We nearly didn’t make it – a sick kid, non-responsive babysitter and at ten minutes to 10am we still weren’t sure if we were going or not! To say our prep wasn’t ideal is possibly an understatement. I had been up half the night with a toddler with croup, had hydrated well, but other than my usual breakfast before 6am, hadn’t eaten anything else. At just five minutes to 10, the babysitter confirmed and chaos ensued as we finished getting ready and ran though things with the carer. A good run to the starting point and a lucky car spot (even in the shade!) had us checking in as planned.
We picked up our wrist bands and maps, a quick toilet stop and then set to studying the map and eyeing up potential routes. Our aim was an incredibly optimistic 20km in the three hour event, so had to include a number of decision points where we could cut things short. We reviewed the “suggested” 6km, 8km and 11.5km routes for novices and used them as a starting point for our plan. The aim (as always!) was to maximise points, while minimising hills to try and protect my still not 100% legs. Then with a rough anti-clockwise plan in place (chosen for the convenient placement of a toilet stop around 6km in!), we listened to the pre-race briefing and, three minutes early, we were off!
Everyone hurried on out the school gates and quickly dispersed in all directions following their own plans. Quite a few were heading the same way as us, but a steady jog had us behind the speedy runners and in front of the walkers. A short down and up and we were at the first control, turn around and back down past a steady stream of people with maps in hand and then we were heading along some pretty single track to our next checkpoint. Our third control was a little trickier to find, Nick thought we had gone past it already, I was convinced we hadn’t reached it yet. We kept on a little further only to come across someone just ahead of us searching for the same place. A careful walk across slime covered rocks near mangroves and we were back off again.
Back up into the streets of Earlwood for the next section and a duck and weave out to the lookout and first photo of the day. Lots of people around this one and the next few before things thinned out and we were on our own again. About an hour in and I was desperate for a loo stop which showed up right on time. Five minute break for toilet, muesli bar and a powerade. While it was a fairly mild day, the humidity was a killer and it was a relief to get my hands on a cold drink. Took a little while to get going again after putting all that in my belly, but we saw plenty of people at the next checkpoint before crossing Cooks River and on to a couple of long slogs between controls and some more short but steep hills.
The next hour saw fewer controls but some good points in them. We realised our original full route had been optimistic, so picked which route to cut it back to. Some route changes on the fly – an extra 20 points here and a bonus 90 points we hadn’t counted on. While my mind kept flagging, Nick is fantastic at reminding me to eat another jellybean. It basically goes in a cycle… Running happily. I get cranky. I get told to eat a jellybean. Eat jellybean. Running happily. Repeat. My legs felt great – we were keeping up a slow but steady pace, walked up any hills and just kept on going.
Into the third hour and just street work left, mostly flat and some long, gentle inclines. Then I felt the first twinge in my achilles. Ten metres on the second twinge – time to stop running and start walking. I tell Nick, that’s it, we grab the last two controls and head in. He responded with, I was thinking we could grab this one as well in the time easily. No, it’s time to head in before I hurt myself. Walking was a breeze, so I tried a jog again – nope. Ah well, checked the time, bugger it, let’s grab that extra one. Hmmmm, can we nab one more?? No, definitely time to head in now.
We returned to the start about 15 minutes before cut off time, handed in our trackers and joined the queue for food. No soft drinks (I was looking forward to a Coke), so we headed back to the car. A few stretches, then in for the drive home.
- Distance: 16.7km
- Time: 2:46:48
- Elevation: 200m
- Controls: 21
- Score: 1170
- 63/149 overall
- 10/58 mixed teams
This is the first rogaine we’ve been in where they permitted single entries rather than teams. Which goes a fair way to our overall result nearly half way down the list. It did give us a great result in the mixed teams though which we were really pleased with, especially given our slow finish. There was only 100 point between us and 5th spot.
The best part of the whole thing. While I was unsurprisingly tired, I felt generally fantastic. I had no leg pain while running, and no post run aches either. A beautiful day and a great run, can’t wait for the next one!