After my first attempt a couple of years ago when my little scooter did not make it all the way to Glenbrook I am glad I finally got my hands on that elusive medal at the Glenbrook Marathon.
An early morning driving towards the Blue Mountains (in a car this time) I saw the temperature gauge dropping from already fresh 12 degrees in Botany to a record low of 1 degree near the start line…..I was almost expecting snow….
Heater at full blast, I slowly drove through narrow roads deeper into the National Park, towards Euroka Campground. Car park was already pretty full at 6:45am and some fires were going. I quickly got my race bib and went back into the car for a final snooze and preparation.
I should not have looked at the Elevation Chart last night….I don’t like hilly courses at the best of times and this one looked more like a climb to Everest Base Camp.
I had my gloves, buff and wind jacket with long sleeve t’shirt and long pans, so was well protected for the cold start. After a 2 km loop around the camping ground we soon started our first serious climb towards Mt. Portal look-out. I did not mind this first climb as it helped us all to start getting warmed up. We got all rewarded with a stunning view over Nepean River looking north. And we also got our first run down-hill back to the first check-point.
The next section, from km 7 to km 13 was one of the most beautiful section of the race running through a rather cool rain forest towards the Red Hands Cave. The cave show some of the best of Aboriginal rock art in the area.
We soon hit a fire-trail and started descending towards the next Checkpoint were the 25km racer will turn left towards the finish line. I started the slow climb towards another look-out – Nepean Lookout. Another great view eastwards from Nepean Lookout, we had to turn around and retrace our steps back to the checkpoint. Running without a watch this was the only time I asked for the time; have to admit I was contemplating to cut short my run and join the 35km racer back to the finish but I still felt good and so I took on the next side trip down the rarely seen Pisgah Ridge Fire Trail for a 6 km out and back.
The next section was a slow uphill back to the turn down the Oaks Fire Trail and apart from a step section I ran all the way. Can’t say I enjoyed the last 8 kms downhill on the Oaks Fire Trail followed by a quick trip down Bennetts Ridge Fire Trail, but it helped moving my rather tired legs forwards and finally back into Euroka Clearing for the finish line.
I was actually surprise to finish just under 5 hours and making the qualifying time for the Six Foot Track race next year (not that I really need another medal from that rather hard race).
I knew I did not finish in the top ten of this race; back at the car park I had no problem what so ever to find my car – parked rather lonely under a tree in an almost empty field which was a rather packed car park 6 hours earlier
Now it is preparing for the next challenge, guiding Francois Jacobs, my vision impaired running buddy (we did the 89km Comrades in South Africa and the 2015 Melbourne Coastrek 60km together). Francois will travel to Sydney to prepare for the New York Marathon in November and we will try to better his time in the Sydney Half Marathon….And then watch this space – in October Francois and I have a rather unique and special race up our sleeves.