Mark & Carol & Steve & Ewen
We started as a large group leaving from Molonglo Reach at 7:08am. This group is the ‘Cotter Group’ which runs in the Mt Ainslie/Majura nature parks during summer as there is no shade at the Cotter following the bushfires of 2003.
After our lap of Duntroon we turned towards Campbell Park and were just climbing through the gate when a silver car screeches to a halt. It was Carol running late after sleeping in. After a quick shoe-lace and water-bottle adjustment we continued on into the bush.
Steve had planned our route and the first test was the ‘up’ version of the rollercoaster. Only five of us sat the examination while the rest of the group turned left to run around the base of Mt Ainslie. The gang of five ran up for quite a while then down, then up, then down, then up. After 32 minutes Chris turned back as he only had time for an hours’ run. We were down to the gang of four – Mark & Carol & Steve & Ewen.
I had the Forerunner set to record altitude. We started at 580m above sea level at Molonglo and the high bits of the rollercoaster were about 700m so we’d climbed 120m since the start. We turned left and ran down towards Stu’s place in Hackett. Then after a flattish section we aimed skyward up the zigzag trail to the summit of Mt Majura.
At the start of this section the altitude was 636m and at the survey point on Majura 899m so we had climbed 263 metres. On the climb Mark ran all the way out in front followed by Carol and Steve with me observing proceedings from a safe distance. Carol did do some walking but not much. No wonder she is such an outstanding Ultra competitor with some great results at the Gosford 12 Hour. She climbed that mountain like it was a mere speed bump on the trail. I walked on the steeper bits and didn’t lose much distance (maybe 50 metres) to Steve who was running.
We ran down to the pine forest (632m altitude) then some rocky undulations before tackling Mt Ainslie from the reverse direction of the Two Peaks course. On this climb Carol was out in front, me following with Mark and Steve chatting at the back. Steve ran 4:27:19 in last year’s Six Foot but isn’t sure of his current form after a big Ultra racing year which included the 60km Kepler Challenge in New Zealand.
At the summit of Mt Ainslie we had a short stretch break and a drink from the tap. The Forerunner said the altitude of Ainslie was 849 metres. We then ran down the zigzag walking track with Carol practising her downhill technique which she sees as a weakness needing improving. We were overtaken by a flying Tim Sawkins who ran 4:23:34 in last year’s Six Foot.
Then it was just the easy run home. We ran a lap of Campbell Park so the time at the finish would be close to three hours. Back at the cars I ran another 2km on the bike path as I’m a pedantic bastard and wanted to see 30km in the diary. My slowest kilometre during the run was 8:48 and the fastest 4:57. I was out for a tad over 3 hours 8 minutes at an average speed of 6:16/km.
I was very pleased with how I handled this run. Especially running more or less ‘with’ such experienced Ultra runners as Steve and Carol. I tested my new four bottle Fuel Belt which was fantastic. I’ll definitely use it in the Six Foot.
I also carried in my hand a bottle of Thorpedo ‘Advanced Hydration Ultra Low GI Energy Water’. This I drank from the start to the summit of Majura and may be one reason why I felt so good for the rest of the run. I also carried a vegemite sandwich, jellybeans and a GU gel.
I’m very happy with my preparation and just hope that the pay-off is an enjoyable Six Foot on March 12 taking something less than six hours. See you at the Explorers’ Marked Tree!