by Richelle Olsen - She Science Ambassador
Images: The amazing ones were taken by Bill Robson. I'll take credit for the happy snaps!
If you have read some of my previous event blogs, you will find a bit of a common theme....enter an event, biting off more than I can chew, fight off inevitable demons of self induced lows during the race, only to come out at the end of the race victorious in my own head, even if I had come last, or close enough to...but well and truly armed with some life lessons.
Sorry to disappoint, but I loved this race from start to finish, and I didn’t come last!!
I’d been following Adventure Junkie events for a few years now. Maria and Serge have always had some amazing sounding events on the calendar, but for some reason or another, I’ve never been able to make one. But I saw this Lysterfield Sprint Adventure Race on one of my free weekends, and promptly convinced one of my best MTB buddies, Lyndal to join me, and we became Team She Science.
The event was made up of a 4.5km run/hike, a 8k ish MTB, a 3km kayak, a 1.5km run and finally another 8k MTB. There was around 60 teams of 2 and everyone is given a map for each of the legs, with checkpoints marked, and you need to work out how to get to them, using tracks, or simply bush-bashing your way through.
We were pretty slow on the runs (thanks to me who has run twice in about 5 months!), our bike was pretty good (both Lyndal and I have spent a bit of time on the bike of late), and I’ll tell you bout our paddle a bit later, but our local knowledge of the park well and truly contributed to our success with navigation. Oh and some assistance up and down a steep and muddy mini-ravine by a burly male team certainly helped our cause – thanks guys! We convinced ourselves we could have done it alone, but we would have taken 10 times as long, and we would have come out looking like we had a mud bath!
The paddle was a bit of a task, definitely the hardest leg for 2 girls who don’t paddle! Who knew that Lysterfield had current and got choppy! Visions of capsizing in the middle of the lake and not being able to get back on were pushed to the back of our minds most of the time, but our arms were ready to fall off after about 3 minutes! But a mid lake break for some salted caramel banana lollies did the trick and sent us back on our way. Quote of the day - Lyndal: “The girls in that boat look really uncomfortable, and they both have their paddles upside down” Me: “But they are beating us...hmmm” Followed by fits of laughter! We were well and truly glad to be back under foot power after that!
After about 4 hours we rode through the big black Adventure Junkie finishers arch, super proud of ourselves, and still smiling like we had been all day! The smile being even more the wider knowing that there were still a few teams to come in after us! Wooooo not last!!
This was a super organised event, which was a credit to Maria and Serge and their team of volunteers. Checkpoints were close enough to where they were meant to be (even if some of them were in sneaky little places like down a ditch!!), and not too difficult for novices like us! The hamburgers, salad rolls and fruit after the event were definitely a winner for hungry adventure racers! And what I loved about this event was the range of racers, from the super quick athletes, to the couples where the wife doesn’t even ride a bike, but had been talked into it by her hubby! And everything inbetween!
Thanks again to Adventure Junkie, and kudos to their sponsors for helping make it happen: Shotz Sports Nutrition, SoulRider - Spin Studio, Trailmix Lysterfield Park,360 wellness, Peak Adventure.
We will be back next year!!!
PS. I just saw the results, and not only did we not come last, we actually came 39th out of 53 teams!! Much to do with the fact its more important to get checkpoints and be a little slower, rather than miss some, and be fast! Seems having half a brain helps in these kind of races!! Wooo! Over the moon!!
by Richelle Olsen - slow runner, hiker and outdoorsy-type
Wow, so do I have PLENTY to say about the GORGEous trails we were subjected to for Race 2 of the Salomon Trail Running Series. In case you didn't get it, it was at Plenty Gorge, just outside Melbourne.
A week before the race, I put it to my facebook friends “Do I bother forking out the cash for an entry into Salomon Race 2, or just be tight and do my own trail run near home?” After plenty of “Definitely come, I’ll be there”, and “I’ll be there”, “I’ll go if you do”, it was settled….why would I pass up the chance to run with a whole lot of other like-minded trail runners, and my friends? So I entered the medium course, approx. 12km.
Sunday dawned clear, and I was up and out the door in no time. Arrived at Plenty Gorge with ample rego and hang around time, time to catch up with friends both old and new! And before I knew it I’d joined tail end of the buzz of the start line. I love that moment, so much nervous and excited electricity in the air. But no nerves for me, I was just keen to get started (and to get warm!)
I’m a pretty slow runner. I could say I had tired legs, I could say I had and injury, been sick, had a terrible sleep, but no. I’m a slow runner, and I sometimes/often walk, that’s just the way it is! So very quickly I found myself at the back of the pack, enjoying my own personal tour of the Plenty Gorge, following the green ribbon. Well I was kinda enjoying it. At the same time I was berating myself for coming last again, as I’m known to do.
Then, suddenly, mid-negative self-talk, I heard voices, lots of voices! As I shuffled around the corner, I came across a big line up of people waiting for something. “Awwww shucks guys, you didn’t have to wait for me!” I was pretty excited to be back in the pack! Turned out there was a super slippery, steep downhill section, which involved some delicate footwork that was holding everyone up. After a few mins of forced breath catching, we were all off again!
This time I kept a few of the other girls in sight for a while, but before too long I was back on my own personal tour. This was the probably my lowest point. I was hating myself for coming last, my legs were hurting, and I was over it. I seriously contemplated turning off at the short course turnoff. But then I realised that due to their start time, even if I turned there, I’d still be last in the 6km race, as well as dealing with the failure of not finishing what I’d come to do. Nope, theres more glory in coming last in a 12 km than a 6km, I was going to finish what I started!
Then around another corner, lo and behold, another big line up of runners, this time waiting to cross the icy river! Getting involved in the usual banter of how cold it will be, how much fun running in wet runners will be, I mentioned that I’d heard that some softees were known to take their shoes and socks off before they crossed, how silly is that. Another runner looked at me and said “well that’s what I had planned to do” ooops! Foot in mouth!!! I must say that aided by ropes and a big strong man in the middle of the river (his feet must have been iceblocks!), the river crossing was a lot of fun! And to add to my joy, another girl, Kat had come up behind me…I wasn’t last! Wooo! We had a chat climbing the bank on the other side, and as we did so, heard another girly voice crossing the river. What a relief, really not last now!
I kept Kat in my sights till she left the aid station at the top of the big hill, she must have needed water, cause after that she took off! But that was also the “past halfway point” at 6.5kms, so its all downhill from there!! Looking behind me every now and then to see if I could see anyone, on I trotted, knowing that the worst of the hills were done, and I just had to get this thing finished! And as long as I kept going, I wasn’t going to be last!
It was funny that for the last 2kms I would hear the announcements at the finish line, it sounded so close, but was still sooo far! And I had no idea in which direction it was coming from, such was the sound bouncing around the gorge!
As I rounded the corner coming into the finishing straight, I could see the crowd had thinned considerably, but at least they hadn’t taken the finishing arch down! And there was one lone figure standing at the finish line, my friend Meleah! I was soooooooo happy to see her, and that she had waited for me, having finished half an hour earlier! I even mustered up a “fast shuffle” to finish with! So happy!
Even better, as I guzzled down my 4th cup of Nunn hydration, then who shows up? Blyndal! My great mates Bill and Lyndal had hung about to see me too, aww thanks guys!
So I’ve checked the results today, and I see that I was in fact last. Not sure what happened to the girl behind me, maybe she was a much needed figment of my imagination! But you know what I don’t care, cause I beat everyone else who was still on the couch, or tucked up in bed, or struggling with the aftermath of the night before. Cause I had the pride of finishing. I had set a baseline time to beat next year. And I very rightly deserved every moment of my afternoon nap!!!
Thanks to Rapid Ascent for putting on a great trail run, in some awesome surrounds. And to my friends who were with me out there, at the start and at the end, its great to know you were there!!
By Blake Hose, Ultra-Runner
When I first met Shane and Richelle a little under 12 months ago, I was blissfully unaware of the amazing experiences that their creative, adventure-addicted minds would have me endure. With open arms they have welcomed me into their world, a world full of enthusiasm, generosity, big dreams and on Shane’s side of things, a touch of masochism. For those that don’t know this wonderful couple, they together engineered the beautiful, selfless creation that is “The Ultra Life”. In leading what they believe is an Ultra Life themselves, this personal project set up by Richelle & Shane enables them to share their love of the outdoors & take people off the beaten track. It`s also a vehicle for sharing their fundraising exploits for The Shake It Up Foundation. Their most notable fundraising effort to date is Shane’s epic 230km non-stop run around the bay. A gruelling task which required him to hobble for the final 70km with a torn soleus, doing what he does best and suffering miserably for the things in life he believes in most. In this case, his suffering lead to him raising an astounding $10,000 for Shake It Up.
The ventures of this project though aren’t all just pain and suffering on Shane’s behalf. Coupling Richelle’s impeccable logistical organizational prowess with Shane’s mighty big hunger for adventure can only result in one thing- mind blowing experiences that are perfectly organized and run like a well-oiled machine. I was recently lucky enough to be a beneficiary of the culmination of these great minds in what was the inaugural Ultra Life Running adventure in New Zealand.
My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when Shane put the idea of this trip forth. I couldn’t help but feel the question of whether I would like to go had a somewhat rhetorical nature… New Zealand? Volcanoes? Running? The Hillary Trail? I was practically on the plane before he had finished the sentence. In the blink of an eye the 3 month wait until our departure date had passed and I was on my way to the airport.
I was truly buzzing with excitement knowing what awaited me just over the ditch in the land of the Kiwi. Soon I would be setting foot in some of the most beautiful wilderness that the oceanic region has to offer us deadset trail fiends. After all, knowing Shane, when he describes something to you as ‘epic’ and ‘ridiculous’ there’s no shade of doubt that it’s going to be exactly that. Plus a little, or a lot more. Upon touching down in Auckland, Richelle’s ridiculously good life skills went to work in getting us on the road, we’d boarded the hire car and we all anxiously awaited our arrival at the pristine (and rather large) Lake Taupo. This would be our base for the first 3 nights of the trip. We stayed in a beautiful little establishment labelled ‘La Vista’, it is a neat and very well fitted out rental home pretty much on the lake itself! The view from the kitchen window was a bit of a tease though, as it allowed us to gaze out at our 2 intended major peaks for the trip. Standing at 2291m was Mt Ngauruhoe and nestled behind is the bigger brother, Mt Ruapehu- possessing a tantalizing peak of 2797m. Much higher than anything we have at our disposal here in Australia, this only further amplified our excitement for what lay ahead.
Friday morning rolled around and with a rather mighty spring in our step and smile on our faces, we boarded Terry (this is what we named our hire car) and set off to the Tongariro Alpine crossing. The main trail of around 19.5km is quite heavily trafficked and actually holds the title of the most popular in New Zealand. This was no deterrent for our Aussie contingent though and the masses of smiling faces around us only added to the jaw dropping atmosphere. The Grand plan for the day was to run from the trail head at Mangatepopo valley, take a detour up Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro then cap it off with the quad busting descent past the breathtaking hot pools to the finish at the Ketetahi car park. With packs clipped in and shoes tied tight, we set off with enthusiasm pouring from every pore of our bodies. We were soon surrounded by vast faces of rugged volcanic rock and scree, like nothing I’d ever witnessed before. It was as though we’d stepped into an entirely different world, a world which I instantly knew I was going to have a serious love affair with!
The trail snaked its way up a short but solid climb past the Soda Springs towards the South Crater that sits at the base of Ngauruhoe. Although very well maintained and easily navigated, the trail held no lack of excitement as it still possessed every aspect that us as trail runners love. We were surrounded by awe inspiring peaks and untamed wilderness, the rock underfoot and zigzagging trail always keeping us alert and guessing what could be next. Funnily enough, the number of people only added to the fun as we got to bounce around like gazelles from side to side, up, down and across as we continued to buzz by the more slowly moving hikers.
Having reached the Southern Crater in a state that could be likened to 4 young children on Christmas eve, a sharp right hand turn off the main trail took us directly towards our first summit bid. It just so happened on this day that the summit was heavily draped in some very ominous looking clouds, allowing us no visibility nor giving us anything to aim for. So we just went upwards! Battling through the deep scree and loose rock underfoot, the terrain wasn’t runnable but it sure as hell was a lot of fun. With our hands on our quads and mouths gasping for air our hiking legs had to come to the fore. The pain was dulled somewhat though by the enthusiasm we were able to share in what we were doing, trudging up what seemed like a vertical wall we were as happy as could be. Exchanging smart-arse remarks and endless comments regarding the sheer beauty of where we were really made the 30mins it took us to do 1km fly by! Yep, there were no speed records being set but maybe a few for crap talked in 1.5hrs….
Nearing closer to the top it became no easier. Each peaking at our watches periodically checking our altitude, the elevation was quickly rising as the temperature was quickly dropping. The dense cloud allowed no warmth of the sun to shine through on the summit, coupling this with strong winds up high, it was how a local may have described as “a but chully”. Reaching the top was like landing on the moon a welcomed sight yet so entirely different to anything we’d all experienced. Validating exactly why we do what we do! With no more than 15m visibility we stood right at the edge of the crater, all keen to catch a glimpse of what our hard work had earned us. Greeted with deep red rock covered in Ice, with cloud howling through- it was nothing short of magical. Our inability to see out across the landscape was irrelevant and the harshness of the conditions only added more enjoyment to the experience. It felt pure and refreshing to see it like this, to have the world feel like it had disappeared from around us was truly unique and enchanting. Something that I hope I get to experience again. Sooner rather than later.
After an abundance of happy snaps, it was much too cold to hang around and so the decent began. What started out slowly, as we cautiously navigated the rocks cloaked in ice, it quickly became an absolutely scintillating express train of trailites bombing downwards on the scree covered slopes. Many odd looks came our way as we trundled downwards making noises reminiscent of a group of overly excited school girls. We were having too much fun to care though. All feeling like little kids again it was full gas to the bottom, shoes and socks heaped with crushed rock, the altitude that had taken so long to gain had vanished in an instant. The fun however, was only just beginning!
From there we ventured to the summit of Mt Tongariro, again we were nothing short of astounded with the incredible views and a much simpler more runnable trail was a welcomed sight. Casting our eyes back to where we’d come from (and with great pride), the summit of Ngauruhoe had completely cleared and was in full sunshine. You know what though, I wasn’t disappointed. Not even in the slightest. The cards we had been dealt on the summit only made it that much more special for us and now we could just enjoy the sunshine on our long, astonishingly beautiful downhill run to the finish!
Focussing intently on the amazing hot springs and breathtaking views across the flatlands, for a few minutes we stumbled rather than gracefully descended, until we again remembered we should focus on the trail underfoot… The last 10km was a long, flowing and smooth descent to the Ketetahi Carpark. I was pleased with the ease of running to finish things off for the day as it really allowed one to just smile and be content with the trail we’d travelled and the many more on our radar…
Ruapehu – the word that had flooded into everybody’s minds by night’s end. Blissfully ignorant of how to actually pronounce it, the one thing we did know is that we wanted to scale this monster and explore every square micro-millimetre that we deemed safe to do so.
The Shane and Terry (van) partnership came to fruition once again, this time taking us a little further than the previous day’s escapade. In contrast to Ngauruhoe - sunshine and clear skies greeted us, filling our spirits with vitality and happiness for the trip to the base of our playground for the day. Planning was done with utter ease, I think Shane’s words were something along the lines of “Let’s just go up… as high as we possibly can”. As expected, this plan prompted no rejections.
Newbies as we were, the decision was made that we’d adopt self- navigation in aiding us to the summit. Something about scrambling through head-high boulders and clambering upward on icey slopes gives us adventure clad folk some seriously sky-high levels of excitement laced with passionate enthusiasm. A start point with an altitude equivalency of the Mt Buffalo Chalet was already stupidly cool – however in fulfilling our desired vertical ascendancy to the summit, we’d be required to double this….. plus a little more.
Metres ticked way as we built tight-knit bonds with our barometers. For they showed us the prizes of our labour in every +M we gained. Feeding our souls increasingly in every step, with the vertical ascent came breath-taking (literally) sights, ear pricking sounds and smells of freshness unparalleled by anything my body had ever been fortunate enough to be a recipient of.
The boulders quickly dissipated into scree as we joyfully traversed higher and higher into the sky. Ice was more prominent at the higher altitude and according to locals is a year-round resident on Ruapehu’s slopes. It was a very distinguishing factor having masses of ice to play on in the peak of summer – just another reason I’d discovered to return in future and indulge once again. 1hr 45mins saw us to the craters edge – standing tall above the clouds it was personally one of the most purely euphoric moments I’ve ever had as a person. It’s tough to put into words, in fact I’d say nearly impossible – to describe how reaching a new summit feels. Exhausting, yes – however rapidly overcoming this is the elation of a new peak, a new achievement, a lasting experience that you can hold onto dearly and carry with you in future explorations. It’s a completely new strength that will carry you to an even higher peak in the future.
The enormity of the summit crater was unable to be truly captured by any pictures we took whilst there, it’s something that has to be seen in person to be able to gain a true respect for its gargantuan proportions. A little summit fever as they call it, had spread through our quartet like wildfire - around us stood peaks on the craters edge higher than those where we were currently situated, this only meant one thing, more exploring needed to be done! Making the most of the glorious views and uninterrupted sunshine – we scurried across the massive bowl of ice below us, from ridge to ridge, we went in search of the highest point accessible in the minimal gear we were utilizing. Hours ticked by as our energy for adventure only grew – time was of absolutely no relevance at times like those and our day would only come to a close when our appetite for epic-ness (particularly Shane’s) had been satiated.
Countless awe-inspiring views greeted us atop numerous rocky, volcanic plateaus. 360 degree views all so impressive it was as though each vast expanse of postcard-worthy eye candy was trying to out-do the next – it was completely endless landscape induced salivation. After navigating a dark, soot coloured slope leading our noses for adventure skyward – our salvation was found in the highest possible altitude that could be attained on the day. Standing 2735m above sea level – a brief silence ensued, not due to lack of breath but due to moments like those epitomising why we do what we do. It’s the essence of our being as trail running adventurers - true happiness is found in these moments.
What goes up, must come down. Sadly this is true for us alpine addicted, vertical loving, lactic accumulating folk, too. One of the many things that had been learnt on the previous days volcanic indulgence though, was that descending Volcanoes is an extraordinary, adrenaline pumping high paced rush of quad battering bliss. Again our route was decided not by the trail but by our own creativity – so naturally we gravitated towards the monstrous scree slope only a stones throw away. Picture a 30-40% negative gradient – perfectly smooth and draped in an idealic depth of loose but utterly runnable scree heaven, ahead of you also a panoramic masterpiece that is the alpine region of the Tongariro national park.
Frolicking downward in leaps and bounds at a rate unconceivable on any different terrain – re-appearing was the bunch of school girls from the day before… I suppose they love the scree, too. Like one of those crazy-good dreams you don’t want to wake up from we’d soon have to break the lustful relationship that had been formed in the 5hrs we’d played on the mountain. It was a harsh departure, though somewhat softened by a big bowl of chips and some sugary beverages at the picturesque little café where the adventure had begun – and would finish for this particular day.
After much reminiscing, food and wonderful company – the day was closed out with a cosy little adventure film session back at ‘La Vista’, it was glaringly obvious the sheer joy that we all now possessed after an astonishing 2 days of adventure. With enthusiasm amplified ten-fold, keenness for it to continue was heightened, so even on our third day of the trip which was our so-called ‘rest day’, 13km was put on the clock around the pristine shores of Lake Taupo. We took in the eye-widening views across the lake from the W2K trail, which in its entirety snakes its way a hefty 45km around the lake. Cruisy gradients coupled with a conversational pace was a very welcome change to our tired legs and gave us all a great chance to reflect on days past and plan for the day ahead…. The Hillary Trail.
The Hillary Trail
Re-fuelled, relaxed and raring to go – the Hillary Trail was at out fingertips (or more-so toes). Nestled away on the rugged coastline only a miniscule drive from Auckland, just 3yrs on since its inception this trail has built itself an incredibly noteworthy reputation. With the likes of Malcom Law vouching it for it as one of the best trails he has ever set foot on – it has quickly become a star attraction of the NZ trail scene. Needless to say, this is a day I’d looked forward to since the trip had come to fruition! The head of this whirlwind adventure trail begins at the Arataki Visitor’s Centre – remarkably close to Auckland itself, access and transport to this beautiful specimen is blissfully simple and an utter no brainer.
Setting off into the wilderness of the Waitakere Ranges along the wild coastline – it was a stark contrast to the desolate volcanic playgrounds to which we’d become accustomed. An absolute plethora of dense forestry teaming with life, countless shades of green glistening as the sun tried to penetrate through the thick canopy around us – it was made obvious instantaneously that on this day we were all going to experience something spectacular. Weaving through the brush with finesse and fluidity – the Hillary was quite tame in the beginning which gave numerous opportunities to gaze around and soak in the atmosphere without having to worry too much about landing on your face due to a protruding tree root or rock. This was a pleasant introduction and allowed us all to get the blood pumping and warmed up for what was to come…
Opening up onto a brief beach section we were blessed with a tide low enough to enable us a scenic little stint of mellow sand running on a typical magnificent New Zealand coastline. To the right lied an abrupt incline leading to untamed peaks that dotted the coast. It felt like an instinctual urge, drawing us towards the unknown trails we knew sat in wait for us to utilize in feeding our addiction.
No longer was it an easily trodden jungle highway of sorts – large, moss draped, roots peered up to us from every direction and lack of sunlight on the forest floor meant that precipitation was going nowhere fast once it had hit home on the trail. It was the stuff of a trail runners dreams – new sights, sounds and technical trail dictated by mother nature, it could only be described as absolute trail purity in its finest form.
The fun was enhanced over and over again as the conditions underfoot toughened –Shane’s recent wish of “We better be going up that!” came true – at an alarming rate. We were most certainly “going up that” as the next 1km would have us gain 300m in elevation – for those of you who know a little about distance:vertical ratios – this one was epic. A far cry from the flat beach we’d traversed earlier - the trail continued to wind along a pronounced ridge containing endless entertainment as we bounced over roots, scaled short steep rock faces and let go and fly down winding leaf littered descents.
The next destination on our Radar was the 21km point where we’d meet Richelle and Cate – this would also be the finish line for Shane’s apprentice Landscaper, Andrew Penaluna, or ‘Penascapes’ as we like to call him. Andrew had proven in our time on the mountains that he was a seriously tough fella – coming from a more inactive background it was Shane’s influence that sparked the fire within him to get out on the trails. It’d be fair to say that it’s one more victim to the addiction of the trail running drug. I’m sure that as his explorations expand he will certainly make quite a swift trailite – an ability to suffer coupled with sheer enthusiasm and an easy going sense of adventure – he’ll be surprising himself and others in no time.
Approaching our “checkpoint” – the spectacularly mind-blowing nature of the trail only amplified with the overhead canopy clearing into a lower coastal shrubbery perching us on a cliff top reminiscent of those you see in only the most breathtaking movies. It was a very surreal moment and strongly represents the essence of what trail ‘running’ really is – it’s an adventure within ourselves, searching for new places to see, hills to climb and to find the incredible beauty that lies all around the world in places only accessible by using our own human power. I felt utter fulfilment as we stood together staring out with wind blowing in our faces and rich blue waters reflecting the purity of the blue sky above.
The following 11km of trail from …. To Karekare almost felt like home in some ways – the trail characteristics bared a remarkable resemblance to that of Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk – a trail here in Australia which too, is completely breathtaking and a must-do!
Having been outrageously spoilt in our time on this trail – we’d most definitely captured the sense of adventure Edmund Hillary represented. In no way were there any shortcomings to our expectations – it had more so glaringly exceeded them on every level of our imaginations. Sad to see the day end, though pretty darn knackered and full of contentment - a smashing 1800m of vertical, 1000’s of tree roots, countless magnificent views, flowing descents and leg battering ascents were all behind us having reached our exit at 34km in Karekare.
How to conclude the adventure that had just been endured? It’s much too difficult to paint a picture vivid enough to compare with what I’d experienced. Physically being there and doing what we had done is the only way you can grasp the sheer beauty of New Zealand’s majestic wilderness. From a runners perspective I think part of what makes the experience of running in a place like this so much more appealing, is that It really takes away the whole ‘running’ aspect, truly allowing you to immerse yourself in a mindset of adventure rather than training. Seeking out new sights, sounds, smells, completely revitalising all your bodies senses. As much as I love to run, to train hard and be competitive, I think that times like these are invaluable as an athlete. Disregarding how long it would take, or how far we were going to go, I was able to let go of anything telling me to ‘push’ or to continue running rather than stopping to take pictures and just enjoy the moment. In being able to do this, it gives a whole new perspective on learning to just ‘be’ in the mountains and on the trail, rather than only ever using them as a training platform…..
So thank you once again Shane and Richelle, for it’s the buzzing hives of adventure activity that is their brains which allowed this rad running adventure. I can’t recommend this trip highly enough!
Something to conclude with-
I think part of what makes the experience of running in a place like this so much more appealing, is that It really takes away the whole ‘running’ aspect, truly allowing you to immerse yourself in a mindset of adventure rather than training. Seeking out new sights, sounds, smells, completely revitalising all your bodies senses. As much as I love to run, to train hard and be competitive, I think that times like these are invaluable as an athlete. Disregarding how long it would take, or how far we were going to go, I was able to let go of anything telling me to ‘push’ or to continue running rather than stopping to take pictures and just enjoy the moment. In being able to do this, it gives a whole new perspective on learning to just ‘be’ in the mountains and on the trail, rather than only ever using them as a training platform. I definitely feel that in having learnt this, it has greatly improved my mindset going forward with my ‘training’ in the mountains.
By Richelle Olsen, 19 February 2014
Someone asked me recently “So when are you going to do something for yourself, everything you are doing at the moment is for Shane.” Which made me wonder...is that really what people think?
I’d like to say it doesn’t matter what others think, but we all know the reality on that front.... My answer to her went along the lines of this....I don’t do what I do with The Ultra Life for Shane, I do what I do to follow my own dreams, and to build on the dreams that Shane and I have together. It might seem that I am the one slaving away, doing all the logistics, organisation and support of all our events, and Shane gets to be the poster boy who gets to go out and do what he loves most, running. Yes, all this is true, but the bit thats not so obvious is the thrill I get from organising, I love making a plan, and seeing it succeed. To be honest I kinda thrive on the power too. Shane gets to do what he loves, running, and I get to build a little empire around us. It helps that I love him to death too! It’s a win-win-win!
Logistics seem so boring....where do I get my buzz? The start of 2014 has been kinda nuts, here’s what I’ve been organising...
The Ultra Life Fundraisers:
Oh, I have a full time job too!
Still you ask, that sounds like hell, wheres the buzz?
My buzz is doing a lil dance every time I get an email saying another ticket sold to the Trail Run.
My buzz is the satisfaction that I have built my own website (and designed my own logos), something I’ve been wanting to do for as long as I remember
Its receiving amazing emails of support for what we are doing from total strangers
Its coming home after work to find hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of Clif Bar products in a box at my front door..Walked like an Egyptian on that one
Its each and every single donation we get for Shake It Up, if only you could see the little Irish jig that goes on behind closed doors when we get a new donation!
Its Karen from Woolies ringing to say they will give us $50 for the snags in bread! Macarena!
Its asking Moxie Gear for some of their awesome gaiters for free, and them saying what’s your address...definitely worth a Hokey Pokey.
My buzz is feeling like its Xmas when unwrapping the new state of the art ultralight hiking tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, with a combined worth of more that many first cars, generously donated by Bogong Equipment
Its Shannon from Par Avion telling me he will fly me into Melaluca in a tiny plane at a highly discounted rate, just so I can spend the night in the wilderness with my boy, and feed him some decent food!
Its Gerd who owns some of the most luxurious beach houses on the north coast of Tassie, offerring one of his Azzure Beach Houses to Shane and I for a night for the Tassie Traverse, entirely for free!
Its people liking The Ultra Life on Facebook......that warrants a great sprinkler rendition, and for those who actually subscribe to the newsletter, lookout Nutbush here we come!
But all in all, Im not sure that theres a dance to describe seeing the elated grins on 4 faces after climbing one of the most spectacular mountains in NZ....
Theres a LOT of effort in everything I do, with what seems proportionally to be little reward....but the rewards are awesome, and most days theres a jig of some description going on......it may be a little like a drug, but I love it.
THERES THE BUZZ!!
Want your own buzz, but don't know where to start? Drop me a line, always happy to lend a hand to anyone looking to organise their own events!
by Shane Hutton August 2012
Well it had been a long build up and a nervous wait but the day was finally here..L day. So after about 2 hours sleep on the Friday night we got up 2.15am sat. made some toast and an optimizer and jumped in the car for our drive from Silverthorne to Leadville approx 40Min. Arrived nice and early like i like to do, milled around drinking my optimizer and only managed 1 piece of toast. It was pretty cold morning but nothing too bad had my jacket and long sleeves on and was warm enough. The atmosphere was fantastic 802 runners all pumped and happy to be there ready to put their bodies on the line everybody knowing the reputation that Leadville has, only half of the field would finish this very challenging event, I was there to be one of them.
The countdown happened and before we knew it we were off, mind you with 802 runners it was a slow start (walking) but I was not bothered by this it was going to be a long day and night so plenty of time. We jogged down the boulevard with people everywhere trying not to trip or stumble and end our day early. There were people outside of their houses cheering for us there was music blaring from cars and houses. As we crested the boulevard we could already see the front runners probably an easy 700 mtr in front with a stream of headlamps in front and behind us it was one of the best things I have seen.
We slowly made our way down to Turquoise Lake trying very hard to keep a slow pace, I had to make a quick pit stop along with several hundred people darting off into the bushes all over the place, part of the joys of a well hydrated body. It was at this point I lost my good friend Michael Collins, we had agreed to run our own race and if one person stops go on. This was the last time I saw him until the halfway point in the race. After about an hr or more of running we finally got off the roads and onto some sweet sweet single track following the lake around. The trail was undulating with plenty of obstacles in the way, roots, rocks and plenty of other runners.
We would hit a small rise and the front runner would walk causing me to nearly crash into the person in front of me then a massive bottleneck would occur. Very hard to not get frustrated in these early stages knowing that you can run faster. I came into CP1 10 min behind my plan but that was fine there was plenty of time to catch up. I dropped my jacket and Ay Up lights off, but opted to keep my long sleeve shirt on as it was still relatively cool. I had a quick word with my amazing crew, asked if MC had come through, grabbed my small drop bag of gels and off I went onto CP2.
The running was getting better now the field had started to space out a bit so you could actually get a nice pace up and the single trail was amazing beautiful pine trees and birch`s all along the trail, and plenty of rocks and roots to trip you over if you weren't careful. By this point we had descended from 10,200 to 9,600ft and it was almost time to make our first real ascent for the race up Sugarloaf pass getting back up to 11,071ft. I was excited to finally see the first real climb and to my surprise it was pretty easy. I slowed to a fast paced walk and enjoyed the sun finally hitting me and warming me up. I kept my Heart Rate low and powered up stopping about halfway to turn and look at Turquoise lake it was amazing to see how high we had got and I was again surprised at how quickly I had got there with little effort. I summited and looked at my HR somehow it was still very low and I was not having any breathing difficulties, I guess the altitude training was paying off.
Now it was time to face the first real descent Powerline. Anyone who knows anything about Leadville has heard about Powerline, I had big expectations of this elusive Ascent/Descent. I reminded myself that I am a good descender and have strong legs but take it very easy as blowing straight down this could blow my quads for the rest of the race. I reminded myself of my new mantra taken from Karnazes book RUN " For the first 50 mile be the fish, let the other runners catch you and pass. In the second 50 mile be the Fisherman, start reeling those runners in" So all the way down Powerline I reminded myself go easy, go easy, go easy don't destroy the quads. I got to the bottom pretty quick and very easily I was very happy so far sticking with my plan.
We popped out from Powerline and had another short road section to run before hitting CP2 Fish Hatchery. Coming into this aid station was amazing the amount of people was ridiculous, all shouting and cheering it was fantastic felt more like a crowd at an Ironman event than an ultramarathon hahaha. My crew found me quickly and again it was a quick change into a singlet and I switched to my nathan belt with an Optimizer and some water. The next section was short only around 5 km where I would meet my crew again and do a bigger change.
This section of the run to CP3 was along a road so I decided this is where I would practice a little of my run /walk strategy to try save a little energy. I met up with another runner who had completed Leadville before and he was adopting the same method, he guaranteed me this was the right way to go about finishing the race even though we had a lot of other runners passing us. we got into CP3 and it turns out that the time I had lost at the start I had made up, I was almost exactly on my planned time. I was not overly happy to hear this news as it meant that at some stage I had sped up and was running too fast and made up the lost time. Never mind I was not going to beat myself up over this. Another mantra that comes into my head often is one I learnt being a diver " Plan your dive and dive your plan" so slightly modified to to say race, this rings very true for me it is something I continually work on.
I made the change back to my pack with a few extra rations as this section was going to be around 21 km long with a fair percentage being uphill. I left treeline after seeing my amazing crew and having covered a little over my first marathon. I felt good, fresh legs still, getting a bit hot by this point in time though, I was looking for the shady parts on the trail. I ran and walked the up hills feeling happy with my splits and then around the 52 km mark I had my first low point. It was interesting because I really was not expecting it until this point I had been feeling great. So I continued on knowing it would pass and be the first of what I hoped to be only a few. We continued on a slight uphill for longer than I had thought but it was ok because it was only gradual.
We then came to a small aid station stocking fluids only and they told us it was only 3 miles downhill to Twin Lakes the lowest point of the race 9200ft. I remember asking another runner if they were serious that it was 3 miles (5km) downhill. I was shocked to think we had climbed so high with ease. Before I knew it I could see twin lakes and we came running down a very steep section of trail into the aid station.
It was another amazing aid station people everywhere cheering and music blaring it was great. My crew were there and all set up with chairs ( which I was not allowed to sit on until Halfway) and everything i needed. I told them I had been really hot and they rubbed sunscreen on me gave me my pre packed drop bags and ipod and sent me on my way to Hope Pass. This part I was excited for I could see the monster mountain 12,600ft in front of me and had waited all morning to get there. I put my music on and powered toward it. I had trained hard doing altitude sessions with Tri Alliance and running every hill and mountain at home. Nothing compared to this altitude. Funnily enough I was soon half way up it passing other runners sitting and taking a break, I made sure I encouraged all of them to keep going. There was an amazing river flowing down the side, the trees were beautiful and flowers and the single track ahhhhhhhhh just amazing.
I was about 3/4 up when Anton Kupricka passed me on the way back ( race leader) flying down, crazy to see how fast these guys moved. Another 6min up and Thomas the eventual winner passed me with Anna Frost pacing him. I wound my way up the side of the mountain with relative ease not breathing to hard and keeping my HR around the 130-140bpm. I was happy next thing I knew I was at the Hopeless aid station. There were Llamas and volunteers everywhere it was really quite a site very cool. I grabbed a cup of water tipped it on my head and kept walking. I was not stopping till I summitted about another 1km. I got stuck in a little traffic but that was ok they were still moving fast enough, again I was being very wary not to push too hard. I got to the summit and had a look back at twin lakes it was amazing such a great view and with Mount Hope and Mount Elbert ( Tallest mountain in Colorado) right next to us it was very cool.
I started my descent and immediately had to start dodging runners coming the other way, I was always careful to give them right of way. In a number of places the trail had become very thin and I had to climb up the side to get out of the way. There were plenty of sharp switchbacks and rocks and obstacles to trip on. I made sure I cheered the return runners and continued to get out of the way these people are amazing super humans. It was just above the treeline on my descent that I came across Mike Le Roux another aussie but he is in the elite category and doing the Grand Slam. He was on his return and had his pacer Pete with him. He was looking pretty good and I wished him luck.
I dropped into the treeline and continued my way down when I became very nauseaous. I am only guessing this was the altitude. I then came across Matt Meckenstock another aussie I had met before the race. He was on his return trip also and looking very strong. We had a short chat and went on our ways. I was super impressed at how fast he was and hoped he could keep it up. By this point I felt like I was stopping every 2min to let someone by I guess its a part of racing an out and back on single trail. I was by this point feeling really sick and hoping to get to Winfield aid station quickly. The next section of trail was new for this year and it meant we did not have to run along the road into Winfield
After what seemed an eternity I finally arrived at Winfield. Physically I felt great but the nausea was killing me, I was also very hot. It was the hottest run/ weather I had had in a long time. The girls were great the drop bag was ready but I wanted nothing from it not even my special homemade pizza. After a toilet break and a longer than expected sit down break it was time to turn and head back up Hope pass. Again I had been really looking forward to this part of the race as I had heard that it was a huge test of willpower and endurance.
I walked out of the aid station with Richelle carrying my pizza and quietly urging me to eat something as I had not eaten anything. M.C had come into the aid station shortly after me and was also having a slightly longer break. As R and I walked out to where the trail started again I was still dry retching every few minutes and decided I needed 1 final little rest before starting the climb. I ate a couple of very small mouthful's of pizza and MC came out of the aid station and we started walking together. I told Richelle to head back and I would be ok and see her at Twin Lakes in about 4 hrs.
So we started the long arduous trek back up Hope pass running more than I had on the way down. Still pausing briefly to dry retch every 5/10 minutes. This was going to be a long 55 miles :) On the return people had picked up their pacers and they were full of energy. It was great we had a convoy of about 20 runners all making their way back up the pass behind us, pacers singing and joking 1 of them even had a small radio. We got around 800 mtr from the summit and I pulled too the side and put my long sleeve top and jacket on. I decided to do this before the summit knowing it was going to be windy and cold as soon as we got there.
All the runners and pacers went by and it was quite nice to stop and look back on the mountains where we had just come from. The sun was now setting and the colours on the mountains were amazing something I won't forget for a very long time. I reached the summit grabbed some soup with mash potato in it ( weird ) but surprisingly tasty and found MC. We had a sit down and enjoyed the Llamas and scenery around us. Absolutely amazing you could see twin lakes down at 9200ft. I managed to get the cup of soup down and felt better almost straight away. This was the first thing I had eaten in around 3-4hrs.
I took the lead and started running down the beautiful single trail with MC and started to work on making up a bit of time. Finally I thought it had passed and this would be it I could still make it to the finish in a descent time. As we were descending the few blisters I had started to irritate me a little more until I felt one of them pop. Wow that hurt haha the first time I had ever had to deal with blisters, not bad until they pop mid descent. Anyway I put it to the back of my mind and thought if that`s all I have to contend with then I could live with it.
After running down for an hour or so the nausea came back :( Man was I shattered once again the pace dropped off and I stopped here and there to try to vomit but nothing. We put our headlamps on in anticipation for the night and continued down this amazing single trail passing runners. It was a nice quick descent and aside from the blisters physically feeling really good still so I was happy. The nausea continued and I just kept running/walking and hoping it would go away soon.
We ran back into Twin Lakes aid station on the return where I met the girls and decided to change shoes as we had just crossed the last river crossing and it was beginning to get dark and cold. I put a blister pad on the big blister on my heel and a band aid on my big toe where another blister had popped and a new one had reformed on top without me even realising it hahaha. I put my Ay Up headlamp on and some warm clothes and headed back out with M.C. We probably stopped for around 10min but it was worth a longer stop to change shoes. I didn`t need to grab any-more food as I had not eaten anything except the soup since the last aid station.
So off we went again making our way back up the 3 mile ascent to Mt Elbert aid station. Not a lot changed for me kept feeling nauseas trying to vomit over and over again, not getting any food in and hardly any fluid. M.C and I continued to run/walk together and it started to get cold. It had reached around 25/27 degrees during the day and after a long cold winter in Melbourne I had really felt the heat so now it was dropping down to around 2 degrees I was sure starting to feel the cold. Our progress had definitely slowed down but we were happy as it felt like the fastest pace to be doing without a risk of blowing up.
We came across other runners occasionally and talked and ran and it lifted everyone's spirits for a while. We went through Mt Elbert and had another 7ish miles until Halfpipe aid station. By this time I had put on all my warm clothes,beanie and gloves as the temp was dropping quickly. We could hear the aid station well before we got there. They once again had music and a lot of volunteers there and made us feel like superstars as we got in there. They had a huge mix of foods hot soup, chocolates and dry biscuits. Again I hadn't really eaten anything since leaving twin lakes. I kept trying to get small amounts in every hour now instead of half hour. I think I had eaten 4 oreo biscuits since the last checkpoint.
We had a quick stop at Halfpipe aid station and I tried some more soup and a handful of m&m`s. This again proved to be a bad idea I continued to dry retch for ages and threw away half my handful of m&m`s :( As we walked and ran along a runner in front of us was pointing out the stars we turned our headlamps off and had a look upwards, it was amazing being in the mountains with no other lights around and the stars were so bright. It certainly took my mind off the nausea even if it was for just a few minutes. We made it into Treeline and had to have a short search around for the girls. Because it was night time it was hard to work out who was who. By this point I was freezing and had been shivering for about the last hour.
I put my skins on and an extra thermal top. It was only 5km to Fish hatchery aid station along a pretty flat stretch of road so my sister ( Jo) came along for a run/walk. Jo was a great pacer non stop talking the whole way. M.C and I did a bit of jogging here and there but every time I started I just felt sick and wanted to throw up. I continued to stop regularly dry retch and then keep going. M.C started running and I told him just to keep going I would see him further on. We watched his light continue to disappear into the distance until it was gone. Jo was talking and talking it was great except she kept coming back to food. There was nothing I wanted to hear less about than food. She managed to convince me that I should eat a Saltine cracker ( 1/4 of a salty SAO )
I think this was the first thing I had eaten in around 8hrs. It was dry as but at least it was something. After I ate it a few minutes later I felt like I could run a bit, it had settled my stomach some what, I am not sure how much this was a mental thing or whether it had actually done something but it didn't matter I finally got something in. Jo was still talking hahaha just giving me continual support and making me run as much as I could ( which wasn't a lot ) I was happy to walk it in to Fish Hatch as we were about 3 hrs up on the final cut off time and were averaging a Min/km pace.
We got there and I was still freezing so put my tracksuit pants on. It was the last warm thing I had with me to put on. Richelle told me that MC had been in around 3 Min before. I went through the aid station quickly and started to head out toward the infamous climb back up Powerline. Richelle joined me for this section to the turn-off approx 2km. Again it was on fairly flat road. It was really great to have Richelle walk along this part with me to experience a small part of the actual run. We got to the turnoff and R turned around and headed back and I put my iPod on and headed toward Powerline.
I took off 1 jumper and put my head down and powered up the hill passing a lot of runners at this stage. I am pretty sure this was the fastest pace I had moved in hours. I enjoy hill/mountain climbing and was feeling a bit better. Before I knew it I had passed all the runners that I could see and was on the trail alone for the first time in a long time. I took my iPod off and continued to make my way up. I was enjoying listening to my own footsteps and breathing which at no point had become laboured. Again I was happy with how I was physically feeling but just disappointed with the nausea.
It was somewhere along here that I looked up and could not see or hear anybody, I actually became a little nervous thinking perhaps I had strayed off course? While I had my head down and was buried in my own thoughts, had I missed a glow stick?? I slowed right down and turned around I even turned my headlamp off to see if I could see anyone else coming. Nothing ... I decided to walk on for a bit peering as far into the distance as I could searching for a hint of life or a glow stick or a bit of marker tape. All the while thinking : How could I get lost ? Where would I of missed the turn? Am I that bad with directions??? Do I just wait for somebody?
Then there it was a little bit of tape ahhhhh my saviour hahaha a small piece of marking tape. Then I saw a glow stick. So I powered on and as I rounded the summit and the next bend I came across a runner and his pacer ahhh the joy of seeing someone else around 2am ish. I said hi and had a small chat but these guys were slowing down and the runner decided it was time for a sit. I was feeling ok at this point I had managed to get a couple of saltines in and was feeling somewhat refreshed. I was also excited because I had just summited Powerline without any trouble at all. The pain started as I started to descend Sugarloaf.
I was jogging down ( not at any great pace) but I could see a group of lights in front of me of about 5-6 runners. They were all walking and having a great old chat. I came up on them fairly quickly and as I was just getting to them I could see one was MC. We said hello and had a short chat whilst jogging but he was not moving so well, It seemed his knee had seized up a bit and he was having a lot of trouble descending. I told him I was not going to wait because I did not know how long I could keep jogging for and we parted ways.
I ran on for about 10min and kept turning to look for him but his light had disappeared in amongst the trees. Now that we were back on steep technical single trail I was having to be a lot more careful with my foot placements and really concentrate on every step. I had become pretty sore also over the last 25km or so and the feet and knees were beginning to hurt every time I took a step. This was new territory for me I had never run this far before. It was exciting but oh so painful.
The descent into Mayqueen aid station seemed to drag on forever. There were so many rocks and obstacles that I really had to concentrate on to make sure I didn't fall over. Every step was so painful and I was wishing the descent would be over. The other trouble was I had no idea where I was in regards to the cut off. I thought to myself a few times that I would be happy if I missed the cut, I had no doubt I had given it my all and this all we can hope for in a race. Unfortunately I was still feeling terribly nauseous and could not handle the thought of food. I did however manage to get a saltine in here and there and small sips of water.
Finally I crossed the little bridge and there was Richelle waiting for me. Oh what a relief I was sooo happy. She quickly informed me that I was an hour in-front of the cut. At this point I was feeling like I was going to pass out from lack of calories. It was a horrible feeling. Richelle grabbed me and we walked down to the aid station where I grabbed 3 very small pancakes and ate 1 and started to dry retch hahaha of course I couldn't eat what was I thinking. We had pre arranged for R to pace me for the next 9km as it was a fairly flat part of the track and with only 21km to go ( Really 24) it would be great for some company.
R worked out the pace we needed to be doing I had 21k and 4hrs to do it in so we worked on a 10min/k pace. Sounded great in theory until the amount of time that I spent stopping to dry retch slowed me down wayyyy to much. I could hardly run at this pace and any small incline I had to walk it was like climbing a mountain hehehehe. R was great she was pushing me and we ran for what felt like forever ( 3km). It was still freezing cold but the lake looked amazing the sun was slowly creeping up and there was fog over the lake. At this point I kept looking at my watch thinking I am not going to make it, there is no way I can make it.
R kept pushing me and telling me that we could do it. All I thought was how helpless I was to my own body as hard as I tried I just could not go any faster. All this and I was not going to make it, I was shattered. R did her best to stop me thinking this way but it was hard, I just could not see how I would make it. I kept thinking about MC and occasionally thought knowing him and his never say die attitude he would just come running past any minute. I ran/walked/dry retched my way along the beautiful single trail around Turquoise Lake not taking in any of the scenery. Head down feeling sorry for myself still trying to get some food in.
I decided we needed to keep pushing as hard as we could so it was time to muscle down one of my favourite Endura gels and have a crack. I had not come all this way and made it to 150km to get a DNF next to my name. I got the gel down stopped retched a few times then started running. We got to Tabor boat ramp where the car was and jo was ready to take over and pace me to the finish line. I off loaded my headlamp as the sun had come up and continued with Jo. She was raring to go so excited and again non stop talking. I quickly reminded her I did not want to hear about food so she was straight onto the saltines my new found saviour.
I got a couple down and we managed a bit of a run. Every time the sun hit us it was like a little bit of energy came back. By this point I had been running for 27-28hrs, I was slowly feeling stronger and more awake.. We ran and walked passed a few runners that looked worse than I did a few throwing up on the trail. That didn't help haha Jo made sure I stayed with her and kept reinforcing the fact we would make it. Even though I still was not convinced I knew the trail still had some ascent to get back to 10,200ft where we started. Jo kept talking and talking and focusing on the job at hand all of a sudden the sun was up and I was hot. I took off layer after layer and eventually got down to just 1 top and my skins. Ahhhh what a difference some sunshine can do.
Poor Jo was starting to look like my pack horse. She kept powering on and talking enough for the both of us I think I had managed a few grunts and groans maybe even a word or 2. We had got off the single trail and were now on fire trail which meant we should not be far from the finish. We came to a fairly decent hill which to my surprise I managed to power up at a 6min k pace in the process I dropped Jo and passed a half dozen or so runners. Poor Jo she had not run or walked this far in a long time and now I was feeling a bit better I took off hahaha.
I asked her what the time was and for the first time in the entire race I knew I was going to make it. I got a tear in my eye. It was the best feeling ever I knew it WE HAD DONE IT. I was going to finish. I told Jo and she laughed " Of course you're going to make it " as if it was never in doubt. That was it I was now running and power hiking the fastest I had moved in hours. It was time to finish. I looked at my watch and it said we done 159km but the finish was nowhere in site. We could vaguely hear it and passed a few people telling us it was around 2 more miles. Damn that hurts. I was frustrated by this and got a little annoyed.
We met up with R rounded 2 corners and there it was THE FINISH about 1.5km up the boulevard. I had arranged with jo and Richelle to meet me before the finish so that we could cross together. This had been a team effort and without them there was no way I would've finished this race. I started running again and had so many emotions it was crazy. In 5 minutes the ride would be over. We had done it We finished Leadville. We crossed that line together and Merrilee Chlouber gave me a hug congratulated me and gave me my finishers medal. What a feeling. I had finished 100 miles after the disappointment of DNF`ing The Alpine 100 miler earlier this year I was soo happy.
We walked out of the finishers area and sat down under a tree. I was just in total disbelief I could not believe it was over and I had done it. I think I sat there for about an hour shaking my head and working out what hurt more. That was it, it was over.
I want to thank my CREW Richelle and Jo I could not of finished this race without you guys. You have no idea what it meant to me to have the both of you there and all your amazing support and continual belief in me was something I wish more people could experience. So after 29 and a half hours we crossed the finish line. 55miles approx 18hrs of severe nausea never actually vomiting, countless hours of shivering and 163km with 15,600ft of ascent and descent and a lot of lessons learnt, friends made and it was over.
What`s NEXT :)
Unfortunately MC `s knee decided to swell up and seize completely at the final aid station 88 miles. He tried to go on but could not bend it or put weight on it. He had made it further than he had ever run before and did not give up without a fight. I know how hard this decision would of been for him and am in no doubt the decision would not of been made easily. Better luck at the next one mate.
Shane's an ultra runner and La Sportiva Ambassador, with a taste for adventure, always up for a new and different challenge.