the school buses lined up further away from the finish area.
We decided to try to get to the Marriott on the other side of the finish. The area was shut off. We were freezing, confused and had buckleys chance of getting into the hotel as it was being evacuated as we tried to approach it. We found a bar…. with only enough money for one drink….
We were freezing. (Have I told you we were cold?) We walked into the bar and the footage on the TV was horrific. I had tears streaming down my face.
How many times had Pete told me to keep going? Maybe the smartest decision I’ve made in a long time was to stay together. We had gone through the 30 km in 2:55 before Pete started to take walking breaks. I may have finished before the tragedy but then we would never have managed to find each other afterwards. I had no phone, hotel key was in my dropbag, no cash, no credit card… BUT, I had my husband. What if Debbie or Bill had been waiting and watching at the finish line?? Thinking about what could have happened makes me sick.
So we had our one drink. Had to move away from two very loud local guys who were actually happy about being evacuated and having to leave work. Not enough $ for a second round, Pete asked the staff if we could give them our visa card # expiry date and ccv # so we could buy some food. We were the only people in the bar in running gear…pretty obvious that we weren’t trying to rip them off? They refused. He put all his cash together to buy me another wine. (amazing what a crying woman can get) It left him with $1.
A young guy came up and gave me 3 marathon t-shirts that I think he’d been given when the Marathon Sports window blew out in the bomb. Another guy gave us some gu. We really must have looked quite desperate.
Two young girls in their 20′s came and talked to us. Molly and Caroline. Molly had been involved in the Boston Marathon marketing until a year or two ago and Caroline was an ER doctor at the Children’s hospital. Molly was really upset by everything that had gone on and Caroline was waiting to be called into the hospital. They were absolute angels.
They made us sit with them and asked what they could do for us. Pete pulled the $1 out of his pocket and begged for a beer. I really wish I had video of that…. So, they gave us beer, wine and food. The most wonderful two people you could ever wish to meet. Generous, warm and caring to two cold, old, sad runners. They wouldn’t allow us to leave without them coming back to make sure we could get into our hotel room, otherwise they were taking two very cold, smelly, penniless old runners back to their place.
Yes, we did look quite desperate…just looked at the photo ;) with Molly and Caroline which was taken when we managed to get through the back entrance of the Marriott around 8pm. The space blanket isn’t quite as stylish as the Skirt Sports gear underneath….
The next day, after very little sleep we ventured out to the closed off streets to try to get our drop bags. It was a war zone.
Photo of the Marriott foyer the morning after.
Cameras, police, bomb squad and yellow tape everywhere. Tents of post race food, Gatorade, bananas and rolls stocked like the race hadn’t finished…
I had no phone or Internet from before the race till Thursday. Pete had email contact but I really sort of shut down. I’m still exhausted. The TV coverage over here has been continuous. How those guys could kill an 8-year-old kid waiting for his dad to finish a marathon makes me sick. I told Pete what I’d like to do to these guys… maybe not what you people want to hear. The dead one got off easy. These two cowards have changed the lives of so many people witness to this and also to sports events worldwide. Arseholes.
So, what good comes out of this after so much despair and devastation?
I have a family that will always be first and foremost in my life. A marathoner lost his 8-year-old son, his 6-year-old daughter has lost a leg and her brother. His wife has sacrificed a child and has some brain injury and a daughter that can’t walk down the aisle at her wedding like ours will in September . The marathoner dad must have the world on his shoulders … What should have been a proud moment has been violated and turned into the most painful day in his life.

Run For Tomorrow

13 Feb

I have been asked for more info on what I’ve been invited to be part of!
All this info is from the website. I’m pretty stoked to be one of the 10 runners.
“r4t is a continuous relay run around the world by a 10-person team of experienced distance runners. The 10 runners will complete the 26.2 mile distance and then give the scroll (baton) to the next runner, who runs the next 26.2 miles, and passes the scroll to the next core runner and so on. The scroll never stops moving. Each day, the team will cover approximately 120 miles as the runners continuously pass the ‘Commitment Scroll’ to one another (through night and day).
For all the info have a look at

“The R4T ‘Big Run’ is scheduled to begin in April 2014, in Ottawa, Canada, and returns to Ottawa several months later. The runners will run through southern Ontario, Canada and the United States. We head to Toronto from Ottawa, and move our way down to the US border at Windsor. We enter the United States via Detroit before heading to Los Angeles via Chicago, Kansas and Denver. From there we head up to Vancouver via San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, and then we head to NZ and Australia and Southeast Asia. We run through India and fly over to run through South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. We then fly up to southern Europe and run through numerous European countries before heading into the United Kingdom. We return to the US via New York, and head to Boston and Montreal before returning to Ottawa, 32 countries and 360 million people later, as well as having a new Guinness World Record for a relay run!!!

C2K 2012

28 Dec

It has come to be tradition in the Trumper house that Christmas stays on the back burner until after the first Friday in December, plus a few days.. It is also tradition for Charlie, my son to receive a prize at Speech Day… and for 4 years I have missed it to do this crazy race. I’d had a bad cold, temperature and bad cough for the last 10 days. Was I going to be well enough to run?
I didn’t want to let my crew down.
Crew start of 2012 C2K
I had my running mate Adam who I met “online” as “Kaos” a couple of years ago. He’d offered me a lift up to Mt Solitary 45km ultra but warned that there were finger nails embedded in his dash board. My girls were horrified and made me text his Rego plate when I got in his car….. fast forward to this year and we have done some great runs together. Enough for me to ask him to pace me for the last 75 kms of Great North Walk (175 kms of tough hilly trail)
GNW 2013 Patonga
So, he knows my highs and lows pretty well from that…. and I like his wife. He farts, but apart from that, he’s a pretty cool dude and knows when to encourage and when to just shut up. He knew I wasn’t well and I was confident that he would have severe words with me if he was concerned about any serious health issues.
Next on my crew was Sarah Jane, my competition for the happiest runner. Every time I had been at a run with her we’d had a great time. I asked her to crew at the CP Ultra in September and she’d said yes before I’d finished the question …always happy, positive and full of beans.
She also had the organisation skills of a hardened C2K crew member with EVERY box ticked. The sort of person that just makes you happy to be alive.
My third crew member was a guy called Ron. We were lucky enough to have some great training runs together on the GNW before we ran the 100 miler in November. Nice guy. Walks on water…
Relaxed, pleasant chatter and I could happily run with him for 100kms or so before I got bored ;) He’d told me that if I knew anyone that needed crew at C2K to let them know he was interested…. as I had 3 crew already I let another runner know…. silly them didn’t take up the offer and when my third crew member had to pull out with some trying times with her partner’s health issues,(fortunately all good now) I grabbed him. 3 awesome crew, none of them had seen C2K before and really didn’t know each other. Recipe for disaster? Nah, fresh enthusiastic awesomeness. Hey, I’d run this 3 times now, they can just listen to orders, right?
I was prepared to journey down to Eden on the Wednesday and make my mind up on the Thursday afternoon if I was well enough to run. In the back of my mind I knew I should be a DNS. I’d rather not start than be a DNF. My crew were quiet, they were happy with whatever decision I made… supportive, but aware that it needed to be my decision. By Thursday I was definitely improving and took a cup of concrete and decided to get on the start line and see what happens.
Friday came and we were all in high spirits as we congregated on the sand at Twofold Bay. What were the next 240 plus kms going to be like? I had decided to wear my “lucky” dress. I’d started and finished the Simpson Desert in this dress and wore it again for luck at GNW and done close to a 4 hour PB. Had it run out of luck?
The countdown came and we were off.
I do love the first 24kms to Towamba playing leap frog with Jan as he powers up the hills and then we all overtake him on the downs. (He’s the big tall dude in white striding out next to me in that photo) He must have passed me around 6 times before I was ahead and didn’t see him again. Ran a bit with some old mates including Roger, my #1 wingman from the last two years… reckon he knew all my secrets after crewing for me for two years.

Met Kerrie from Qld. Smart girl that one. She ran a great race, hanging back early on then powering through the field. The first meeting place with crews was at 24kms. Last year my crew had decided I’d be there around 8.30am, 10 mins after I had arrived… my crew this year decided the same :) I ran past all the other crews swearing that my crew were useless (just wanted to give the crews something to talk about, it was going to be a long day….)
I had my pack on and needed nothing.. but it was nice when they finally decided to show :)
The rules this year had changed and we couldn’t have our crew run with us until sunset, so Friday was going to be hard for them, squashed in a car for the day. Fortunately I had hooked up with my mate Kieron by the marathon mark and we had plenty to talk about and enjoyed having some company. We ran the 56 kms to the bottom of Big Jack Mountain where we met our crews. This was the only 7kms of hill our crew could walk with us until sunset and it was a welcome distraction from the slug ahead. Kieron’s crew of Joe, Emma and Lise had pretty much teamed up with mine and were all having a ball.
Kieron's and my crew
Looked like Kieron and I would have to run together for a bit longer to keep our crews bonding :) ….. which we did.
Pretty sad to pass Chilliman spewing what I could only describe as 5 litres of orange gatorade. Kieron and I continued to run together until the dead tree at 103kms where I scoffed down a cup of noodles. I was on a mission to put as much as possible in my mouth. Small but often. I had been in enough ultras to witness other runners plans go to the pack by not putting in enough fuel. Today was not the day to worry about too many calories…. quite the oppposite.
The dead tree
It wasn’t long after the dead tree that I had picked up Adam at the next checkpoint at 8.30pm and we were running on bitumen. I had felt pretty good during the day but the night air had me coughing consistently. The coughing had me retching…. consistently. Poor Adam. He had waited all day to go for a run and all he got was a few downhill runs and a lot of heaving and walking from me and hardly any conversation. I don’t think he’d ever seen me not upbeat…. except for a few kms around the 165km mark near the end of GNW.
Just get me to Dalgetty in one piece. My words for the night were a boring “oh dear….” Never had I been sick enough to not put a few four lettered words together. I had thought more than once that it would have been a good idea if I hadn’t started…. I was tired and thought that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew with not being 100% healthy. I knew my fitness was pretty good after finishing GNW in a PB of 31:43. The chest infection was a bigger issue.
Dalgetty…. I felt like shit. I had to eat, I wanted to sleep. Sapped of energy, I put my head on the table and had a good talk to myself. I could walk the rest of the way… all 100kms of it and finish…. the thought of being out there for another 22hours?
Shit no.
Notice how there is a lack of photos around now??
I’ll stick a nice happy shot that is obviously NOT from about now….330036_10151326712495853_1996906379_o
Get up and get out of the chair. It was Ron’s turn to run. We started off ok, but after nearly 10kms I couldn’t understand what he was saying and wanted a seat in the car. Just give me 10 mins. I jumped in to the back seat (Adam and Sarah were attempting to sleep in the front) and put my head down.
12 minutes later I got out of the car and felt so much better. It was getting light and Ron and I were off again to find the bottom of Buloka Range and the 100 mile mark. Walking up the hill Rhian (Medic) drove past and asked how I was…. what a stuid f#@^ing question to ask someone who has been moving for 24hours and going up the steepest hill of the whole race. I gave him an earful, so he obviously knew I still had enough energy for a bit of verbal abuse ;) This was the time I also passed Lisa. A much better runner than me, sitting on the guard rail on a steep section. “She’s a tough bugger, she’ll finish” I thought.
The top of the range and there was some nice running down to Jindabyne. My feet were hurting. Should have kept to my Hoka Bondi B’s like last year, where I was still able to run at the 210km mark near Perisher.
It was getting hot. There was some guy running into Jindy with me and Ron… a bearded guy that had crewed for some guy in the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne years ago. My feet hurt… I wasn’t really interested in talking. Jindabyne… the start of one huge bastard of a hill.
I popped a few blisters when we got to the caravan park. Then my feet REALLY hurt… but at least they could fit in my shoes.
Sarah Jane had the pleasure of my miserable company for the trek up to Thredbo River. It was hot. I was there a few hours before the cutoff. As long as I didn’t collapse I was going to get a hat pin. Really? A hat pin??
I’d mentioned a spray water bottle to Sarah a few days before we left Sydney, she’d organised it and I enjoyed getting sprayed. I hadn’t seen the sweeps since early in the race and was comfortable knowing that Rod and Rob’s jokes were behind me and I didn’t expect to see them again. Two great guys…. giving the what I thought about 8 or 9 people behind me grief… This really is the only race that you want everyone to finish. The entry criteria is so tough that all the competitors deserve to finish. I had no idea what was happening behind me.
Like last year, I hadn’t been passed by anyone since the 50km mark before Big Jack …. and that was Peter Bennett….again. I was pretty happy knowing that I wasn’t dropping off pace any more than anyone else.
There’s nothing nice about passing someone doing it tough. … Don’t know when I passed Trevor Allen but it wasn’t as memorable as passing him last year as he did his zombie walk down the hill to Jindabyne.
I passed Arnie at Perisher and then enjoyed seeing the awesomeness of fast guys driving down the mountain…. especially Michael West. What a great guy. Had a good chat with him as I bullshitted my way into looking happy walking up a hill and he shone like a gold star in the front seat of a comfy car…. Great guy… just like Ewan. Love the humbleness that these fast guys have. Then there was my mate Rob Mason… Mr Happy and why not with such a gorgeous wife?
Getting to Charlotte Pass gives me a sense of fullfillment…
Start of the climb to the top
It’s the first time in 220kms that you have a minute with Paul and Diane. I don’t know how these guys do it but they seem to make every runner feel like they are the only person on the planet when you get to the start of what can only be described as a pilgrimage … 9 kms up to the top of Australia and then the torturous 9km trek back down to the finish.
This race is about the people. Not just the runners, but the crew support given to us all. Kevin and John had gone back up to the snow drift to cut stairs and peg rope to keep it safe.
Snow at the top
I held it together until about 4 kms from the finish. I was totally stuffed. Adam threatened to carry me (which I knew was mechanical aid …. so I was still functioning mentally….well sort of… The finish is always a bit of a blurr…. a drunken memory of fullfillment… I think. Lots of love, hugs and a bunch of caring people. Diane giving me sweet black tea that came up so nicely when I got to the hotel back at Jindy ;) Shower… wet hair… bed.
Sunday….What could be better than having Mick Donges serve you breakfast…. what a God like creature…. :) So, that set the day up right? Seriously the best day in the year.
Surrounded by my crew and fellow runners and their crews… nothing beats the presentation. This race is the pinacle… it is Christmas… December wouldn’t be the same without it.
To have Paul call me “bomb proof”…. probably really meant I was an idiot to start the race unwell…. but I’ll take it as a compliment :) Farewells on Sunday are for those silly enough not to hang for another night…. and then dinner with the stayers.
To Paul and Diane, I love this race. Thankyou for making it so special.
To my crew, Adam, Sarah Jane and Ron, thankyou for a fabulous weekend, all your help to get me through what was the toughest race I have finished. There were plenty of times I had wished I hadn’t started, but now I am just so glad I did. When is enough enough?

My 100th Marathon. Sydney. September 16th.

19 Nov

So it’s just a number. My 100th marathon was really all about being surrounded by so many great running friends and my family. One of my great running buddies, Keith Hong, had arranged special bibs for people to run with, drinks at the finish and made my day special. Before the day I was really looking forward to doing marathon #101 and moving past all the hype, but when September 16 came, it was just like going to a big party. I had never not finished a marathon and even thought it could be kinda fun to make today the day….. fall over just before the finish line? I did feel I’d hit 100 a while ago with some of the “unofficial” marathons like Great Ocean Road (45kms) and 6Ft Track (45kms)
I was a member of North America’s 100 marathon club ages ago as they count all ultras like Coast To Kosciuszko (250kms) as a marathon!
I had decided that it would be more fun to be one of the official pacers and run around with a flag encouraging runners than trying to get a good time. What a great decision. The pressure was off and all I had to concentrate on was keeping each kilometre split evenly paced. I ran as the official 4:30 pacer with Duncan and had a ball. Lots of runners on our bus and off our bus…. It was great to encourage others. Last time I’d run around 4.20 in Sydney for the marathon, it involved stopping off for a beer in Oxford St at 10 am with Blue Dog, so 4:30 should be easy ;)

Photo taken by mate Marcus Warner in Centennial Park.
There were plenty of friends running and the out and back sections gave me time to see lots of mates. With daughter Sal doing the 21kms, I had her better half, Todd, running with me in his first marathon, Pete my husband, mates like Richo all made for a special day. The last km to the finish was lined with so many friends. It was like my own wedding reception line…..
So, what’s next? My crazy mate Ray is up to around 150 marathons and has already talked about wanting a lot more. I blame him for some of my craziness… including running my 1st 100 miler with him. I don’t know what’s next. I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. One of my kids asked me the other day “When was the last time you went away for a night that didn’t involve a run?” I don’t know the answer…. I can’t remember.
I think I’m looking more towards a few more outback adventures which may slightly slow down my marathon count. I need to mix it up a bit and hell knows at 51, maybe I might start to enjoy crochet?…. doubt it though… ;)

Great North Walk 100 miler (176kms of torturous fun…)

19 Nov


Wow, what a weekend. After a few months of solid training with some great mates, the weekend went well for most of us. Huge congrats to Beth and Brendan, two of the most humble legends in the game.
Drove up with Andy Bowen and grabbed some lunch before checking into Warners and repacking CP bags. I had decided this year to make the most of running mate Adam (Kaos) pacing after the state I have ended up in the last two years. Surely I could get a third finishers medal and make it 3 out of 5 GNW 100 milers? As the evil RD mentioned in the Race Briefing, this is the only event I have ever DNF’d. This race is tough with over 20,000ft of elevation.
The weather was perfect, the race start as laid back as the RD. Photo of me and Gordi at the relaxed start.

I had looked at Marg Chu’s splits from last year and had a wish to keep the momentum she had last year for my goal. If I could finish around 33hours I’d be a happy camper. I planned to get to CP 1 at 28.6 kms by 10.30am (4hrs 30 mins) and ran in with Kirrily after hooking up just after Heatons Gap. Best decision of the day. Talk about hooking up!
Out of CP 2 by 2pm and Basin by 8pm which could have been a disaster after Paul Every popped over with a Chardy for me…
Training on the course made navigation much easier and I knew Kirrily and I wouldn’t get lost.
We got to the 100km finish in under 17 hours and wondered what had happened to Ray as John (support) was nowhere to be seen at Yarramalong….. :( I picked up my pacer, Adam and keeping Kirrily with me made for a great night’s running… just needed one more bit of fun…..Sat in a chair next to some young thing and heckled him to come with the old bag until he got up and came with us….. Michael Hardie, you are made of tough stuff. We left Michael on the road after Ourimbah Creek and hoped he’d not pull out at Somersby. So happy to see he finished. The Dead Horse Creek section was tough. We lost the trail for a wild 5 mins or so. Very happy to have not been on my own. Adam had the maps on his Garmin and came in handy!
All was going well and I was pretty excited to leave Somersby still with my head torch! Wow… happy to have got so far in the night! All I needed to concentrate on was keeping the food down. Eat.
The last CP at Mooney Mooney was a welcome sight and I just wanted to get onto the last section and not look back. With my sunnies and visor in the Somersby bag which I didn’t think about (being dark) Emma (Mrs Joey) donned me in her stuff and I was on my merry way. I was grateful to have Adam with us as I kept questioning the trail. I had trained on this section but the tired mind was playing games and some sections did not look familiar.
It wasn’t until after Mt Wondabyne that I started to want to sit down. Past the tip and Adam, Kirrily and myself cracked open my coke. It was heating up. The kilometres from around 165 to 172 were ugly. There was not much talk happening and we all just silently plugged away …. slowly. That section was nasty. Once across the road and onto the single track I was excited and started to trot. Glad I couldn’t see Kirrily’s face. We were going to finish well and it was time to just get it over and done with.
The last sign to Patonga and back on trail, I grabbed Kirrily and told her we’d done it. I think she was wanting quiet time to reflect… and I wrecked her special time. There was something fabulous about how we’d stayed together without any plan to do so. Back near CP 2 I had mentioned how cool it would be to have a like minded runner to share the weekend. We hit the beach and seriously joked about pushing each other into the water…. just couldn’t be bothered. We both hit that silly little sign that means so much to those that attempt this race with 31:43 on the clock. Better race than I could ever have imagined. 3rd Female over the line… A podium finish!! Huge thanks to both Kirrily and Adam for the most fun you can have in this event. Happy, happy.
Injuries… not one blister. A black eye from a stupid fall between Cp1 and 2. and 2 Leech bites… need to rub Gurney Goo around my ankles next time, not just my feet. Leeches don’t like the stuff.
Very excited to try the 2013 Hoka Rapa Nui Trail shoe. They made me go fast! :)
I’d had some great training runs with a bunch of awesome people and it appears we had luck on our side. Joe, Ron, Rob, Allison (woo hooo!!) and Mike in the miler, Kieron and Sarah Jane in the 100km all successful finishers
Very happy to see Whippet continue his run, what a gentleman. Spud, Tall Geoff and Nikolay, awesome results.
My man of the day was Damien Smith… 3rd place, no pacer and not from Sydney.
Gutsy efforts from Gordi and Ridler. Mr Determination Luis told me when I passed him before the Basin that he was pulling out….that tablespoon of concrete and another 100kms to run…. Huge congrats for getting to the finish!
Disappointed for Ray and Bill, I really hope they both front up next year. It’s bad enough not having Blue Dog run but loved seeing him at the finish.


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