The second of the Salomon trail running series was held last Sunday at Plenty Gorge.
When Richard (the master home brewer) announced that his 50th birthday party was going to be on the night before, it was always going to be an ugly race!
I had entered the long course, which had two river crossings. Over the previous week, the updates on the river level went from ankle deep to knee then thigh deep. So with the rain still falling on the Saturday, it was no surprise to get an SMS at the party from the organisers advising that the river was now fast flowing at chest height, so the course was changing to two laps of the short course (total 13.4km) with no river crossings.
When we arrived in the morning (after 5 hours of sleep, more than slightly hungover), we knew we were in for fun, with cars getting seriously bogged in the car park. That did not bode well for conditions out on the trail!
Sure enough, it was an absolute mudbath. With two laps of the course and 1100 runners doing the two courses, it made for an exciting, scary and very very very dirty race. Combined with steep descents and ascents, lots of spills and some tight trails above the gorge, it was a spectacular run.
I played it safe and ran a slow 1:22 time, which is probably the slowest 13.4km I have ever run, but it was a great, technical run and I finished intact and only had a couple of kilos of mud stuck to me.
Lesson of the day: there’s a reason why people run courses like this with trail running shoes!!!
Highlight of the day: how well the organisers handled the rain, the mud, the river and ensuing chaos
Lowlight of the day: the woman who broke an ankle on one of the descents