I know what I need, it’s no mystery
You’re my destination
Before you it seemed, alone in a dream
Then suddenly awakened
The river’s rising and it was, to the point that the organisers of the Salamon trail series decided last night to change the course so that we didn’t have to cross the Plenty River (twice). It was now chest high and a very fast flow that would probably have swept the most svelte runners away (and me!).
The text message last night was both a relief and a disappointment. A relief that I didn’t have to traverse a river thigh deep in 7C temperature and a disappointment that I wasn’t able to test myself or experience running about 4K absolutely soaking wet.
A new start time of 9:15am is allocated due to the rising river and I arrive at Yellow Gum Park with 20 minutes to spare. I park the car about 500m from the start and walk to a clearing that has a few sponsors tents and mass of runners waiting for the starting gun.
The 12Kers head off at 9:00am in three different starts: fast, medium and leisurely. I have no idea what each of these equate to and the same applies for the 6.5K. I start way back in the medium pace.
The recent rain has made the course a bog. Although at this stage I’m still in the dark. We head off at a very slow pace and encounter a few bottle necks within the first 500m. Downhill it is until we hit about 800m and then we see a monster of a hill -45 degrees and at least 60m high.
A lasting memory of my first trail run will be a lady stuck 30m up the hill clawing her way up whilst laughing at her plight. Indeed the only way up was on your hands. By the time I’d reached the top I was spent, wet and full of mud, I wasn’t about to get the phone out to take pics and to be honest I hardly had the energy.
Eighteen minutes for the first 2 K’s tells the tale – It’s here that I realised that trail running wasn’t about the time, it’s about the adventure and the fun. Fun it was, I had many walk breaks and conversations with many people, we helped each other up the slippery slopes and assisted in buffering each other on the down slopes.
The terrain is not for the faint hearted, there are plenty of obstacles, rocks, branches, bogs and rivers. The St John Ambulance were kept busy with injuries, cuts and one person who appeared to pass out at the 2K mark – hopefully they’re OK.
The track was either uphill or down hill and the downs were as hard as the ups. It’s only 6.6K but it’s as hard as any 10 or 15K run I’ve ever completed. The down hills didn’t offer a lot of respite for the ups as it was so slippery.
Conclusion: would I do it again? You bet. I loved it, hard but fun, different, different people. It’s almost like a pilgrimage, where everyone has a common goal and they all needed to complete it.
I came 5th in my Category!!