Race Results 2011

Beyond the Black Stump 35km (fatass)

Six Foot Track 6:15

Canberra Marathon 3:55:00

Mt Solitary 45km 8:37

The North Face 100km 18:39

Gold Coast Marathon 4:08

Willy to Billy 34km 3:42

Coastal Classic 30km 3:39

Trek for Timor 50km 6:25

Fitzroy Falls Marathon 4:50:00

FFFTM- Fitzroy Falls Fire Trails Marathon

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-
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

Trek For Timor 2011

Trek For Timor is a 50km event put on every 2 years in Kangaroo Valley to raise funds for the Remexio area south of Dili in East Timor. They raise funds to provide solar powered lighting to houses, which improves local life as it means not all tasks need to be completed during daylight, and helps save money on fossil fuels. Each unit to provide light to one house costs $160 and every cent goes to the lights. Staff even pay their own airfares to Timor, and top up the commission that Paypal removes with their own money.

After a terrifyingly warm day on Friday, a cool change came through and set us up for a 14-18 degree run through Kangaroo Valley. Perfect running weather, a little cool, no hot sun, and it was only raining a little bit. My team mate and I, Jeff Duncan, stayed at a friends pub in Sutton Forest, waking up at 4.30am -only a few hours after the pub had shut.
A quick breakfast and it’s in the car to the start, at McPhails Trail. There’s no starting gun, you turn up, register and when you’re ready to leave your time is recorded and off you go! We were told that due to National Parks burning off, the event had been reduced by about 4km to around 46km from the original 50km. When we left, our vollie (Volunteer) asked us what time to record, and Jeff said 6:18am, he was out by 2 minutes but I figured if it was important that I could bring up the fact that I was wearing a Garmin that gets its time from a satellite.
….And then 100m from the start is the first major climb. It’s very steep, and according to the map only flattens out after about 6.5km. However we did get to run some flats and it wasn’t as bad as it first looked. A couple of stinging nettles in the legs reminded me I was alive, and some beautiful views including an abandoned farmhouse  Checkpoint 1 @ 13km was at Fitzroy Falls visitors centre, we had passed all of the walkers in the first hour, so I was very curious to hear about who was in front of us. We were told there was a team about 10 minutes in front, which raised my long dormant (previously non existent) competitive instinct. I knew they had to have started before us as no one had passed us, and I also knew they couldn’t have started before 6am, so we were either faster than them, or marginally slower. The trails around here are full of leaf litter and sticks and not well travelled, unlike other trails where the ground is packed hard and you just have to deal with rocks. I mention this because just after CP1 I managed to shoot a large stick into my leg, slashing it open nicely. Jeff said I was just opening up a vein to attract the leeches, which wasn’t very funny as I have a thing about leeches…….. I also seemed to have an uncanny ability to kick up small rocks directly into my ankles, which hurts more than childbirth. I should know, I’m a man. An interesting diversion about halfway to Checkpoint 2 we came across some signs asking us to guess song names, and sure enough every couple of hundred meters was a display relating to a well known song. it was kind of nice to realise my brain was still working. This is where we came upon the team in front- they had 2 female runners and a guy who was carrying a pack big enough for a tent, bbq, and provisions for the night. I had a bit of a look and decided that if we got in front, we probably didn’t need to worry about them catching up. I know, famous last words…….
(that’s mist, not smoke- although we did have some smoke and flames later, left over from the burn off)
I was silent for the next few hundred metres (unusual, I know) and then blurted out ‘I don’t care what happens from here on in, but I will go to my grave knowing that I’ve  been in 1st place in an ultra marathon. Once.’
When we arrived at Checkpoint 2 @27km, they offered us soup, but I figured that this was going to mean boiling the water, getting the soup, waiting for the noodles to soften, waiting for it to cool enough to eat etc. And I knew we weren’t that far ahead of the other team, so we couldn’t relax. Lucky, as we heard the vollies clapping them in just as we headed off!
We arrived at the last checkpoint (Jack’s Corner at 37km) to be told that Parks had given the go ahead for us to use the full course, so we were back up to a 50km event. They had home made muffins! I snarfed down a chocolate and raspberry one which made my day. I was a little fearful here, as the extra distance could allow the others to grind us down, and as we were in front we had no idea how far back they were, but they knew approximately where we were. As usual, the marathon madness settled in- that point about 34-36km where you just don’t want to go on. Your body screams at you to stop, and instead of yelling out ‘victory or death!’ your body would happily settle for death. With only 12km to go it became an internal battle rather than one with another team. For the last 10km there were markers each km, and at 42.2km I pointed to a white road marker and said ‘there you go Jeff, that’s the marathon done!’ I swear I saw him kissing the ‘5km to go’ marker- I would have done it too if I’d had the energy. It’s surprising how long you can go with a little marathon shuffle, the hills don’t look so bad, and I only had to stop when my heart rate got a bit high. The final k’s were made a little easier by seeing so many kangaroos- inquisitive creatures, and by then I could have really used some of their leg strength! I told Jeff not to get too close to the roos as they can eviscerate you quite easily and he turned to me, looked exasperated and said ‘is there anything in the Australian bush that WON’T kill you?’. He has a point. Jeff was the most brilliant team mate during this time, he walked when I walked, ran when I ran and didn’t scream ‘Schnell Schnell!’ even once. No matter, I couldn’t have replied ‘jawohl, herr kommissar‘ anyway.
Yes, mixing my Russian and German, you don’t think anybody will notice, do you? A bit confused at the end, we went through a gate and up towards a school at Glengarry where there were huge banners for a mountain bike race. Were we in the right place? Yes, but the finish was up another mild rise (see, I didn’t say the ‘Hill’ word). Shouts of ‘Go Adam!’ from down the hill (I mean rise) and it turns out there is (I think) Ann Powell off on another crazy mountain bike adventure. Ann, you know those things are dangerous don’t you? Actually I’m pretty sure that’s why she does it…..
So we finished in 6:21 by my Garmin, official time 6:25, but because of the staggered start didn’t know whether we would get handicap honours as well as line honours. The other team, Zahra & Laura (their porter was not an official runner) came in about 15 minutes later and revealed that one of them had sprained an ankle in the first 100m, so if they’d been healthy they probably could have knocked us off! That’s a stunning achievement with an injured team mate. Their total time of 6:43 made us the overall winners! I almost cried with happiness, it was a very emotional moment for me.
Now let me be brutally honest here- I reckon way more than 50% of the club members are faster than me, and only 16 runners were registered. So we only had to beat 5 or 6 teams, it doesn’t make me the next Killian Jornet. But it does make me a very happy old bloke.
Jeff asked me how I would feel on Sunday and I replied ‘I’ll probably have trouble walking, but every time I get a muscle twinge I’m going to remember we won, and laugh my arse off’. I posted on Facebook that I felt like Charlie Sheen as I was ‘winning’ and ‘full of win’ and my kind friends reminded me that I didn’t have a house full of rented ladies, briefcase full of cocaine and a multi million dollar salary. Or tigers blood. Pretty sure I’m not going to get those things running, but I feel like I got a much better deal than Charlie. Now I’m off to write an ebook to make my fortune. It’s called ‘How to go from the bottom 50% of the running pack (Coastal Classic) to winning an ultra marathon in 2 weeks’ So far it’s not a very long book, it just says ‘make sure nobody faster than you signs up’.
Thank you NRG for helping me to achieve something I never thought was possible. Particularly Steve Bruggeman, who puts up with the groans every time he tells us what tonights special torture has in store. Honestly Steve, those swear words come out all by themselves. Every one of you helps me every week, whether you’re out in front making me want to do better, or up the back with me trying to do better! Well, that was my moment of glory, and I enjoyed it a lot, thanks  NRG!
*And special thanks to photographer Ian Watson, who provided these photos*

Coastal Classic 2011- Otford to Bundeena

Well, I think that one was harder than Willy to Billy- and it was 4km shorter! This is seriously off road trail running, and I believe a bunch of you have done it in training for 6ft. You truly are a tough bunch. Well the contrasts were exceptional- amazing picture postcard views offset by gnarly roots, head hunting tree limbs, sharp drops, black foot sucking mud, brutal climbs and grass that rips your skin. I felt like I’d been out for a big night with Max Mosley (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8305628/Max-Mosley-speaks-about-his-interest-in-sado-masochism.html) after that!
Have a look at the video done by runner Nick Wienholt and his wife Linda
(Nick saw a snake out on the trail a couple of weeks before the race too)

As far as I know there were only 4 NRG’ers at this race

Martin Pengilly (16th overall and 2:38)
Richard Bettles (29th overall in 2:50)
Nick Lledo 3:33
Adam Connor 3:39

And David Brown, who took a novel approach and ran with the sweep. At least he would have had a little extra time to absorb those gorgeous views.

Well I’m tantalisingly close to finishing in the top 50% of the field. In days gone by Nick and I have been very evenly matched, but lately he has gained some speed- or I’ve lost some. Great work Nick, it’s going to be fun trying to catch you in the future.

In a strange twist of fate, we got to spend some time with Margareta (Gretel) Fortmann. She mentioned that she wasn’t running as she had just done a hundred miler, but was going to do some interviews for the next issue of Trail Runner Mag. I didn’t ask her how she went as I thought it would be a bit rude if she’d had a bad experience. Turns out I shouldn’t have worried- it wasn’t just any hundred miler, it was the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc). And she finished 10th female, the first time an Australian female has ever placed top 10…….

Now about that name. Coastal Classic is nice, but it evokes thoughts of seagulls and waves. It goes from Otford to Bundeena, known as Bundy to the locals- how about  we add 100km to it and call it The Bundy Death Race?

All the photos in this article were stolen from a Trail Runner Mag post. Please visit and support this new venture. You can download the first issue for free and it’s a great read (click on ‘E-Zine’ in the header)


Willy to Billy (Mt Wilson to Bilpin or W2B)

Extremely grateful to Randy who gave a lift there and back to myself, Adam Darwin and Paul Blamire. We managed to solve all of the worlds problems during our time in the car. What a fantastic turn out- heaps of NRG’ers and a wonderful atmosphere. The scones were pretty good however I saw a few people ‘recycling’ theirs early on in the race. Trying to keep a good even pace during the first 13km was impossible, with a few challenging hills, then a great mix of downhill, tarmac, and some of the prettiest bush scenes for the next 13km or so. Everyone had been warning me about the ‘big hill’ that goes from 26km to 32km, but really it wasn’t that bad (either that or I got my second wind). Then a bit of roadside running to the finish. My result of 3:42 was about where I’d expect to be, but I didn’t have any plans except to try to beat 4 hours as it was my first time. I think I may have to give up my fantasy of a sub 14 hour North Face though- that result isn’t really in the ballpark. Never mind, that was a fantastic day out, made even better because I was able to have a shower, steak sandwich and lots of beer afterwards. Congratulations to Sam who once again pulled out a stunning performance to finish in 2nd place, I simply can’t mention all those who turned up for lack of space, but thanks to Randy, Tanya, Rosie and Rodney and others who all came to support us! As I get to know everyone a little better I’m beginning to think you all aren’t so crazy, but there is that running thing you do……..

Here’s the results-