Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oxfam Trailwalker - Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

If you thought running 100km through rugged Sydney bushland is tough, try keeping a Trailwalker team together from the time they decide to enter to race day! Such has been the journey for team Hammer Nutrition.

Our team is actually an amalgamation of 3 teams and how this came about is a remarkable story in itself!

First there was Team 2773, a local Blue Mountains team; a strong team too made up of Grant McFadden, Shane Simpson, Andy Lee and Paul 'Robbo' Robertson. Unfortunately Shane and Grant, both carrying niggling injuries, realised that Robbo, who has been setting the trails of Glenbrook alight in recent weeks, and seasoned trail guru Andy would probably run them into the ground come race day. They didn't fancy that and wisely 'stepped aside'.

This started the chain of phone calls, who only Telstra could find the funny side of. First I was called in to fill one of the spots; I found a spot in my calendar between my 5km parkrun and other ultra events. I then suggested that a perusal of the Top 10 men at TNF100 this year would be the best way to start the recruitment process. This team still had their number 1 aim in mind; to break the existing course record and do it well. We had, after all, the course record holders, Quality Meats to reckon with this year and surely to beat them it would take a course record.

Ben Blackshaw, an unassuming personal trainer and ultra runner who has quietly been racking up impressive results over the last couple of years was approached to fill the last vacancy. 'Sure' said Ben. 'I've been left high and dry by my team as well'! Seems Ben, who was part of Team Vision Personal Training, knows the torment of what is finding new team mates too.

With the full compliment, we now had a team to give Quality Meats a run for their money. But no, there's more. Andy Lee, who has been killing the short course trail running circuit, thought best to step aside to save (presumably) his speed for these races. 2 steps forward, 1 step back!

It was then we perused the Trailwalker website and noticed that team Quality Meats hadn't raised a cent in fundraising, which begged the question, were they also finding it tough to keep their team together too?

Surely not? But another spate of phone calls later confirmed it...yes, it was true. So in the spirit of 'if you can't beat them, join them', into the motley crue that we could now call a team came Trailwalker legend and Quality Meater Jono O'Loughlin. The team, showing remarkable foresight for a bunch of blokes, has even got good mate and fellow Quality Meater Chris 'Bull' Turnbull on standby as a late reserve. Chris I'd keep up the training if I were you mate...

Please help us get to the start line with the fundraising target well and truly covered. Thank you to Hammer Nutrition for being our team sponsor and covering us in quality kit and feeding us during our training and racing with all your great products.

We will do this!

Here is the link to our Oxfam Trailwalker Teampage