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Maroondah Dam Trail Runs 50KM 2012 - Report

So you think it is normal progress to ‘up the ante’ after having completed the last year’s 30 kilometer version of this race (30km report 2011) by signing up for the 50 kilometer version? In theory you would be correct, unless of course we are talking about the Maroondah Dam Trail Run, organized by Trails+.

Known to be toughest 50km ultra in Victoria, it certainly did not disappoint. A field of 100 plus 50km runners prepared for a bus trip from the Hendersons Picnic Area Car Park at 7:30 in the morning. A short trip, yet long enough to talk war stories about last years cutting bush, and biting snakes, saw us delivered at the Fernshaws Reserve Car park. Interesting to see the different equipment people show up with. Some have nothing else but shorts, shirt and shoes. Others come with the latter and a variety of back packs, hand held, and fuel belts. What is more interesting to see is that the winners all fall in the first category!

7:50 AM, and race director Brett Saxon explains the rules. This basically boils down to run, run fast, run far and be kind each other. Whippet (Andy) is commented for his 10th participation in this race, and this years takes up the role of sweeper. 10 times, and still showing up, now that is an effort!

8:00 AM, and we are send on our way. Now here comes the funny thing, the first ten kilometers of this trail is a goats trail for the first 7 kilometers or so. I trust that the faster ones arranged for good position in the front, but certainly in the back there was a bit of shuffling and waiting before the ‘snake’ was on it’s way. Quite relaxing trail for the first 4 kilometers, which felt like a gentle down hill. Well, doesn’t every first few kilometers of a race feel easy and downhill like? Looking at the elevation chart though, there was no such thing.

So chatting along and bonding with my Oxfam buddies kilometers pass by, until we hit kilometer 4 1/2. Out of nowhere the friendly trail changed from an allegedly downhill in a more or less stupendous up hill. And I mean up hill, thrown in with the by now familiar goat trail, tons of rock, sticks, and anything else that moves under your feet, or get stock between ankles. Up it goes, and I wonder how anyone, with still 45 kilometers to go, can actually run this. Explain that to me!

This straight up goes on for a merciless kilometer before you come to a road (kinda). But of course, just when you think you going to get a breather, they send you up a hill that is the spitting image of a wall with grass stuff over it. You got it, much more up! From the foot of this ‘thing’ you can see your fellow runners scampering on the top, and you know you have to go there, but it will be another 1/2 hour or so before you actually get there. Oh god, what have I started.

Don’t get me wrong, I am loving this, I just get a bit worried about things like cut of times, how much more up, and do we ever go down, and…..

Dom Dom Sadlle is finally reached, and with the 30 kilometer runners well underway by the time I get there, I find the aid station waiting with the by then familiar jummies to tank up. Water is going a bit faster than expected, so a quick refill and on my way again.

Enter ‘The Loop’. That is exactly what it is. A rather uneventful loop that gently slopes down for 9 kilometers or about, and provides an excellent opportunity to run a bit (hum, that sounds funny) and stretch the legs. Of course, what comes down has to go up, and in a walking trot I see myself concur another little hill. Back on the Dom Dom, and things are getting lonely.

From here on things are compacting together. There is plenty of up hill, and some flatter pieces, and soon I have the volunteers on the Monda Track at kilometer 30 telling me that the worst is behind me. Really? What part of the chart between 30 and 40 kilometer is flat? But they are right of course. Most of the big climbs are done until we finally reach the final aid station before ‘The Big Decent’.

By this time I am looking for anything that provides enough energy to stick it out, and the flat Coca Cola seems to be doing the trick. Oh yes, that final hill climbs up to 1,022 meters or there about, and you would think live would be so much better from there on. Well, think again.

Over the top, a small trail to the right is the start of the decent, and to true nature, the trail is a trail and down is DOWN. Steep as anything, all muscles I have been using so far are parked in neutral, and the quads are kicked into gear. The first kilometer is fine, but then this trail turns into a real nightmare, becomes even more steep, and the quads are not that happy any more as they were just a few minutes ago.

And on it goes, and Down it goes. Can you believe you are starting to wish for an uphill? What is happening?! Kilometers flash by. Well not exactly, by this time the feet are also not that happy any longer, and like to be taken care of. So the running becomes much more careful, which of course impacts the speed. But it sounds good right? Flashing by!

Finally finally, we hit rock bottom. This is good. Almost there. Another aid station, and it becomes all run-able again. There is Gilda jumping up and down, and taking photo’s (see Gallery) while taking the Micky out of me. “Any more behind you?” I have no idea, but I know I have overtaken a few if I remember well.

There is the Maroondah Dam, followed by another $%^& downhill to finally reach the finish line. That was fun, and right at the finish line my Oxfam team decided to start lunch pretty much on the finish line, without me! What a perfect end to a tough run.

Will I be back next year? You bet ya!

A very big hanks to Trails+ for organizing this event, all volunteers for waiting so long and and finding water where there was no more water, and of course all runners for participating.

Keep running!

Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2012 – 50KM – Ladies winners

Place Name Time 1. Nikki Wynd 2. Isobel Bespalov 3. Lisa Lucas
1 Nikki Wynd 5:09:27
2 Isobel Bespalov 5:41:24
3 Lisa Lucas 5:59:21


Maroondah Dam Trail Run 2012 – 50KM – Men winners

Place Name Time 1. Damon Goerke 2. David Edie 3. Kev Manix
1 Damon Goerke 4:13:55
2 David Eadie 4:32:06
3 Kev Manix 4:40:11
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One comment

  • avatarVisit site
    February 29, 2012 2:38 pmPosted 5 years ago
    Ellen

    haha Irwin…that about sums it all up! But then some of us are even foolish enough to have not done even the 30 km last year and say “eh, what the hell…I’ll just do the 50″. Great job!

    Reply

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