Sunday, May 29, 2005

Murray masterful on Mount Majura

I achieved two goals yesterday on the rocky slopes of Mount Majura. Goal one was to witness firsthand the stunning potential of Emma Murray. Goal two was to finish the race un-injured and have as much fun as possible on the toughest course I've ever seen.

By strange coincidence Emma's athletic ability is similar to that of Danny Murray, the protagonist in a novel I've just finished reading. I'll tell you more about this book in my next post. In this year's 45km Six Foot Track Marathon I staggered home two and a half hours behind Emma. She smashed the course record running 3:44:05 for eighth outright and since then has joined my athletics club.

The pre-race banter was somewhat subdued as we looked straight ahead at an horrendous near vertical rocky track. The 5 races started together with runners completing either one, two or three laps of the course. One lap climbed 320 metres. The open men ran three laps for a total climb of 920 metres.

After 220 metres of running I switched to walking very early on the slopes of horror hill. There was a dip half way up which I ran, then it was a walk to where Scotty McTaggart was marshalling at the gate. The final climb along the ridge to the summit had some sections where I could run. Very early on this part of the course CoolRunner and eventual race winner Stephen Brown came zooming back down. John Winsbury was clearly in second place followed by a number of fast males and then, Emma, wearing the gold and black of SCT.

I decided (hoped) to get around the course quickly enough to try and see Emma again and also perhaps to avoid being lapped. On my second lap of the course I was not far past Scotty's gate when the phenomenonal Emma came flashing down the mountain appearing to strike firelight from the flint stones every stride. I plodded ever upwards having my own private battle with Carol Baird and a couple of the Albury runners. After the turn I was quite surprised to see Flashduck not far behind. Did she not run a half marathon last weekend with a dodgy ankle!

Near the end of my second lap on the winding downhill single-track section I stepped aside to let CR Steve run past and on to a decisive victory. I faced the daunting prospect of a third climb to the cold blue sky. Most of my running group finished their races after two laps and I thought my destiny was to once again place last. I turned near the top of 'horror' and thankfully saw another lonely runner hiking up the hill.

My plan for the last lap was to maintain my postition by lifting my tiring legs high enough so as to not do a downhill face plant on the rock strewn slopes. I said a final 'thanks' to Martin Fryer who was jumping around trying to stay warm at his windswept outpost. Then, a slow hike up the last single-track hill before the long awaited final 200 metre run to the finish to be greeted by John Harding and Doug Fry.

My three laps took 30:31, 31:35 (200m shorter) and 34:36 for a finishing time of 1:36:42, an average of 7:16 per kilometre.


Blogger Luckylegs said...

Good God! That's one hard day's work & what a course; don't know how you survived to tell the story which, by the way, made very interesting reading... I thought it difficult enough to run steep hills, but mountains? You are a tough wombat!

10:55 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

....and I had no idea you did shot put! A versatile wombat indeed!

10:58 pm  

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