GNARLY TALES BREAKING 101

 

WORDS: KATE DZIENIS
IMAGES: NANCY JAYDE PHOTOGRAPHY, CHARLIE SPAGALLI

GNARLY TALES BREAKING 101

BREAKING 101

Earlier this year, an Aussie and a Kiwi smashed the world record in the backyard racing format. West Australian Phil Gore and New Zealander Sam Harvey took to the Australian Backyard Masters start line in country Queensland last June and before they knew it, their names were set in stone as they equalled the record of 101 laps (yards) with Phil then completing one more lap to claim the title of a new world record. Kate Dzienis got a chance to catch up with both endurance athletes, as well as race director Timothy Walsh, to get the lowdown on the day it all happened.

***

It’s the hottest part of the day in regional Queensland. The clock strikes noon, and with it, the sun beats down endlessly with no reprieve in sight. A cow bell sounds, its vibration trilling across the wide expanse of a cattle farm, signalling the start of something magical about to happen.

Wednesday. June 21, 2023. One hour earlier, at 11am, an Aussie and a Kiwi broke the world record in backyard racing at Dead Cow Gully at the inaugural Australian Backyard Masters, and the running community went off its nuts. 

Everyone called it Breaking 101. From live streamers and crew members on site, to anyone keeping updated via social platforms, Perth’s Phil Gore and New Zealand’s Sam Harvey completed 101 laps that morning – breaking the record set by Belgian runners Merijn Geerts and Ivo Steyaert at the Backyard Ultra World Team Championships in October 2022.

At 12pm on Wednesday, June 21 both Phil and Sam stood at the start line ready to take it even further, their bodies taking their spirits to a new level of euphoria; and their spirits taking their bodies to a new level of pain. High noon and they’d matched the record, but now they needed to secure a new one for all the world to witness.

Both men took off from the start line to tackle lap 102, the furthest any backyard entrant on the planet has done. Testing their bodies to the absolutely maximum, Sam made the decision to turn back around, leaving Phil to complete those last 6.706km on his own and by 2pm, as he took those last steps towards his wife and lead crew, Gemma, Phil set the new world record of 102 laps with Sam graciously granted the title of Assist.

Going into the Masters, breaking records was never something Phil had set his sights on. He went into the race simply wanting to do ‘his thing’ and follow his plan – it was all about focusing on what he was doing at that exact moment.

“I was never hanging out to get to the world record, and I thought we’d (Sam and I) be done around lap 98,” he explains.

“In my head, I thought yeah, this is still such a great title. I wasn’t bummed or anything that we weren’t going to get to the record. But then we both lined up for lap 99, and I thought right, we’re doing this. Only three more laps. I never really thought at that point that we could get to it.

“Suddenly, we started 101 and I was like, wow, we’re going to get the world record and in my head I thought right, this is what we’re doing. We’re doing it.”

Phil never has a set goal in mind when
he enters last one standing events; his main ambition being to simply stay in the race for as long as he possibly can. It doesn’t mean strolling up to the start line and just going willy nilly – he does have contingencies in place, as many serious runners do, in the form of a spreadsheet with plans for each potential lap. Each lap consists of information he and his crew follow, from nutrition and shoe changes, to naps and showers – not just what pace to take.

And those laps don’t stop at a specific number so in the event of going beyond what he may have thought possible, the plan is still right there in front of him.

“I go into an event like Masters with the mindset that I could potentially be there for four or five days, but I don’t set anything as a particular goal because you just never know what’s going to happen, especially with a backyard,” he says.“
My spreadsheet has everything broken down into every single hour; it tells
me what pace I’m going to go at, what
I’m going to eat during the break, if I’m going to sleep or not, when to re-apply sunscreen…it helps both myself and my crew know ahead of time what we’re going to do during the break between laps so no one has to think about anything.”

Phil works with three pace ranges – a slow recovery lap (50 minutes) which enables him a 10 minute break before the next lap for a quick rest and to settle his stomach, an easy pace 45 minute lap which allows him to have something to eat within his 15 minute start window, and a 40 minute lap if he’s planning a shower or a nap. He re- iterates it doesn’t necessarily dictate exactly how fast to go, but offers him a guide to what he should aim for to get a break.

Going into the Masters event, Phil knew the big names that he’d be facing, including Sam as well as Ryan Crawford and America’s Harvey Lewis so despite never going in with a set goal in mind, he did know that if it was a good race, he’d be there for the long haul.

When asked how it feels to essentially be the person to beat in the world of backyards, Phil says it’s one of the most surreal emotions he’s ever gone through.

“For me, I’ve simply been in the right place, at the right race, with the right circumstances and where the right people have helped me get there,” he affirms.

“A lot of it depends on who can push you to those limits, but many runners can seriously surprise you – Sam, for instance, his PB was 46 laps in New Zealand, but at Masters he got all the way to 101. That’s an incredible jump, and such a great effort.”

Back in New Zealand, Sam started running as a means of staying fit and used it as training for other sports like rugby. After moving to Nashville, Tennessee in the US to play and coach rugby, his fitness peaked and life revolved around rugby, boxing and running. It was there he ran his first official 5km race where he came fourth.

From Tennessee to Ireland, more races were put on the table and Sam found himself on the podium for each one. When he returned to New Zealand, he did all the events he could get his hands on – boxing matches, triathlons, mountain bike races. Until eventually in 2018 he did his first 50km at Krayzie Kaypers in Orton Bradley Park near Christchurch, and running became a central part of his life.

Sam reveals the Masters this year were a semi-A race for him and his goal was to break the world record and win the World Championships. Having been raced at the Dead Cow Gully course, he went into the Masters knowing it was the only venue flat enough to break records so went into it with an emphasis on that.

“I knew who Phil was, and of course
who Harvey Lewis was, so looking at the Masters, I figured we were probably the ones that were going to go the distance in the end,” he reveals.

“I wasn’t wrong.

“The first 48 hours would have honestly been the hardest. It’s those early hours of the race where my mind wanders and I get bored, the bulk of the work is still to come, and it’s in those moments where you figure your time could be better spent elsewhere. After the 48 hour mark in this one though, it was party time. That’s when I truly felt like we were racing and I remembered why I was there.

“I think the only time I was truly a bit mentally weak was when I let supporters and event staff talk me into pulling out
of the race. I take full ownership of that though. If it hadn’t have been for me showing how crook the pneumonia had made me (I was a little bit sick leading into the race and I became a big bit sick by the end of it), I wouldn’t have been a candidate for them wanting to pull me from the race.

“It feels pretty damn good (to be a real contender in the backyard format). I’ve been working a long time as a sportsman to finally find my place where I can succeed and dominate. I’m excited to see where I can go from here.”

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to organise an event like the Masters. Race directors in general have a lot to contend with, and it wasn’t any different for Timothy Walsh, who says the Dead Cow Gully location is a different type of beast.

“Particularly in winter,” he explains. “Most Australians don’t actually realise how cold country Queensland can get; we had tops

THE BACKYARD ULTRA

Unfamiliar with backyard ultras? They’re also called Last One Standing events, and test your body differently than a continuous race because no matter what condition you’re in, you are forced to stop every 6.706km and take a break until the start of the next hour. Whether you’ve completed the distance in 35 minutes or 55 minutes, whatever time is left before the hour strikes, that’s all you have – for recovery, food, sleep, hydration, change of clothes or shoes, reapplication of creams, game plan review.

There are a number of ways to finish your race at a backyard, which is called a DNF.

  • Receive an automatic disqualification for coming in after the 60-minute mark
  • Choose not to stand at the start line when the hour is about to start
  • Start a lap but turn around to return
  • Be the last one to complete a lap and be declared the winner Check our 2024 Event Guide for the next backyard ultra near you to give it a red hot crack!

A Tale of Mates, Mountains & Mud

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WRITTEN BY: BEN WILKINSON
IMAGE: BEN WILKINSON

TRAIL RUN MAG WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME BEN WILKINSON FOR HIS CONTRIBUTION PIECE TO TRM49

A TALE OF MATES, MOUNTAINS & MUD

Want to hit a spectacular and challenging trek that will take your breath away and allow you to push yourself in an environment that’s sturdy, hardened and vigorous? Tasmania’s got the Western Arthurs Range, which encapsulates quartzite peaks, hanging valleys and glacier-carved lakes with plenty of rocky climbs, mud and rain. Tasmanian Ben Wilkinson, together with mates Jon Minnebo and Francois Fourie, tackled the inspiring trek earlier this year, and he recaps the adventure which will was full excitement, grandeur, inclement weather, and savoury snacks (but only at the end!).

***

At 7am on 15 April 2023, the GC Running Team which consists of Jon Minnebo, Francois Fourie and myself, set on an adventure into the wild Southwest of Tasmania that would see us start at Scott’s Peak carpark, traverse the Western Arthurs Range from Moraine A-K and finish back at the carpark. All up it should be 60km which we thought would take about 18hrs.

To most people this sounds either dumb, crazy or both. To us, this was the best fun we could have on two legs.

Spirits were high, and with loads of laughs and a dose of nervous tension, we were soon on the trail. A mix of thoughts filled my mind: Am I capable of this? Maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew. This will be awesome, of course I can…round and round the merry go went.

Not long after we started so did the mud. Tasmania’s Southwest is renowned for muddy trails and the Western Arthurs were in force, a week’s worth of consistent rain making things wet and slushy. Kind of like running through mac and cheese all day. However, this just added to the entertainment and there was more slipping and sliding than a day at Wet N Wild.

After passing through Junction Creek campground the range comes into view and there’s an overwhelming sense of the challenge ahead. We arrived at the base of Moraine A, which is the main access to the range, and with 700-800m elevation over 2.4km it’s a juicy little number. The views across Lake Pedder are breathtaking, just like the strong slap in the face from the southerly winds coming straight off the Southern Ocean when you arrive at the top.

The jog past Lake Fortuna through to Lake Cygnus is beautiful, and the landscape changes dramatically. Everything is massive and looks like a scene out of The Lord of the Rings. Glacier lakes, slabs of quartz, and views out to Bathurst Harbor are on the menu for the rest of the day. It’s a real feast for the senses.

After Lake Cygnus there was some up-and-downing before the section between Mt Sirius and Mt Orion comes into view. This is one of my favourite ridgelines in Tasmania. It sticks out like crazy and can be seen for miles.

After a nice bit of huffing and puffing, and the stunning Square Lake, we crested a ridge to behold one of the most spectacular landscapes I have ever witnessed, Lake Oberon – the crown in the Western Arthurs and Tasmania’s Southwest.

It was the perfect spot for a quick bite to eat and the only rest we had that day, apart from taking pics. A mention goes out to Jon here who, with a completely straight face, pulled out his ‘curried egg’ in white bread sandwich. I won’t go into this but for those of you who know what exercising on empty stomachs can do to your digestion, curried egg is an interesting choice. Well played, Jon. Well played.

The rain started during lunch and was now coming down in sideways sheets but we kept moving. The descent into Oberon was a nice little scramble and by now the rain had soaked everything. The section from Oberon to High Moor took a long time. Even though the distance travelled is only +/- 4km it took 3-4hrs (with a heavy pack on this is a full 8-9hr walk).

CONTINUE READING THIS STORY – AND MORE – IN TRAIL RUN MAG #49 (NOV-DEC 2023). 

Runners earn their stripes at Tassie Trail Fest

More than 400 runners – including a healthy interstate and international contingent – descended on the small tin mining town of Derby in north-east Tasmania recently, the influx inspired by the inaugural Saucony Tassie Trail Fest and $2 million worth of fresh trails to be run. [RESULTS AT: http://www.tassietrailfest.com.au/read-me/]

Tassie Trail Fest 16-0351The three day event was conceived to celebrate a love of single track and the trail running lifestyle with feature distances ranging from 44km through 21km, 14km, 6km and 2km making best use of all-new mountain biking trails created within quintessential Tasmanian wilderness. Keeping runners entertained and informed off trail was a roster of running seminars, a trail running film festival and live entertainment.

In the premier King and Queen of Tassie Trail category, which required runners to complete a 44km marathon, a 14km run and a 2km time-trial, the honours were shared between a local running gun from Launceston and a German itinerant known in his hometown as ‘the fastest moustache in Cologne’.

Elite Tassie ultra runner, Amy Lamprecht, won the women’s crown and a cash purse, registering a cumulative run time of 05:46:48, beating home Yvette Edward (West Hobart; 06:00:34) in second and Victorian, Kellie Emmerson in third (06:07:08).Tassie Trail Fest 16-9849

In the men’s, Germany’s Felix Weber held the King’s of Tassie Trails trophy aloft, but not before cycling all the way from Hobart to attend the event, via Freycinet Peninsua where he ran the long trail circuit (30km) to warm up, and volunteering with event organisers throughout the event in between competing. His total time for the King category was 05:13:54. The short sighted runner known as ‘the fastest moustache in Cologne’ and now ‘the fastest ’tash in Tassie’ has already decided what to spend his prizemoney on:

“Riding up here I lost my glasses. I have very bad eyesight and ‘run blurry’ so I’ll be buying a new pair of specs!”

Also on the dais was American runner who had come all the way from a stint working in Antarctica, Curtis Moore (06:00:38), and Hobart-based John Schuringa (06:10:48).

While the King and Queen was the premier racing category, the most impressive endurance competition was Multiday Madness, a category that challenged runners to run every single event possible across the duration of the event. That entailed a marathon, two 14km runs (a day and a night), another half marathon and the 2km time trial ‘Dash for Cash’.Tassie Trail Fest 16-

The Madness women’s title was swept across the Tasman with New Zealand runner Amanda Broughton running consistently for the win, her performance surprising even herself as a short to middle distance cross country specialist in her hometown of Wellington. Broughton took the win in a cumulative time of 10:24:19. In second was Jessica Collins (Margate, Tasmania; 11:43:43) followed by Victorian, Louise Crossley (13:21:48).

In the men’s Multiday Madness, John Schuringa added to his King of Tassie Trails third place by winning the endurance competition in a total time of 10:12:22. Antarctic Station worker, Curtis Moore, added to his second place in the Kings with another in the multiday in a time of 10:15:37, with Launceston’s John Cannel registering third place (10:33:31).

Of course there were individual distance winners throughout the weekend, with special mention going to husband and wife team Reece and Jacqui Stephens, who juggled parenting duties to run in all events between them, each taking out a half marathon win and Jacqui taking home the $250 for the Dash for Cash title, her husband pipped at the post into second by Jerome Whitley who nabbed a time of 7:07 for the 2km (and likely a smidge) ‘sprint’ trail run.

 

The inaugural Saucony Tassie Trail Fest brought together trail runners from across the globe, with representatives from Chile, Mexico, Belgium, New Zealand, UK, United States, Netherlands and Germany joining running crews from every state and territory in Australia.Tassie Trail Fest 16-0539

The host town of Derby has quickly become famous in mountain biking circles with the installation of up to 80km of new trails weaving through majestic stands of wilderness.

“The running experience is divine and like no other in Australia in my opinion,” says Race Director, Chris Ord from running tour and events company, Tour de Trails. “The huge stands of ancient forest, moss-covered rockeries, giant fern tunnels, and dam busting views make it a spectacular place to run, while the rollercoaster undulations, switchbacks and a few beefy ascents make the running challenging, especially for those taking on the multiday which is essentially 100km over the weekend.”

Runners were particulary impressed with the trails, the close knit community vibe and many noted the 14km nightrun as a highlight, with runners finishing under an arch erected inside a town hall, beer bar to one side and a live band in full rock mode playing on the stage just in front of the finishline. Impressively, the lead singer, Launceston’s Tim Gambles is also a trail runner and ran in a number of the events during the weekend.Mt Buller

Reviews by participants:

What a privilege to be able to run through that bush and have those epic views!” – Multiday Madness winner Amanda Broughton, New Zealand. 

“I volunteered and participated in the Tassie Trail Fest. It was an excellent and authentic experience with fantastic program on and off the trails. I can highly recommend this event to everyone who love to run in the bush.” – King of Tassie Trails winner, Felix Weber, Germany.

“Loved every minute of the Multiday Madness, stunningly beautiful but challenging course…Wow. Just wow.” Asha Mahasuria, Northern Territory.

“A fantastic event, a big thank-you to the organizers for putting on a fantastic event, hopefully everyone will get behind this wonderful event and it will grow bigger over the next few years.” – Tim Gunton, Tasmania

“Absolutely fantastic event. Loved every minute of it. Lovely people, amazing location, great trails. Thanks so much to everyone involved in organising the event – you guys were fantastic. Roll on 2017!” – Philip Judge, Queensland.

“Can’t wait to do it again! It was a tough course…that’s what made it so good! Thanks guys see you next year!” – Tracy Cron, Tasmania.

“Brilliant event. Well organised. Great facilities. Amazing track. Definitely doing it again next year.” – Kirsten Aylmer, Tasmania. 

“We had a brilliant time. Great festival and a well organised inaugural event.” – Emma Pryor, New South Wales.Tassie Trail Fest 16-9871

“We believe that the Tassie Trail Fest has installed itself as an slightly quirky, challenging, upbeat and iconic trail event for Tasmania and indeed Australia,” says Chris.

Also featured at the festival was Tasmanian local trail running heroine, Hanny Allston, an elite athlete who presented a seminar on training and nutrition, while fellow elite runner, Mathieu Dore, presented a masterclass on strength and conditioning for runners.

Organisers also screened the international Trails In Motion Film Festival as part of proceedings.

The weekend’s run festivities concluded with a 2km final time trial, a virtual sprint event in trail running circles, with the starter setting runners off at 30 second intervals and the winner not decided until every runner had laid down a time. That included the race organisers who downed organisational responsibilities for the morning to join in the trail fun and madness.

Organisers have confirmed the Saucony Tassie Trail Fest will return next year on the same Labour Day Holiday Weekend, which in 2017 will be 11, 12, 13th March. They are encouraging runners to enter once entries open in a few months and, importantly, book accommodation in Derby or surrounding towns early, as it is limited.

See www.tassietrailfest.com.au for more details.

RESULTS AT: http://www.tassietrailfest.com.au/read-me/

Tassie Trail Fest is supported by Dorset Council, Saucony Australia, IO Merino, Black Diamond, The Running Company Launceston, Find Your Feet, Run Goat Run, Cheeta Recovey, Little Rivers Brewing Co., Kooee Snacks Australia, SOS Hydration, Break O’Day Council, Veolia, Weldborough Hotel, VFuel, Wildplans, Adventure Types, The Corner Store Cafe – Derby, S Group and Tour de Trails.Tassie Trail Fest 16-0332

Larapinta strip

Trail report: Convicts & Wenches, Tas.

Conditions were ideal for the 45 runners who toed the start line of the ‘Convicts and Wenches Marathon’ on 23rd March. It was a cool and calm 10 degrees as the field set off at the 8am on the out and back course.

Now in its fifth year, this 50km ‘fun run’ winds its way through Narawntapu National Park, on the north coast of Tasmania, a 50 minute drive from Launceston. It is a true trail ultra-marathon, run completely on pristine Tasmanian beaches and coastal single-track. Dubbed the “Serengeti of Tasmania”, Narawntapu is also one of the best places in Tasmania to view wildlife. The National Park boasts a rich array of animals such as the Forester kangaroo, Bennetts wallaby, common wombat, a plethora of birdlife, those slithery things that runners would prefer not to see, and even the famous Tasmanian devil. Along with the 50km ultra-marathon, teams of two can enter as a relay (out then back), with the day also offering a 25km, and 12km race.

DCIM100GOPROAfter claiming line honours in the 25km race for the past two years, 23 year old David Bailey decided to take the step up to the 50km race in 2014 and from the start made his intentions clear. David, along with Queenslander Anderson Mocquiuti set the pace early along the first 6km stretch of the course which winds its way around West Head. This section of the course sees runners hugging the coastline along pine needle covered single track, rising up onto the headland and past some impressive sea cliffs, before dropping down to the first aid station and then onto Badger Beach.

DCIM100GOPROThe beaches along the course are flat, hard, and fast, with the race start being timed to coincide with low tide. After 5km along Badger Beach, the runners arrived at the 11km aid station ready to then begin the 7.5km stretch of trail across Badger Head.

DCIM100GOPROThis next ‘middle section’ of the course (7km) is a real treat as the trail rolls up and over the headland firstly to Copper Cove, then asks the runners to climb up and out of Copper Cove, over Little Badger Head, and finally drop down the switchbacks onto Bakers Beach. It is a truly remarkable trail to be meandering along with the ocean over your shoulder and taking in views of the beaches, coastal cliffs and rock formations, whilst also being able to look further afield at identifiable mountain peaks such as Mount Roland, Black Bluff, and the Dial Range which are inland to the west.

The field worked into a slight headwind as they covered the 7km length of Bakers Beach and headed out to the 25km turn point which saw David Bailey and Anderson Mocquiuti reach together. For the females, last year’s winner Amy Lamprecht was looking really strong and wasted no time at the aid station before returning for the back half.

DCIM100GOPROAs the clouds blew off and the temperature rose to a balmy 25 degrees, the wind also picked up slightly giving the runners a very handy tail wind to push them back along the course for the return 25km.

Leading from start to finish, David Bailey ran a near perfect race and took line hours in 3:51:55 whilst also setting a new course record, nearly 4 ½ minutes quicker than Aub Henricks’ 2013 winning time. After turning with the competition on his shoulder at the halfway mark, when crossing the finish line David had put nearly 15 minutes between himself and his nearest rival, that being second place getter Jonathan Worswick (4:07:35), with third place then going to Jarrod Shaw (4:11:37)

DCIM100GOPROFor the females, Amy Lamprecht was never challenged and smashed her 2013 course record by nearly 17 minutes in a blistering time of 4:16:35 (7th overall). Rounding out the top three for the females were Jennifer Boocock (4:50:30) and Kirra Lewandowski-Porter (5:12:12)

With 42 finishers in the 50km race for 2014, and now also offering the 25km and 12km versions which saw 61 and 17 runners compete, the Convicts and Wenches Marathon has grown in each of its first 5 years and is quickly becoming a ‘must do’ on the Tasmanian trail running calendar. Make sure you’re there for 2015!

www.facebook.com/convictsandwenchesmarathon

www.convictsandwenchesmarathon.com

IMAGES and words: Phil Beeston

 

 

Cradle Mountain Ultra

At dawn on the 1st of February, 55 enthusiastic runners were lined up single file at Waldheim, just north of Dove Lake, ready and eager to take on the annual Cradle Mountain Run (CMR). You could feel the excitement and nerves as a final roll call was carried out, followed by a countdown to the 6am start and before you knew it, we were trotting off down Tasmania’s iconic Overland Track.

photo 4

Runners approaching and passing Tasmania’s iconic Cradle Mountain at sunrise, approximately 4km into the run.

The Cradle Mountain Run is a one day traverse of Tasmania’s famous Cradle Mt to Lake St Clair Overland track. The beauty of this run is that it traverses wild alpine areas of Tasmania’s Cradle Mt Lake St Clair National Park and World Heritage Area. The altitude of the track in several areas of the plateau is greater than 1000 metres, which by world standards is not high, but here is well above the tree line. This low tree line illustrates the exposure and harshness of conditions that can prevail even in summer.

This is an estimated, not-accurately measured 82km trail run limited to 60 runners. The event is a Run not a Race and mutual help is an important aspect. Hills are steep, the mud can suck your shoes off and roots and stones make the going slow for the less nimble footed.

Cradle Mountain Run

Moving through highland button grass plains with Tasmania’s tallest peak, Mount Ossa, beckoning us on

The Cradle Mountain Run has a rich history, with the inaugural run being held on the 14th of February 1981 (5 days prior to the birth of this author!). Now in its 34th year, it was inspirational to see CMR Committee member Richard Pickup who completed the original run back on that day in 1981, toe the start line again in 2014 and make it all the way through to Cynthia Bay in an extremely respectable time! (I won’t mention Richard’s age, although it can be seen on the results page on the CMR website)

From the start it was clear that ultra and trail-running legend Stu Gibson meant business, and it wasn’t long before he had hopped over Marion’s lookout and was out of site. It would be the last time any other runners would see him until the finish line.

Cradle Mountain Run

Runners about to drop into ‘Waterfall Valley’, approximately 9.5km into the run

Following the 400m climb past the picturesque Crater Lake and then Marion’s Lookout, runners were greeted to spectacular views of Cradle Mountain as the sun was rising over her shoulder. After overcast conditions last year (which were ideally suited to running), it was a real treat to have clear skies and not a breath of air, and as we came along the Cradle cirque towards Barn Bluff the entire Cradle Reserve began to open up with mountains as far as the eye could see. It was a real treat to be running in the reserve that morning as we passed Waterfall Valley, Lake Windermere, the giant that is Mount Pelion West, through Frog Flats, and then arrived at the first checkpoint, Pelion Hut, 34km into the run.

By mid-morning the temperature had risen significantly following the cool start, and it was clear that management of hydration was going to be crucial to the success of the rest of the run. Lying in the saddle between Mount Pelion East and Tasmania’s tallest peak, Mount Ossa, the views from Pelion Gap were breathtaking before dropping down to Kia Ora hut. From there runners would spend the next little while (longer for some) moving through the forests before an exposed climb of Du Cane Gap, then would drop sharply down to the next check point at Bert Nichols Hut. Moving through to Narcissus Hut which lies at the northern end of Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest freshwater lake, runners were exposed to the sun beating down with temperatures now pushing 30C. Unfortunately for a number of entrants, this would be where their day would end after approximately 60km in the bag, having to catch the ferry back down the lake to Cynthia Bay.

Cradle Mountain Run

Runners approaching Barn Bluff, approximately 8km into the run

Leaving the Narcissus checkpoint, the final 18km of the run would be spent trying not to trip over tree roots with our now heavy feet as we sidled Lake St Clair before the track widened at Watersmeet for the final 1.5km dash to the finish line.

Line honours for the day went to the in-form Stu Gibson who ran a PB and only the 10th sub 8 hour race in Cradle Mountain Run history (7:59:52). For the females, Gill Fowler came across the line first in 9:28:24, an hour clear of Katherine Macmillan in second place. The final runner would cross the line a tick after 9pm, 15 hours after we left Waldheim.

Well done to all entrants for 2014; although the track was dry and fast, it was a tough day in the office once the temperature began to rise. Also a huge well done and thank you to the CMR committee who put on yet another fantastic race day and weekend!

Words by Phil Beeston

Cradle Mountain Run website

Results page here