Maroondah Dam Trail Runs 2011

Event Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2011
Date 20 February 2011
Distance 30 & 50km
Location Healesville, Victoria, Australia
Weather Cloudy, 17 Degrees Celsius
Site Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2011 – Site
GPX Maroondah Dam Trail Run 30K

A very early start for the 50km runners (8:00 AM), and a more respectable time for the 30 km (9:30 AM in the bus) 10:00 o’clock start.

This description is for the 30 km ‘fun run’ option. After having read all the grueling stories from last years event with temperatures soaring into the 40′s, I thought a careful tryout before the full Monty was probably a good idea.

The weather this year was made for running. Temperatures around the 16 degrees, mainly cloudy, some sun and heaps of fog up Mount St Leonard.

And the gun went off, that is, Brett the organizer counted down from 5, and of we went. If you think to come to the Maroondah Trail Run for an easy flat race, then think again. Straight from the get go the direction was forwards and upwards. Not even the service roads were selected for the route, but wherever possible, the adjoining track was selected. With the first 7 or 8 kilometers of mainly going up, it was no wonder that many selected for the walking option after the initial adrenalin was burned up. The trail snaked nicely through (very) green bush and giant mountain ashes. Quite a sight, if you could get your eyes of the trail for a second, that is.

The first aid station was scheduled at the 25km (5km) point, but for some reason did not show up for at least another 4 more kilometers. Quite a bit a walk for a young lady who must have strained a muscle and was limping badly early on.

The aid stations were the best!! A huge selection of snacks, oranges, bananas, melon, jelly beans, chips, chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches on demand, water and sports-drink!!! And this was to be repeated on all the aid stations (4 in total)!

Soon after leaving the first aid station it was time to get a rhythm going. The ‘up only’ had changed for ‘slightly undulating’ allowing for some proper running. By this time the weather decided to make a statement, in the form of a proper down poor! The result of the rain was soon discovered, with muddy trails up but especially down the Mt St Leonard trail portion.

Just before the highest point we were treated on another aid station, and then on over the fence up a really steep and rocky trail. I heard a lady asking if she has mistakenly signed up for a mountain climb that she didn’t know anything about! Due to the 2009 bush fires, there was still lots of black ash around, which happily transformed itself, with the help of the rain, into a slippery trail. Together with the large loose rocks it made for quite a spectacle.

Once over the top, a 9 km downhill arrived on the menu. For a few minutes you are pleased that finally you can relax the lungs a bit, and just let yourself go, but this soon changes as the easy service road intersect with a trail,which of course had to be selected. Nice smooth gravel, changes in muddy boulders. Up changes in a near vertical drop. Jummy!! The fivefingers had a bit of a slippery experience here, but I am sure the normal shoes had the same experience. I have seen quite a few people make a slip here!

By now the rain has made way for very foggy conditions, which made the trail mystical and spectacular. You see a a few heads bobbing in front of you, quickly disappearing into nothingness. Nice!

The downhill portion kept on going for another 9 kilometers, and just when you think the hammies had it for the day, the very final aid station shows up. The final kilometer took as past a canal, over the Maroondah Dam, and down into the finish chute, with heaps of people gathering around and cheering on all the finishers. This year a all finishers were surprised with a medal, displaying the local kookaburra. Nice tough!

Many thanks to Brett the race director, and hope to come back next year (19th February 2012)
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