My first mountain run
I hadn't really considered that I'd never done a mountain run before. I just wanted to sign up for another trail run and see what I could do. So Mt Glorious it was. As with Pinnacles last year, the course description is quite clear that it's a run for fit runners. At least I'm significantly fitter than this time last year. But perhaps not yet as mountain fit as I'd like - something I should sort out before North Face!
I decided to take the bus option, which involved driving to The Gap and having the bus drive me to the start. It's quite a windy road, and involves avoiding cyclists a lot at that time of day, so I was glad someone else had that to worry about.
Due to recent weather, the course had been changed from a one-way course involving an ascent of around 450m, followed by a similar size descent, and then you run out the 600m of Mt Glorious. The new course involved running down that 600m, and then back up it, with a little singletrack trail of 2km at the end to take the total to 24km. So the new course involved significantly less ascent, but lengthened the course by about 3km. The changes made the race easier and I can't claim I wasn't glad of that!
After a bit of time spent at the time waiting for the first two waves to take off, and catching up with the other Bunyaville Trail Runners, listening to the race briefing urging caution on the slippery descents, after the bagpipes we were off!
The first couple of kms were spent finding my feet and warming up after the pre-start downpour, but I got into my stride and at one point even achieved a 4:25 km which is good for me on the trails, even if was a downhill km.
There were a few uphill sections on the way down, which gave me some comfort that I'd be able to run a little of the return journey, including one longer section that I had to walk on the way to the halfway point.
I felt pretty reasonable at the halfway point, and managed to put in a couple more well paced kms, but after that we hit the uphills. I didn't really feel able to do much running on the uphills, which is something to keep working at, but I made sure I kept a reasonable walking pace, and I never stopped thanks to a full water bladder on my back. The way up seemed mostly like a relentless slog, separated by the occasional km or so where I was really able to open up again. I overtook a few people, and very few people overtook me, so I was happy with that.
The last couple of km were interesting, a slippy singletrack through the woods, which I'd been led to believe was downhill, but there were steps up, and it pretty much tracked uphill (not surprisingly, as we finished above the start). In the end I was glad of my 2:31, I know I should be able to do better, but that will take some more suffering on the hills! And compared to Pinnacles last year, I never felt like I shouldn't be there. I'll probably end up middle of the pack, but I can live with that!