Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011

Event Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011
Date 1 April 2011
Distance 100 km
Location Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Weather Sunny, 20 Degrees Celsius
Site Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011 – Site [/dcs_link]
GPX Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 2011 100KM

Oxfam TRAILWALKER is the world’s greatest team challenge. And it’s also one of the toughest. The challenge is to get your team of four across 100km of Australian bush in less than 48 hours – and collectively, to raise at least $1,000 to help to overcome poverty and suffering around the world. This years Melbourne Trailwalker was an 8 stage run (walk) between Wheelers Hill (Jells Park) and Warburton (Wesburn Park).

The Beginning

Participating in the Oxfam Trailwalker was a goal I set a couple of years ago, but never did I realize that I would be participating in this years event. I have been training for the 60 km Wilsons Prom for the last couple of month, but due to unfortunate floods and wash outs in the Wilsons Prom mid March did I see this race been canceled. I heard about the cancellation last week Sunday evening, after completing two 30 kilometer trail runs in the weekend. With the training in bag, I started looking for the next available opportunity to release the energy. Googling around I discovered the singles board on the Oxfam Trailwalker website, were just a few minutes before my arrival team Oxford Education posted a search for a fourth person. Well, the rest is history. After a brief (but thorough) interrogation, I was officially accepted by the team, and saw myself staring in the face of a massive 100 km run for the first time ever. It must have been the team motto “under train and over perform” that selected me!

Jells Park to Churchill National Park (CP1) 12.5 km (12.5 km total)

Our team was lined up for the first wave to start at 7:00 AM in the early morning. The forecast was excellent with blue skies, and cool temperatures. Only a possible shower to develop in the late afternoon. In short, perfect running conditions. Since I have met my team members only once before for maybe half an hour, I had some difficulty locating them. Registration was only possible with the team complete, while I came extra early so I could get the 4th team member name change registered. Not so. Long wait. Very cold. Good tip, bring your support crew with you at the start and snuggle up in warm cloth, blankets, or anything else you can get your hands on!

Once I found my team members, the process was straight forward. Everyone gets a bib in a different color (still not sure why that is), you get a plastic colored tag around your arm (the same, maybe for when you end up in hospital?) and of you go to the start line. Since there are plenty of teams walking the distance, it is advisable to start as for in front as you can get. Somehow however, we managed to get ourselves settled in the very back of the lot, and from there we heard that this years track was slightly longer than advertised. 108 kilometers rather than the promised 100km. There went the schedule. (It was indeed longer than 100. My Garmin recorded 105.9 km). Must have been the Aprils fool day at work.

BANG!!! And of we went. And immediately the team split up in four individual runners, with the common goal of getting at the front a.s.a.p. This meant running over the wet grass side surface, and burning lots and lots of energy. Anyway, my heart rate was soon up in the 160, while trying to stay up with my team. Once up front, I mean, in front of the walkers the pace settled down to a steady 5:30 min/km. Much more comfortable, and all of a sudden very enjoyable. The track follows the Dandenong Creek, and for me the very first time I run this part ever. Very peaceful, wit the sun rising, the fog clearing, and a whopping 10x kilometers in front of us.

Checkpoint was merely a tent to register your arrival, no support crews allowed. An uneventful happening, but who cares, there is still plenty of running in front of us. Lets go!

Churchill National Park to Lysterfield Lake (CP2) 9.5 km (22 km total)

A very small stage, which I remember well because of the beautiful views of the rolling hills, some kangaroos, and the first hill. Decision time here. Do we have the discipline to walk the uphills (which was after all a part of our strategy)? Indeed no problem, we walked up the hill, and were treated by a great view 360 degrees around Melbourne and the Dandenong Ranges. An excellent opportunity to organize a group photo, with still fresh faces.

- more to come –

One comment

  • April 4, 2011 6:54 amPosted 7 years ago
    Steve Whittington

    What a great effort Erwin! Wow – over 2k of vertical throughout the 100ks, just to make it even tougher! Well done for finishing this challenge in such good form and in such an amazing time.


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