The Tan Ultra Marathon - 50KM - 2011 - Report

I am still not sure why I ended up in this race. I love to go out for runs in the bush on the trails, but here was that event from Trails+, that organizes the best of trail runs, to come and run around the well known Tan Track in the hart if Melbourne.

The Tan Track is a loop of around 4.5 kilometers around the Melbourne Botanical Gardens, and is used by runners of all sorts of live pretty much non stop. It doesn’t matter what time you get to the Tan, there are sure enough a few runners looping around.

It is also not a very easy loop. Running it clock wise, the majority of the trail is a very slow down hill, but what goes down has to go up, so there is this stretch of about 400 meters that goes up rather steeply. See what that feels like after a round or 12!

This years event has three distances: 30, 50 and 100 kilometers. Can you just imagine looping around this trail 24 times? That also means you have to pass the finish line 23 times, which comes back as mind over matter issue. I was glad that I had opted for the 50 kilometers only (although I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself at the start line for the 100 next year).

So what is it like to run around in loops? Before the start I didn’t think I was going to lie it too much, just because I am more used to running around over long lasting trails. But to be honest it felt kinda good. After looping around a few times you get to know the terrain. You know where to walk, were the water station are, where you can let go. It is sort of relaxing to count down the loops.

In my case I walked up the steep part, and looked forward to it in the final stages of the race. I am a believer in the run – walk routine, but hardly ever practice this routine on races. Well, maybe at the end of a race, where the going gets tough, but that is the whole point. If one would run and have walk stops, you are not supposed to fatigue as much as after continuous running. This was the first race where I (was forced to) practice the run walk, and with great results.

After looping around 12 times, I made it over the finish line in 4:59. For me, that is a good result. I did not start with any specific time in mind. All I wanted is run the whole race, and not be complete buggered at the end. I also run the race in five fingers (Trek Sport), and they performed very well. I did not have Have any issues at the end, and was running again the next day.

After finishing, and collecting another stunning medal, I stuck around and took some photo’s mainly from the 100 kilometers participants. Yee, how do they do it. Here they have been going since 7 in the morning, and some of them were motoring around the course, as if they have just started. I am in aw!

All in all, a positive experience, and I am certain I will sign up again for next year event. Will it be the 100? Time will tell…

Happy running!
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