TNF100 Australia 2012- what a blast! I wrote a little something something late last week HERE, so will not add to that too much other than to say while I was feeling really good in my build up; I did have a really tight groin muscle/abductor on my right leg. This seemed to come from nowhere on Wednesday and was certainly playing on my mind in those days leading up to the race.
The other little note I want to add is a change in my mind set about racing and in my running in general. I am sure many of you sometimes ask yourselves why do you run, I know I do and over a 100km race I ask myself “why” many times. Long story short- because I find running a really fun past time. this was really my number 1 goal on Saturday, to have a fun time out on the trails for 100km. I have found that I was possibly losing touch with the fun factor of running for a while there, so I was stoked to really have a good time on Saturday- I had a lot fun- mission accomplished!
Now I should end this post now, leave it at “I had fun”, but I couldn’t do that, so I will continue with a self absorbed recount of my day- I hope it is not too too boring…
I made sure I warmed up well and eased into the race, not wanting to get to caught up in what I was sure would be a fast start. I left the streets of Lurea in around 12-14th place, running with Jez Bragg as we got on to some really nice single track. Slowly I picked up a few folks and dropped Jez. I started running with Andrew Tucker around here for a bit and got into CP1 just behind Mick. I picked off a few more folks along Narrow Neck, making sure not to get too carried away, wanting to keep things nice and easy early in the race. Coming off Narrow Neck I met up with Andrew again as well as Matt Cooper. We luckily took the right turn on the unmarked corner (flagging had been removed- Jez along with some others were not so lucky).
Coops, Andrew and myself where all pretty close through CP2 and up Iron Pot Ridge, but Andrew started to pull away as we worked our way down Mega Long Valley, which is where Matt and I caught former 2X winner Andy Lee. The support at CP3 was awesome! There was a buzz of energy that I was looking forward to and it did not disappoint! Andrew Vize, of Salomon Australia and Ultra168, and his good mate, appropriately named Daniel Salomon, where my main crew for the day and had me in and out in no time. But I wasn’t limited to the support of just these 2- Namima from Salomon Austalia was on hand doing updates, while Sam from Suunto had about 3 different cameras rolling and was the H2O tech at CP3, as well as Ollie and Peaches on paparazzi duties. Andrew Town- yes former Luxmore Gunt record holder and top bloke was also on hand! So yeah- there was some really good engery and this is one of the things that I love best about this kind of race- you can spend so long by yourself suffering, and get an energy injection from just a quick possitve interaction from support
As I was leaving CP3 TNF100 race director Tom was just hanging out and ran about 1 km along the track with me and we chatted about how each other’s day was playing out- turns out running an ultra and running the race (as in being the race director) are quite similar tests of endurance, with highs and lows. It was fun to chat with Tom and he later give me one of the nicest compliments I have received before- saying I was one of the happiest runners he has ever seen.
What Tom did not see was me suffering up Nellies Glenn. I stopped to go pee pee and Coops eased past- no drama, I figured I would catch him up again easily enough. But there was Nellies Glenn- a steep nasty climb that hurt me last year and did the same again this time around. I got into CP4 at 65km and again had amazing support and left feeling good knowing that apart from Ryan I wasn’t really too far behind the rest of the guys. I really enjoy the stairs and tourists around the 3 Sisters. It is quite amusing to run surrounded by so many people and to get so many funny looks. It does not last long before the long descent into the Jameson Valley. It was down here that I came up on Mick, walking downhill. It was rough and really made me sad to see. Mick is a top bloke and should have been battling for a spot on the podium, so I was pretty bummed to see him this way. I would not at all have been surprised had Mick came blasting by me with that big silly grin of his, making a cheeky comment, but unfortunately he ended up grinding out the last 30km, walking it in, which in itself was very impressive- way to gut it out Mick!
Back to me (yes, me me me…). I shuffled my way up Kedumba Pass and into CP5 at 89km. Knowing I was going to see the crew got me pumped- I grabbed 2 new bottles from Andrew and told him (I guess it was more a statement) and Daniel “lets fucken do this” and cut a can of Red Bull. Running out of the Cp less than 30secs after arriving I was feeding off the support and drums that were being played and got into a good rhythm on the road section. ActiveQT’s Adrian Bailey then drove past, as enthusiastic as ever! The last 9km or so is pretty fun single track and I quite enjoyed this, unknowingly, slowly catching Coops. With about 150 meters to go the single track pops you out of the think forest and onto the grounds of the Fairmont resort. I almost fell over when for the first time in over 40km I saw Coops! I started to sprint, closing in on 5th place quickly, when Andrew Town gave a big cheer for me and my surprise attack was sprung. Coops crossed just 8secs ahead of me and we both were laughing about what an entertaining finish it was. It was just a pity I hadn’t got it together a bit earlier (like 40km earlier) and we could have run together for more of the day. Great job Matt!
Big hats off to Ryan- smoking time, Vajin who was as solid as ever, Andrew Tuckey sub 10hrs in his first 100k, Brendan Davis for backing up his world 100k 4 weeks earlier, Jez Bragg- lost for around 30mins and still ran 10hr30! Mick for gutting it out, Beth Cardelli with a new course record and of course everyone that was out there running and supporting! Tom and his team put on a top event so huge thanks to them!
The Salomon and Suunto Australia crew, as well as Andrew Vize and the Ultra168 lads- thanks again for all the help before, during and after the race!! My week in the Blue Mountains was a special one, cheers to everyone that helped make it so.
Next up- Canadian Death Race, 4th August