I had no expectations for this run. I'm wise enough to know that I wouldn't be at my peak for a marathon having run pretty much the best I've ever run at the Commonwealth's only two weeks earlier and the 60km mountain bike ride I did on Monday through the Blue Labyrinth left me absolutely wasted. All I was really looking for was a solid hit out on one of my favourite races and courses on the trail running calendar.
Turning up to the race I met up with the usual suspects; Buzz, Mick, Tucks, Alex Mathews, Nick W, Paul Gillan, Tim C and a few others. I knew that this was going to be a quick run, much quicker than last year's 3:04 winning time...in fact I predicted 5 or 6 could go under 3 hours and really battle it out for podium spots. From the get go, it was race on. Mick was really amped for this run, I think the $500 winner takes all award was motivating him...for his current gypsy lifestyle it would mean extending his 'road trip' significantly! He was really setting the pace early on and after about 5k a pack had pretty much formed with me, Tucks and one other guy who later blew up at around 30k but was having a red hot go!
Mick was really going great guns and I was feeling fatigued, the little rises were gutting me out so settled in with Tucks for a while before he predictably inched ahead and set off after the leaders. The race did take a few twists and turns. At one point I was passed by Alex and Tim and in 6th, before passing the early pacesetter and then later on Alex. I was closing the gap on Tim towards the end, but it wasn't to be and it was another 4th place for me in 2:55. Last time I raced here I got a 3rd with 3:07!
I am really happy with the run. I might not have run it particularly smartly but I had a very strong middle and finish along the gradual uphill so I know it wasn't for a lack of endurance, I just didn't have the extra gear to go into when I needed to.
Tucks managed to reign in Mick with 4 kms to go and win by a minute. Tucks is on fire. That's three in a row and there is no better trail runner going around at the moment. Mick and I have kept up our recent trend of trading head to head places in races. He is my Tim Molesworth of the trails! Ever since Mick and I have been racing each other, we have been pretty much taking turns in races. So I'm hoping next time we go head to head it will be my turn again!
|A well deserved post race burger - the best burger a runner could ask for!