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ULTRA-TRAIL AUSTRALIA 100KM 2023 - 11:58 #32ND

UTA 100 2023 - 11:58, 32nd - 8th in age category.

Well another UTA 100 down. What a week-weekend of races and so good to have the old course back, as well as the start and finish line back to normal, finish cute even better, except for that step haha. Congratulations to everyone that raced, the 11-22-50 and 100, and those that did them all !! and of course the kids race to finish the event off.

Great to get through this one and had my challenges throughout the journey. Satisfied with the result but not what I was after, roughly hour slower on goal time, I knew I wasn't as fit as I had been to run into the top 10 but I was strong and had nothing holding me back. I made a late decision to run in a different pair of shoes ( I know, I know) but was asked to try them out and I thought my not, UTA this year isn't my A race, still wanted to race it and get the most out of it though. Now recover and start the journey to UTMB!!

On to the race recap. Was a late check in for the race as I was stuck in the accident Friday evening, and the trip was 4:30 hrs to arrive at 7:30pm to check in and drop my checkpoint bags. but all good, late dinner and off to bed. Was up around 4:45am for breakfast - usual quick oats and a black coffee. down to the race start with Brett as we jogged from his accommodation. The weather was great and not too cold. so perfect conditions. Was relaxed at the start and we took off steady, was running comfortably with Lucy (first female) women are smarter then men with there pacing :) Was steady on the trails in the first 10k on the landslide and up the golden stair case, the shoes were great on the technical sections, the grip was great, but not the drop i couldn't get a flow, and up onto narrowneck leaving checkpoint 1, I was bang on my ETA but my legs just couldn't get going and on the fire-trail just couldn't flow in the shoes, i was aware of them the whole time and just wasn't enjoying them, should have worn my Salomon Pulsar Trail Pro's. but o well. Good to test them out, good shoe just not for me.

I then saw Craig Storey and was just like, o no.. I stopped to check on him, said he couldn't get this heart rate under control, asked if he needed anything and said just keep going. Hats off to him, not his day again but still stuck at it and push on still get it done. Great bloke and great attitude.

On the way out to checkpoint 2 and was moving ok, picking up a few runners and pulled away from a and was now ahead of the lead females. Stopped at Checkpoint 2 to refill my 2 soft flask - had 2 Ziplock bags of tailwind, in the 32k to that point had consumed 2 x 500ml tailwind soft flask 2 scoops in each and that was the same for the refill (non caffeinated) and had 2 x cliff blocks.

Out to Ironpot Ridge and climbed ok and over the rocks, coming back down the descent the shoes were good on that section, and then back on the fire trail, was moving ok but same thing just couldn't get a flow. Onto Six Foot Track to checkpoint 3, was a quick shop in and out, thanks to Linda for having be set up and made a quick transition, changing me 2 x softflask of tailwind (non caffeinated) and a packet of cliff blocks and some water, had gone through 4 x cliff block and the 2 x tailwind from 32k - 46km. Back out and running alone for about 10k until I caught another runner going up the stairs but again my legs just were there again and starting to camp in the calves, ripped open a crampfix and then subsided but not entirely. I normally don't ever cramp in my calves and then my quads started to go. Up Nells Glen caught 2 runners but i just couldn't get moving and dropped back a bit as we reach checkpoint 4, Aquatic center, thanks so much ot Di for making it there only just 4 minutes to spare :) but again change over for 2 x tailwind softflask, caffeinated this time, a packet of cliff blocks, had gone through 6 x cliff blocks and 1/2 a cliff back from 46-57km. Had a red bull and some mineral water and headed back out but legs were still dead. The lead females had caught me again and pulled away I just couldn't go with them down the stairs and out to fern bower.

Wasn't until after Fern bower where I started to move a bit better but had lost a bit of time from the 57k- 69k hitting Fairmount Resort, Thanks to Mel Ingham on the aid station I refilled my soft flask, again Tailwind caffeinated from the zip lock bags I had. Saw Di and the kids again, good lift out on the way to QVH. Was moving a little better but feet were still sore and could feel the blister that had started early on. Running out or Wentworth falls into tablelands road for QVH, i was cramping again so ripped out another crampfix and they faded. Motivated knowing there was only 22k left, I wanted to change shoes, but if was too late, I had them in my drop bag with my poles, the blisters were already there and nothing else could be done now it was just getting done as quick as I could. 69km - 78km I had 2 x Tailwind and half a packed of cliff blocks.

QVH, Linda was there to help, changed my 2 soft flask of tailwind caffeinated and a packet of cliff blocks plus a 300ml bottle of coke, had more water and half a can or red bull. grabbed my poles and was out on the home straight, well down the valley first. I had reached checkpoint 5 about 30mins off my goal pace, lost too much in the previous section, so it was just about getting through the next section and making the most out of it. Running down the valley around 4:30 pace, but a per the race just could not get the flow even down the hill the feet were sore and not the turn over in my legs that I'm use to. But still passing a lot of the 50k runners and caught 2 100km runners. Down the 7k until the first climb and the poles were out and for the hike, I mixed it up and was running with the poles and then hiking to break it up. Just had to keep the legs going. I had lost a like bit of motivation but just pulled from those that had helped and Nicole that wasn't down to help this year to push through it.

I hadn't taken on much from QVH to the emergency aid station, I drank the 300ml coke but only got through half as I felt sick after having it so just replaced a soft flask of tailwind from the ziplock bag and took up for the final climb out. I arrived into the checkpoint with another 100k run, he had no poles and was still running up the hills and was very impressed, was a solid bloke, bit of a unit. I soon pulled away from him but I had poles and was able to run with the poles for most of that final 4-5k until you hit the sewage works. I kept my poles out as there was so much mud around and had no idea that it had been raining in Katoomba. The 50k runner were great and moved out of the way pretty quick. That last 4km along federal pass is the worst it just go on forever :) Was motivated seeing some friendly face on the way as well. Nes and Chris, sorry I saw others but can't think of who. I was hiking and running as much I could through that section had put on my head touch as I entered federal pass as well. The sound of bells and a welcoming voice at the base of the stairs, 1km to go, I quick look at the watch and was about 18min to 12 hours, ok 15 to climb ! pulling my body up the staits just pushed on, hadn't cramp for a while I had kept drinking and had more cliff blocks to make sure I didn't cramp at the stairs. Its a death march up those stairs, passing people who were pulled over on the side trying to breath, cramped up, a poor bloke I stopped to help as he was having an asthma attack, lucky he partner was there to help. Up the last flight and there 2 little angels were calling out and wishing works of encuragement and cheers, they must of been about 5-7 years old. Best cheers of the day. Worst cheer of the day was at 65k when walker said good work your almost done. I had a laugh with him, told him it was the worst call I had all day.

The finish was awesome and the change they made was great, weaving around the carpark, minus the step haha. but hit the finish line seeing lots of the running community and friends. Happy to finish, not quiet the place or time I was after. But on to UTMB now and have taken what i need to work on for that build specifically.. Special thanls to Linda, Brett and Di for allthe help on the day. Nicole thank you for allowing me to race these crazy events, so sorry your missed out on your race. But next year we can run together in the 22 :)

Thanks again for all those that supported and help me along the journey. It's a tough balance, running a running shoe store, coaching business and family time for the loved ones. But its special to be a part of many others lives and see them achieve their goals and take on challenges that push themselves beyond their limits.


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