FFFTM- Fitzroy Falls Fire Trails Marathon

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We turned up nice and early for this, my wife intending to do the 10km race and me fearfully contemplating the marathon. After my success of 2 weeks ago, I was underdone, with a poor diet, too much booze, mentally unfit and had a touch of man flu. I said to my wife ‘look at all the old buggers’ and there were lots- I didn’t realise they’d all come for the early start- this race has a fairly tough cutoff of 5:30, so if you didn’t think you could make that you could do the early start. That’s a term of affection by the way- I can only hope to have the kind of energy at that age that these people have.

At 8am we were off, and within the first km had waded through 2 creeks, eliminating my carefully applied leech repellent. But my mind was on something else- survival. I felt like rubbish, and within the first 4km I was reduced to walking. Should I have started with the coffin dodgers? All sorts of bad thoughts going around in my head, but I remembered the talk from Amelia Burton last week- ‘find 3 or 4 words to keep you going, and repeat them as a mantra until you either believe it, or you’re so bored you forget about the pain’ -That’s what she said, isn’t it? Anyway, my mind came up with ‘strong, talented and perseverance’ Where did the ‘talent’ come from? Or was it my subconscious having a laugh at me, subconsciously? I repeated those words to myself for a while, and bloody hell, it worked! Although I’ll have to admit it was probably seeing Michael McGrath and having a long chat with him that also got me out of the slump. He’s great to talk to, but I had to have a ‘bush stop’ and he carried on, looking strong.
Next thing some fairly serious looking campaigners came along and I introduced myself to Jeff and Martin. They were looking for a Six Foot Track qualifier and thus needed to beat 5 hours. I figured I could do a lot worse than stick with them for a while, and we had a good chat about the worlds problems. Just after an out and back section I started to feel better, and ran from about 22-28km by myself. At this point the lack of preparation started to show, and the marathon madness settled in a bit early, I normally get it between 32-35km. Although for some reason at the 30km mark I chose to push a ute out of the mud and up a fire trail by myself. I should have used the energy to run, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. At about 32km I had a lovely chat to Geoff and Jocie Evison, sorry for not remembering our talk after the Coastal Classic, I’m lucky I remembered my name after that one. I had to let them go at about 36km as they were pumping out the km’s and making it look easy, but not for me! From there on it was just a matter of counting down the km markers until we ran through those creek crossings again, then a sharp incredibly muddy uphill to the finish. My time of 4:50:00 was better than expected for a bad day, my only hope if conditions had been good was sub 4:30 and I definitely think that is achievable so I’m quite happy with the result. Also I knew I couldn’t completely trash myself as I needed to drive home, shower and go to Parramatta to DJ at a mate’s fight night. It wouldn’t look good to fall asleep drooling while guys were punching the stuffing out of each other. By the way Jeff and Martin finished in 4:57 and got their qualifier. I saw them later at McDonalds…….then about 60km from home I thought ‘what on earth is that disgusting smell?’ Yes readers, it was me. Luckily my wife was in a different car, she’d been on holidays and met me at the race. And to those who were surprised that I turned up to training on Monday night- I’d forgotten to stretch after the race and was quite sore. An easy 5km on Monday night actually made me feel a lot better!
Should you consider doing this run? It’s pretty flat for a bush run- the Sydney Marathon is about 200m of elevation, FFFTM is 800m, Six Foot Track is 1600m, and it’s a recognised marathon distance. So yes, it’s beautiful, challenging and small which are all things I like. And as you cross the finish line you get a token for a burger which I’m told are awesome- I couldn’t stay for mine unfortunately.
And compared to this lady I didn’t have such a difficult day, however she got something better than a T-shirt to take home-
http://www.smh.com.au/world/the-longest-day-of-my-life-runner-gives-birth-just-hours-after-marathon-20111011-1li18.html
This was a great example of the running talent in the club, with a couple of our guys in the top 10!

Position	 Name 		Time
6	Ian Gallagher             3:02:45
10 	Martin Pengilly           3:11:59
21      Nick Wienholt             3:30:04
34 	Keith Hong                3:42:12
42 	Kieron Blackmore          3:50:18
98	Michael McGrath           4:31:23
107	Jocie Evison              4:43:50
108	Geoff Evison              4:43:51
117	Adam Connor               4:50:00
118   Ray Goddard                 4:50:48
126   Jefferson Taylor            4:57:34
127   Martin Newcombe             4:57:34
132   Jane Trumper                5:09:04