Hume and Hovell ultra13 Oct 2018 | running ultra
In the middle of the year after my first DNF attempting UTA100 - I started casting for my next ultra. It was going to be a toss up between the Sri Chinmoy Canberra 105 and the Hume and Hovell. Whilst the former was in my backyard - the tiping point was when a few friends indicated they might head to Tumbarumba for for the Hume and Hovell. I’d heard it was a nice trail, well run, small event. So I signed up - booked a room in the local pub and hoped not to suffer an injury 13 days before the race like happened last time.
Denise headed down with me on the Friday afternoon and after a “relaxed” check-in procedure at the local pub we made our way up to the motel for race check-in, dinner and the briefing. We caught up with Graham who was lining up for the 50k the next day and his partner Ruth had a nice meal and turned in early to organise myself and try to get a good nights rest.
Of course in an uncomfortable bed the night before a race - only a few hours of sleep was had. Then a quick aeropress, and the drop bags and my racing pack were loaded into the car with Denise to Henry Angel campsite. In the pre-dawn light 100k and 100 mile runners huddled around roaring fires. Drop bags were dropped ready for me to re-unite with them at the 40k and 70k mark.
Once frst light was upon us and runners could safetly head off without a head torch - we got the go ahead in an informal and quick kick off. We all left the campsite north, under the road, and off for the first stretch of what was almost solely single-track towards Manus Lake and our first turn around point. The pace was gentle, but fast enough to keep me warm in the still frosty morning. We followed the river for a while, before crossing a steel bridge, and up over Mt Garland as the sun started its arc for the day. A day I would see it rise and set whilst out in some beautfiul country on some beautiful trails.
I started a conversation with Kevin - he was here for the first time too. But unlike me was very much used to the “long run” having regularly competed in the Coast2Kosci 250k run. We carried on through the first checkpoint at 12k, and down into Mannus Lake. The lake looked stunning in the early morning light with swans and bird life. This was the first stretch of fire trail, and the first stretch you could relax and enter auto-pilot. Not long on this stretch the front-runner, Brendan Davies, ran past - a good 20-30 minutes ahead already and we were only about 20k in. After the turnaround point we entered the second checkpoint - and I topped up a water bottle I’d prefilled with TailWind and grabbed a vegemite sandwich. I hadn’t had a big breakfast and I was hungry already!
Heading back towards Henry Angel and the start/finish - the day was now moving into comfortable temperatures, I caught back up with Kevin and we chatted casually. At 30k in - I was feeling comfortable and running within a comfortable zone. As we got closer to the start, we started to see the 50k runners passing through.
I was getting tired and warm under the late morning sun as I came into Henry Angel. I took time to swap out my shoes, swap out my top, pack my headtorch and change out my hat for the hottest part of the day. I also turned ond threw in the garmin mini inreach and set it into track mode. I headed off talking with David who was an acquiantance I met at last years Run Larapinta, and again at UTA this year. It was nice to be back running alongside a stream, although now quite hot, so I began semi-regularly stopping to dunk my hat in the stream for immediate relief.
Very quickly (apparantly was 6k) the next Check Point appeared. A few relaxed folk around a gazebo and a small campsite. I was starting to get the sickly taste of Tailwind - so had some more coke and when David re-appeared topped him up with half my bottle of TailWind. I refilled both bottles with water - it was a 15k stretch to the next CheckPoint - CoffeePot. I moved out of the aid station and out through an open and pine forest section, even managing a brief glimpse of a feral horse (Brumby). I started to hit some climbs and now at about the 45k mark decided to get out the wizard sticks (poles). David caught me back up and we carried on walking, jogging and running up what was mostly runnable, gentle single track. After a while we both caught up with Kevin - who was walking slowly. He had misjudged the check points and was almost out of water - so asked for some. Both David and I gave him what we could - and kept moving. A few minutes later we heard him hurl it all back up again. We saw someone coming up behind him, and knew we were only 4 or 5k from the next checkpoint so new he would make it if he kept moving slowly.
As we kept slowly climbing, with my hat on and my head bowed watching my feet - I was startled as a shout of “headsup” came at me. It was Brendan Davies on the homeward stretch. It was well over 30 minutes until the next person came on through. Brendan was killing it only 6 days after winning the CBR105 solo event last week. As David and I entered Coffee Pot together we had about 42k left to run - I felt tired but not exhausted, I was still very much enjoying the day and the trails. Leaving Coffee Pot David pulled away and I was back on my own. I noticed my right achilles was starting to feel sore but it wasn’t particularly painful more an annoyance and something to watch. I kept moving through the last of the uphill section, before dropping down into Paddys River dam and the campsite there. This was a nice mental checkpoint, with lovely views acros the water as I moved around the dam, and then onto another small stretch of fire trail to the turnaround checkpoint. As I ticked off the few k’s up this road I could gauge my progress as I saw Kevin, then the David pass me on the return.
I came into the checkpoint feeling relieved to hit this mental milestone. In preparation I had told myself so long as I got to the 70k mark in good nick, it was all “downhill” from there and I’d get it done. Coming into this checkpoint I had no doubt I would finish - and I was pleased my pacing and heat management had worked. My cravings for ginger beer was even answered! I grabbed a banana, and some of a nut bar, filled up my water bottles, messaged Denise and started charging my watch. There were 100 milers and pacers for them arriving - this is where they added on an additional 40+k loop, before returning.
After a good 10 minute or so stop I grabbed my stuff for the 30k home stretch. The sun was waning, I decided it was time to introduce music and started rocking a new 2hr Breaking Bread podcast. Rocking new music kept the motivation high, as the gradual downward trail. Mentally I was continuing to break it down - back through Coffee Pot checkpoint, and a very brief rest here. Then the long 15k section to the next check point. The sun was setting, and a natural urgency arose as I moved relatively quickly trying to make good ground before it was dark. At about 8pm I stoped to put the head torch on and let Denise know where I was - about 10k to go.
There was a fair bit of walking now, and one or two runners who were finishing strong running past me in this home stretch. The end was getting inexorably nearer km by km. As I came into the final checkpoint I was ready to finish - there was just 6k to go. I jogged where I could, and hiked quickly the rest. At some stage I saw a runner coming the other way - which was strange but I put it down to someone heading to the checkpoing to meet a runner.
For the last couple of kilometers I moved pretty quick, then I could see the Henry Angel campsite and the lights of the finish line. I ran it through - feeling good and strong. My first 100k. 15hr 24m. 14th out of 32 runners. I had Denise, Graham and Ruth there to greet me and a medal around my neck. Whilst it was a long and at times hard day out - it was in may ways the most comfortable ultra I’ve run - no cramps, only a few brief moments of stomach distress, and 30k longer than my longest run. A great trail, well run event and a thoroughly enjoyable day out
After 10 minutes or so recuperating - I saw David cross the line - he was well ahead of me but had got lost and was the runner I’d seen running in the wrong direction.
- La Sportiva lycan (first 38k), La Sportiva arkasha (back 62k)
- gore top (first 38k), run rabbit run top (back 62k)
- ciele hat, outdoor research legionaires hat
- run rabbit shorts
- leki micro trail poles (from 45k mark) Nutrition:
- 4 gels, 2 tailwind bottles, 2 bananas, 1 vegemite sandwich, coke, ginger beer, chips.