Monday, 31 March 2008

Three Peaks - the story (Run 1)

Having now been back home a few days (and having finally run an Ultra of which i am satisfield this year - but that'll be another post !!), i suppose it's worthwhile to do a decent more illuminating post about The Three Peaks Race (and an attempt to back up its claim as "The Ultimate Endurance Challenge").
Arrived in Launceston on the Wednesday (not actually because i needed to be there that early but simply forgetting the date of the Thursday when booking, i'm really not used to races starting on a Friday).
After a delayed flight from Coolangatta to Tullamarine still had 2 hours to kill before the flight to Launceston so was happy to graze on a cappucino and Hot Cross Bun whilst reading the paper there and waiting.
Another delayed flight (this time Jetstar) meant i arrived at Launceston at 2:30 but intelligently? i'd put on the watch with Queensland time when i'd gone through customs (no idea why we need to go through the metal detector after all we are still in Australia or is Tassie really an overseas trip after all ????).
On seeing that the next shuttle bus to town wasn't for another 2 hours (in reality 1 as i was looking at the wrong watch !), decided i may as well pick up my pack and walk the 14K's and enjoy the sunny day (as opposed to the miserable, stormy, wet day when i left the coast meaning that i caught the bus rather than had a walk to Coolangatta Airport).
Not as quiet a road as i'd assumed (more like a freeway with a 110 KM speed limit), but still it was good to be on foot and having never seen Launceston in daylight not a bad stroll.
Bit of a saga catching hold of my run partner Clarence as i'd originally thought i was walking to where our yacht was moored but it was only when hitting town that i realised Beauty Point was another 45K's away (sometimes it would pay to look at a map).
Ultimately found my way to his place (when told he'd be driving a white Hilux Ute i didn't realise half the town appeared to be driving one) and by then happy to put my 20 Kilos of gear off my back.
Next morning discussed a few nearby tracks and borrowed a map and headed off for a run around Cataract Gorge (after all it was Thursday still a working day) and ended up running three hours on some very picturesque scenery as well as getting a feel for the rough local tracks.
After that bought my box of waterproof matches and emergency bag so now had all the gear required. With dinner at the Dalrymple Yacht Club and official opening of the event we all went down (myself, Clarence, his wife Vanessa and friend Fay) with the idea of me taking my gear to the boat and having a night on the yacht.
Unfortunately only finger food so by the time all the official stuff was over was still starving, so it was off to the pub next door with the crew (in total we would have a crew of 9 and now our yacht "Magic Miles" would race under the name "Nude Wines" our race sponsor) and some pasta (and more importantly Richmond beating Carlton on the Big Screen TV).
Absolutely blown away by the size of the yacht, full kitchen, washing machine, dryer, plasma tv with cable TV and big lounge, reckon i've lived in smaller houses.
Also gave us all a chance to taste the sponsors product (after all wouldn't be running for another 30 hours at least).
Great nights sleeping with the gentle rocking of the boat in dock being very relaxing and up in time for bit of run the next morning.
All the official stuff at 10 (and an inordinate amount of speeches and rules) meant i didn't get a chance to do the 10:30 5K Fun run but still there was heaps of running ahead of us.
At 2PM we were off, a spectacular start with 28 yachts making there way out of a rather crowded Tamar River, tourist boats everywhere.
Not a strong breeze so we had a fair idea we wouldn't be making fast time and that was pretty much the case all the way to Lady Barron on Flinders Island, arriving at 2PM the next day (we may not have been moving fast but it was lovely sitting above just enjoying the cruising).
Was content in knowing we would get up in Mt Strezlecki in daylight (in 2005 we'd arrived 12 hours earlier and the first 2/3 were in dark) and knew it was better to run clockwise, getting the rough coastal track out of the way first and coming back via the road.
We were the 3rd last boat to arrive so at least we had plenty of runners to chase although we didn't see any for the first hour (the fastest group coming towards us which included my 2005 running partner Mark Padgett) but gradually we started picking up a few teams (and were very thankful for a drink from the land based crew from PRD Tamar Real Estate). Made it to the actual mountain climb in good time but a rough steep track was always never going to be easy, not even in daylight, so i was essentially huffing and puffing behind trail specialist Clarence (occasionally getting a great view of the sea when taking a break). Finally the top and then back down, was glad to realise we had actually made more ground on the teams we had passed (so i wasn't quite as slow as i thought) and also a chance to catch up with Vlastik Skavril (who i'd run with in the 2002 Simpson Desert Challenge and hadn't seen since running with for half a day in his charity run from Tassie to Cape York in 2006) who was on another boat.
Was glad to get back onto roads and after 5K's or so was back to running steadily and enjoying the extra distance as dusk was arriving. From then on Clarence and i hit a good solid pace, easing back a bit as we knew that there was still alot of hard running ahead. We'd set out to do 7 Hours (my 2005 time was 7:15) and were very content with an easy 7:06:53 enough to be 4th fastest though not in the same league as the first team with 5:56:42.
Heaps of beautiful hot food on arrival (and a cold beer for me) as well as a hot shower, frankly could life be better ???.

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