List of North Face 100 Training Runs 2015

Remember to check the training page on FaceBook regularly for updates, it’s here

Week 1
Saturday 21 March
The HahnMich Manoeuvre 17-34km options

Week 2
Saturday 28 March
TNF100 CP1 to CP2, Shortcut to CP3 then back up Nellies Glen 42km

Week 3
Saturday 4 April
North Face Start to finish via Jamison Valley- 2014 course! 40-44km

Week 4
Sunday 12 April
Canberra Marathon/ Ultra 42/50km

Week 5
Sunday 19 April
Running Wild Mt Solitary Ultra 45km

Week 6
Saturday 25 April
Fatass Hellgate Gorge 45km

Week 7
Saturday 2 May
Inner Harbour Loop 30km

Week 8
Saturday 9 May
Manly Dam 25km


The maps are linked on the FaceBook event (in the ‘get tickets’ section)

List of North Face 100 Training Runs 2014

Remember to check the training page on FaceBook regularly for updates, it’s here

Week 1
Saturday 15 March
The HahnMich Manoeuvre 17-34km options

Week 2
Saturday 22 March
TNF100 CP1 to CP2, Shortcut to CP3 then back up Nellies Glen 42km

Week 3
Saturday 29 March
North Face Start to finish via Jamison Valley- 2014 course! 40-44km

Week 4
Saturday 5 April
Greater Nosh 32km

Week 5
Sunday 13 April
Canberra Marathon/ Ultra 42/50km

Week 6
Saturday 19 April
Fatass Hellgate Gorge 45km

Week 7
Saturday 26 April
Double Coastal Classic/ Mt Solitary 60km/45km

Week 8
Saturday 3 May
Inner Harbour Loop 30km

Week 9
Saturday 10 May
Manly Dam 25km

The maps will be linked on the FaceBook event (in the ‘get tickets’ section) by Friday 21 Feb.

The 4×100 Relay

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a lot of trouble getting excited about running since it’s turned cold. After the North Face 100 I had a brain wave and decided I’d like a new challenge, and that’s when I started working on an event I would call the ‘4×100 Relay’. It consisted of 4x 100km runs, one each weekend for a month. I chose the month of August, and it went  like this-

Week 1- Saturday 3rd August 2013
CONVICTtON- This is a new run devised by Mad Mike (Michael McGrath) along a 50km section of an old convict built road as an out and back. Done as a Fatass/ unsupported run with no support.

Week 2- Saturday 10th August 2013
12 Foot Track– Another Fatass run, another out and back. Yes, it’s ‘only’ about 90km so you’d have to do the City to Surf on Sunday to make up the distance

Week 3- Saturday 17th August 2013
Capital to Coast 100km stage race. This one is 100km over 2 days, so a great ‘warm down’ for the main event which is-

Week 4- Friday 23rd August
Trailwalker Sydney– I did this in 2010 as a walker, and 29.5 hours of walking is pretty difficult. I think it will be much better as a runner!

It didn’t work out- I wanted to use the Poor Mans Comrades as a test, and I failed the test. With 3 weeks recovery after TNF100 I was still feeling it in the legs and realised that it was going to be impossible to do so much running in such a short time. What I’ve only realised today is that I COULD have been a little less ambitious and done 4×100 over 4 months. It would have looked like this

May- The north Face 100
June- Poor Mans Comrades
July- 3 Marathons in 3 Days, Adelaide 12/24 Hour, Kokoda Challenge
August- Trailwalker

So if I’d finished PMC I’d be halfway through my challenge! Oh well. Maybe if we start with Trailwalker we could do something that looks like this-

August- Trailwalker
September- Centennial Park Ultra
October- Hume & Hovell 100/Ned Kelly Chase
November- Great North Walk 100s

I really need to have something to focus on and help me get outside while the weather is chilly, maybe this is it. What about you, will you join me?

UPDATE 9.9.13. I’ve just completed the CONVICTtON (it was rescheduled several times), so we might be on target for ‘Plan B’ after all…….


List of North Face Training runs 2013

Alternative title- Facebook what have you done to my page?

Training page is here-

I agree it’s not easy to find things on that page, so here’s a list of runs you might be looking for-

Run 1- The HahnMich Manouvre, 17km Saturday 16 March

Run 2- All around the Mulberry Bush, 42km Saturday 23 March

Run 3- Bush Bingo, 38km Saturday 30 March

Run 4- EasyBeasts, 25km Saturday 6 April

Run 5- Canberra Marathon, 42.195km Sunday 14 April

Run 6- Fatass Hellgate Gorge, 46km Saturday 20 April

Run 7- Double Coastal Classic, 60km Thursday 25 April (ANZAC Day)

Run 8- Mr D’s Rock around the Block, 30km Saturday 4 May

I’ll add links to download the maps to the Facebook events individually

Making Your Own Energy Gels

Hi, my name is Adam and I’m a sugar addict. I use it before, during and after running. I don’t get the deep lows that stop others from using it during races, so I consider myself to be fairly lucky. One thing I have noticed though, is that the guy in the running store looks at me a bit funny when I come in all the time for my fix, er I mean another box of gels. He looks at me even more strangely when I go through the racks and add to my pile a whole bunch of anything new. Most people have sensitive stomachs but I’m lucky enough that I can eat almost anything during a run. And I like pretty much all of the commercial gels on the market, except SIS- Science in Sport. Oh, you have them? Take a look on the side where it says ‘no simple sugars’. Are you f/ing kidding me? Where were my simple sugars when I needed them going up the side of Mt Solitary a few months ago, buddy? That mistake cost me at least 15 minutes…… but I digress.

I use Endura (Citrus and Raspberry, the grape tastes like some horrible lolly at the bottom of a cheap Christmas bucket)  but have to be careful of the (8mg) caffeine content. And I especially like the Accel Gel Key Lime with protein (tastes like cheesecake, yum!). However in a long race I’ve been finding that it’s a bit of a pain keeping the rubbish from flying out of your pocket. And if I forget to empty my pockets at checkpoints, the sticky rubbish really builds up. So I decided to make my own.

After much internet research I found a good starting recipe here, they even sell an ebook with recipes. But I wanted to start very simple, and wanted something that does not need cooking. I’m pleased to say after a few false starts, I finally have an easy recipe that works. Here are the ingredients-

The 1970’s called, they want their kitchen back

Available from health food shops or over the internet. This is a multiple chained carbohydrate often added to foods for bulk. It is easily digested and provides a runner with longer lasting energy than a simple sugar, and doesn’t ‘bonk’ so badly. I paid $28 for 2kg from a health food shop, but I’ve found out that this money would have bought me 5kg or more if I’d shopped around.

Yep, table salt. I’m sure some people will insist on using Himalayan rock salt, but this isn’t rocket science folks

That stuff that comes out of a tap

Lime Juice
Originally from a lime, this time it came out of a squeezy bottle in my fridge

There’s a rumour that the worlds bee population is collapsing, you should read up on why this will possibly mean the death of all human life on the planet. Or perhaps you can just go to your cupboard and get out the sweet tasting fruits of the stinging insects labour

Brown Sugar
This is where I link to a Rolling Stones song isn’t it? This is my one concession against simplicity- I could have used any other kind of sugar, however this was available and it does have a decent flavour.

Here we go-

280g maltodextrin
1/4 teaspoon salt
100ml water
50ml lime juice
80ml honey
50g brown sugar

Put all the ‘other’ ingredients into a bowl and slowly add the water, while mixing. The mixture will need to be mixed quite a lot and it doesn’t hurt to leave it for a while and come back to attack those lumps. In general, the less water you add the less thin the result will be, but you’ll have to chase more lumps. This makes the equivalent of 16 gels, and I pour the mixture into Endura flasks (bottom of this page).

The Endura flasks each store about 125ml of mixture. If you have a look at this page you’ll see that the average serving size is about 30-45ml, so I’m going to estimate a serving size of 32ml or 4 servings to a flask.

This gives the following specs for each serve-
Maltodextrin (96% carb, 16.05 kj per 1g)
280/16= 17.5 (x 0.96)= 16.8g of carbohydrate
17.5x 16.05=  280 Kj

Honey (27% carb, 12.72 kj per 1g)
80/16= 5 (x 0.27)= 1.35g of carbohydrate
5x 12.72 = 63.6 Kj

Brown Sugar (98% carb, 16.70 kj per 1g)
50/16 = 3.125 (x 0.98) = 3.0625g of carbohydrate
3.125 x 16.70 = 52.2 kj

1/4 teaspoon = 1g
1/16 = 0.0625 g per serving, and sodium accounts for 39.3% of the weight of NaCl
therefor each serving contains 24.6mg Sodium

assuming brown sugar and honey only contribute simple sugars, we then have-
Serving size = 32ml
simple carbs= 4.41g
complex carbs= 16.8g
Total carbs= 21.21g
Total energy= 396 kj

Comparing to the table again here, we find that both the carbohydrate and the energy available from our mix is roughly the same, gram for gram. Our serving size is a little smaller and our energy properties are correspondingly smaller, but definitely within the range we would expect. Sodium figures vary wildly between brands, we can easily change this but I’d have to say from experience the sodium is ‘adequate’.

Home made gel flasks

One of these flasks is not like the other ones


I store these in the freezer. They don’t actually freeze, but I figure they will last a bit longer in there.

I had an unused flask left out of the fridge accidentally for over 2 weeks and it looked fine, so I’ve stopped worrying about whether it will give me some nasty bug. I’m not sure why- I guess it would have something to do with the natural preservative action of the honey, the PH of the mixture or the fact that I use lime juice with preservatives? Who knows a food technologist?

Flavour Options
You could swap the water for coffee- that would give you a small caffeine boost in each sip. One shot or 100mg of caffeine over 16 gels is 6.25 mg per gel, a little less than you’d get in an Endura. Or potentially make this a bit simpler by ditching the honey, brown sugar, water  and lime juice and substituting for a fruit based cordial. I didn’t do this because I didn’t want to re do all the calculations!

Anything else?
Each one of these flasks will help you to run 30-40km, but I usually supplement with something else to break the boredom. I always carry 2 flasks on me, but have one wrapped in a sandwich bag so it can go back in the freezer if not used. I always throw out whatever is left in the used flask at the end of a run. Also, as seen on another site, it’s not recommended to use any protein supplements in these home made gels as they will go off rapidly……

Please let me know if you have success with these ideas, or if you have any new recipes, thanks!

Six Foot Track 2012

When the race was officially cancelled, my first thought was to miss going to the Blue Mountains that weekend and instead go to my best friends son’s birthday in the Southern Highlands. However I figured that since the room and meals were paid for I might as well get some value out of the weekend. Glad I did, because the weekend turned out to be a fantastic time, and also because our car broke down, preventing my wife from going to the 5y olds party……

Shoes before Six Foot Track

We arrived in Katoomba about 2:30pm on Friday, checked in and I had to do a small job for a client, then it was off to the pub. It was at this point that my weekend became a little more challenging. Not mentioning any names, but the conversation went like this-

Michael Hahn ‘I’m doing Six Foot anyway’

Martyn Dawson ‘if you do it I’m doing it’

Me ‘No way, I’m going to run with the club’

One beer later…..

Me ‘I’ll think about it.’

I think you can guess what happened after that. So we went back to the YHA and booked the bus back from Cave’s House at 3pm. Lady behind the counter knew exactly what we were up to, and was a member of the Bush Fire Brigade. She was at pains to tell us that the Vollies would never call off the race no matter how much danger there was. And I replied that I felt the correct decision had been made and I wasn’t looking for anyone to blame- I’d hate to be a race director!

Mere minutes later one of the committee members from our club sat down opposite me and said ‘So you’re running Six Foot tomorrow….’

Our cover was blown- turns out we hadn’t told the YHA lady that it was a secret and she’d asked this person to give us the receipt for the bus trip. D’oh! Luckily he knows how to keep a secret and we agreed that it would be bad if this information got out.

At the Start, sun coming up....

So at 6:44 on Saturday morning someone shouted go and we hit ‘start’ on the Garmin. It was nice not having to elbow people out of the way in the first few hundred metres of fire trail, and the trip (sorry, run) down Nellie’s Glen seemed normal- that is wet but not dangerous. The single track after that was sloshy in places, but much better than I’d expected, I actually managed to keep my shoes mainly dry for about 10km.

It was fantastic running along the fire trail in the first section- sun just coming up, nice crisp air and good company. Until the bastards got me lost. I mean honestly, those 2 guys have more than 10 Six Foot Tracks between them- how could they just let me run blithely up a road and miss a bloody great sign? Anyway, all sorted and a few minutes later we were crossing the first of many stiles.

Up past the blackberry bushes (no fruit this time) through a couple of gates and into the single track beside cox’s river. Wow, what a roar, the river sounds really angry. A few KM later we got to the suspension bridge, and the group who got past when we were lost had beaten us there, so we had quite a wait. I took some pictures, had a snack (bite sized pikelets FTW!) and had a bit of a stretch.

Scary suspension bridge

The bridge is scary. If you’d told me it was 15km and back over the bridge, or 50km to home I would take the non bridge option. Then we ran around to Cox’s campground, took some photos and video, refilled our water and continued on. As you can see in the video here the crossing point that would have the rope stretched across was flowing quite fast, and based on that I’d say you could not guarantee the safety of all runners. I know quite a bit of discussion has been happening online but it’s all armchair speculation- the correct decision was made to call the race off.

As usual, the first water crossing along the road up to Mini Mini Saddle was unavoidable, and a little bit deeper than I’ve seen before. I struggled up Mini Mini which was a bit of a slap in the face after all the hill training I’ve done- and of course this had nothing to do with the beer consumed the previous afternoon….

Regroup at the top and a bite to eat, then off down to Allum Creek. Spotted some trail bikers (well they were hard to miss- the bikes make an incredible racket) they warned us that the creeks were well up, and off we went again. There’s a couple of creek crossings in this section (sorry can’t name them) and true enough they were at knee height rather than normal ankle height. No big problem but they were flowing quite fast, you had to be very careful where to put your feet.

one of the creek crossings- yes I should have removed the phone from bag

Up the Pluviometer I fell into the same sufferfest hole as before, so I just tried to keep my heart rate down and not blow up. This meant that the others got several hundred metres in front by the top, but one of us had developed a groin strain. I was feeling good and pushed on Black Range Rd to the Deviation and waited for the others in the shade. Soon we came upon an unofficial drinks stop for the Berowra Bush Runners, who informed us that there was water at the camp ground just around the corner. The tank was in shade and it was glorious fresh tasting and cool. We met another couple of runners  here and ran with them off and on till the end. After the road crossing I was bitten by some angry wildlife, but the rest was uneventful. Our injured mate was begging us to ‘p@ss off and leave me to die on my own’ which of course we couldn’t do, but with only 3km to go and wanting to try out the steep descents with my new Salomon Speedcross shoes I took off. I figured if he didn’t turn up I could probably have enough energy to go and find his body later. Last year during this section I was in agony- my whole body was rebelling and my quads were on fire. This year I felt in control, happy smashing the descents generally loving the energy that I’d lacked earlier!

Coming down the final footpath/ steps there were a lot of tourists, but I didn’t get too many filthy looks- one little girl asked why I was running so fast. Say that again please kid! Off the steps on to the driveway and about 20 people cheered and clapped! The buggers made me run down to the stop sign though. I took off my shoes and socks and washed them out then gingerly walked up to the cafe to wait for the others.

In they came. Martyn to sore to bend down and remove his shoes, Michael keeps running- he wants to do an extra 4km to make an even 50km for the day. I have extremely high regard for Michael, but he is a crazy as a bag of snakes.

Colin Jeftha, the Six Foot Track Race Director was at the finish, and as soon as he heard that I had video of Cox’s river, he rushed over to have a look. Everybody was reassuring him that he’d made the right decision to cancel the race, but it was obviously a heart wrenching decision for him. One person did ask him about the sinkhole that prevented drink stations being set up, and he replied that the big sinkhole was on one of the access roads, not on the Six Foot Track. He was really pleased and touched that a number of people had chosen to run despite the cancellation. You can imagine that as RD he can’t support those runners publicly, but it was great to see him in a non pressured context. I have previously thought he was a bit of a bastard sometimes, but let’s face it- he’s a guy who is placed under enormous pressure for very little reward simply to provide us with a safe and enjoyable race. I have really changed my mind about Colin, I think he is tough but fair, and I won’t be asking for my money back for the race. I’d still kind of like the shirt though……. And no way do I want to be a Race Director. Ever.

By dinner time word had spread that we had done the run, and here’s the answer to the question we were asked all night-

Why didn’t you take me?

If we’d told anyone, word would have spread like wildfire and everyone would have wanted to go. It would have not only ruined all of Randy’s hard work on a backup plan, but it would have become unworkable. We couldn’t involve any of the committee, we couldn’t ask anyone faster, or slower. Michael, Martyn and I have run hundreds of km together and know each others weaknesses and strengths very well. They weren’t concerned when I was dragging my arse up hills, just as I knew our injured runner would get home because he’s a tough bastard. We couldn’t take any newbies for similar reasons- it’s an extremely tough run which is why it’s so iconic.

How did we go? Well, if we hadn’t been lost, we would have just beaten the sweep. All the extra time we took with photo ops, water stops and waiting for the bridge put us in a bit after 2pm. You can see the Garmin trace here

How could you be so irresponsible and go when the race had been cancelled? Well, the track wasn’t closed, and in fact most of it was in very good condition. I only got muddy in one section of Black Range Rd, all the rest of it was as good if not better than normal conditions. The reason the race was cancelled was concern about getting the worst runner across the river, and being able to set up drinks and first aid. We didn’t cross the river that way, and we were completely self supported. Here’s another reason we were a bit slow- this is a list of all of the stuff I carried on the day- remember this is just me, the others had lots of gear too-

  • 2l water
  • 2x 600ml sports drink
  • 9x sports gels
  • 4x muesli bars
  • 3x packets of Gu chomps
  • first aid kit
  • compression bandage
  • rain jacket
  • long sleeved shirt
  • space blanket
  • compeeds (2 packets/ different sizes)
  • Panadol
  • Ventolin
  • sports tape
  • mobile with GPs in waterproof bag
  • spare socks
  • money


Shoes after Six Foot Track

And it was great to party with everyone at the hotel Gearin on Saturday night. For such a healthy bunch, you guys really enjoy your booze!

Survey Results



I’ll report here the results of the survey we ran for people using the North Face 100 Training course, and a little analysis……. final column is how many responses for each category (we had exactly 30 responses in total, most popular answers are bold)

1. Which category below includes your age?

6.7% 2
50.0% 15
33.3% 10
6.7% 2
60 or older
3.3% 1

Not much to draw from this, except it looks like young people have too much sense to enter this event…….

2. Are you male or female?

66.7% 20
33.3% 10

….and women are smarter than men


3. How many years have you been running?

Less than 1 year
10.0% 3
1-2 Years
26.7% 8
3-4 Years
20.0% 6
5 or more years
43.3% 13

A good spread of experience here, with about half of people with 1-4 years of running, and lots with 5 or more years. 3 People with less than 1 year of running and doing the North Face 100- I admire your guts, please don’t die.


4. How many Half Marathons have you completed?

23.3% 7
20.0% 6
23.3% 7
10.0% 3
More than 5
23.3% 7

Wow, a really even spread here. I’m hoping that the 3 people with less than a year running experience don’t also feature in the ‘no half marathons’ category. Or if they do, it’s because they’ve been doing Maras and Ultras. I’ve only done one proper half, so I shouldn’t worry too much!

5. How many Marathons have you completed?

36.7% 11
16.7% 5
26.7% 8
3.3% 1
More than 5
16.7% 5

OK, so 36% of us have never done a marathon. Well, a 100km race is very different to a marathon- you don’t have to try as hard, you just have to try for longer………. I’ve done 3 road marathons and one bush, so middle of the road for me here.

6. How many short Ultra Marathons have you completed (43-99km)?

53.3% 16
13.3% 4
26.7% 8
3-5 0.0% 0
More than 5
6.7% 2

My Answer here would be 3. This question isn’t as interesting because there aren’t a lot of races in this category. I’ll just say that 10 of you are pretty hardcore.

7. How many long Ultra Marathons have you completed (100km+)?

70.0% 21
16.7% 5
6.7% 2
3-5 0.0% 0
More than 5
6.7% 2

Looks like there’s 2 people we need to help with training! A full 70% of us have never undertaken a task like TNF100. You’re about to have some amazing experiences, and loads of people will be happy to help. You will be bowled over by the support some people will give you, and welcome to our special club of nutbags. My answer here would be 1- I’ve also done Trailwalker, but not as a runner.

8. How about your trail running experience?

3.3% 1
I’ve done a couple of events
46.7% 14
I’m fairly experienced on the trails
43.3% 13
I’m the running version of Bear Grylls- I only come out of the bush when I’m sick of eating bark
6.7% 2

Nothing beats getting out there and gaining experience, and it looks like a couple of these people can show you how to make a cubby house inside a horse. Nice.

9. What is your goal time for completing the North Face 100?

Just to finish
13.3% 4
Under 24 hours
6.7% 2
Under 20 hours
30.0% 9
Under 18 hours
10.0% 3
Under 16 hours
6.7% 2
Under 15 hours
10.0% 3
Under 14 hours
23.3% 7
I heard Killian is coming back. He’d better watch out for me 0.0% 0


Looks like everyone has pretty attainable goals. If you get to a reasonable level of fitness and don’t spend too much time in checkpoints you should beat 20 hours. You should be able to walk the course and beat the cutoff. But don’t be fooled- each hour towards a sub 14 is going to cost you dearly. It’s going to cost you many extra hours training and planning. Let’s see how close we can get together.

Based on these answers I’ve asked a couple of people who are currently trying for a sub 14 hour result to come on board and help out- I can’t help with this as I’m unlikely to make that time this year. Any comments you have are welcome either here or on the FaceBook page HERE


Oxfam Trailwalker

Somehow a customer (and all round good guy- hi Alan!) convinced me that I should join him in the Oxfam Trailwalker this year. So I’m asking the subscribers on this list to please reach into your pockets and sponsor us. It would only take a couple of dollars from each of you to reach out target.

And if you think reaching into your wallet for your credit card is hard, consider this- I’ve just given up Sunday morning sleep-ins for the next 6 months! We’ve done stage 1 of the walk, and this will be way harder than the Half Marathon I’m also training for. It’s 100km through the bush in less than 48 hours.

Please consider a small donation for all the good work that Oxfam achieve..

General Trailwalker information here

Info about the 4 teams Alan has organised here

Donation page here