February 6

Sue’s Australia Day Ultra 100kms


100kms Race Report 20 January 2018
Having come from a horse riding background, I did not run, I let my horse do that, and I just enjoyed the ride. I started running after I retired from a retail manager position, and thought I best do something to keep me fit. My daughter and I joined a gym, I lost a few pounds, and after watching my sister and brother in law on the other side of the world doing their amazing running events, decided I would try this sport. Myself and Bianca progressed through to triathlon, and that has been amazing in itself. The run was always hard for me, I had shitty knees and used to run with stretch bandages around them, which progressed to rocktape to keep them happy. In those days 5kms was very hard, but we did progress to 10kms, and it moved on from there. Along with my tri friends we progressed to half ironman races, where you had to run 21kms, and although slow we did manage to get there. My first marathon event, I did with 6 of my dear tri friends, it was the Perth marathon, oh and that was hard, but we did it and we stayed together and finished together. That total rawness when you have finished and achieved something you never thought possible is like a drug, one that you want to experience again, ( after a few days!! ). I am fortunate to have done several marathons since, and Bianca and I progressed to a 50kms ultra in Bunbury on my birthday back in April 2014. During that run we befriended two girls who were running sometimes in front of us, and sometimes behind us, and they were using this run as a training run mainly in order to do the Kep Track Ultra. I volunteered to help with that one, and was in awe of the runners, and knew in my heart that I wanted to do that one day. In that same year I progressed to doing some trail running with friends training for 6 inch Trail Run, I loved it and on the day ran with 2 other girlfriends, and although I had a fall and chopped up my knee, I did finish. 47kms of trail done. I then proceeded to move on to Ironman for the next 2 years, but still the desire was there to do this long run. Kep Ultra was no more, but thanks to some truly dedicated and passionate people we have some new races. In 2017 there was a new run, The Feral Pig, a 50 miler on trail along the Bibbulman track. I decided to sign and be brave and try and tackle this amazing trail, only this time I had no friends to run with , it was on my own. I am grateful that on the recon run that I did I met with a guy called Peter and we were a similar pace, and after that recon, we decided we would run together on the day. Am I glad we met!! Feral Pig as you know was a huge challenge, we did finish, I was eternally grateful for Peter staying with me, and we had the company of another lovely girl, Caroline , for a large part of the run too. It was a stinker as you know, but we finished, nearly 19 hours, and 50 miles or 85kms done J. Peter had mentioned he was doing the Australia Day Ultra 100kms in January, I have always done the 50kms on that event, for the past 3 years anyway. Two days after Feral Pig, I signed up for the 100kms. I was so close to that distance that I had only dreamed about , it was too good to let it go.
Fast forward to last Friday, race start was midnight on Friday night, it was 8 laps of 12.5kms approximately. It wasn’t trail, but it is quite nice pathway with beautiful views of the estuary once its light, and there is aid stations, and support. My dear friend drove me down there, and was going to be my pacer from 9.00am, and thank heaven for her. I had had issues with Plantar Fasciitus for weeks beforehand, but had some treatment with shock wave therapy which appeared to be working, but you still don’t know what might happen on the day it is a very long way to run 100kms!!!
Allison and I were down there by lunchtime, and I had chicken and rice, and then managed to rest a bit in the afternoon, and kept hydrating. Early evening I had a vegetable soup and a roll, and a glass of bubbly, of course. We went to “sleep” for 2 hours, and woke up at 10.45. A quick breakfast of toasted muffin and banana, and we drove off to start , only 5 mins away. People milling around with headlamps and high vis vests on, and we got our bibs and transponders on, and then it was race briefing time. Just after midnight, Peter, and Sally, who was joining us, and I left the start line. Knowing we had about 5 hours of running in the dark, both Sally and I were happy to have company, it was very dark out there!! Volunteers were on the aid stations of which there are 3, one at the start, one at about 2.5kms out, and one at the turnaround of 6.25kms. They had tailwind, an electrolyte drink, water and fruit. I grabbed both cups, and a piece of banana, at each station as went past. We were running to a time of 2.30 and .45 sec walk, and really doing quite comfortably, it was working well for me. We enjoyed general chit chat, and the first 3 laps passed pretty quickly really. We were able to take off headlamp and high vis vests at the turn around into the 4th lap, and it was lovely to see the dawn, and finally be able to see where we were going. Sally had always said she would finish at the 50kms mark, and Peter was just doing a slightly slower pace in the 4th lap. On the way back in to finish the 4th lap, the 25kms runners were going out. I left Sally, sadly, changed my top, grabbed an LCM bar, and started off again on my own. Peter was just in front of me, and for the next lap or so, we leap frogged each other, we were both slowing, and I was now not quite able to keep our pace that we had done the first 50kms in. Nevermind, everyone had said one foot in the front of the either, just keep moving forward. There were quite a lot of runners now out on the path, there was the 50kms runners, and still some of the 25kms runners out there, and there was plenty of encouragement from everyone. The volunteers at each station totally looked after your every need, filling up cups etc, and cheering each time as I left. The 6th lap was getting hard, Alli was appearing at various parts of the course, as you could drive along, and was full of cheering and taking photos, and updating my other friends with where I was. I could not wait for her to be able to join me, and then the last 25 kms would be “fun”!!!
It was getting warm, so at the turn around in to the 7th lap, I grabbed my belt with water bottles, my cooling towel, and a peanut butter sandwich. We walked out for the first 2/3kms on that lap, and then Alli encouraged me to shuffle, faster than a walk to the next shady spot, then walk again, and then a bit later we did it again. The 7th lap I think took the longest, but still I was progressing forward. On the 8th and final lap, the presentations were going on, and we were cheered as we left to finish the last 12.5kms. Thanks to Alli I shuffled a bit more on this one, speed bump to shade, shade to speed bump, shade to sign, and it was feeling a bit more comfortable to do that, even though my legs were tired. The volunteers at the aid stations were still full of encouragement, and I couldn’t wait to finally let them go and pack up, I was the last person on the course. The last turn around we were cheered as we came in, cheered as we left, and I knew I was going to finish this.
Getting toward to the finish, I was happy to still see the archway finish still up, but knew most people had gone home already. Alli skipped away in front of me to take a pic as I came across the finish. 200m out, there was a friend, Raquel, who had given lots of words of encouragement at the aid station, she’s like, you got to sprint the finish. Some how the legs moved a bit faster and then there were about 10 people forming a human arch for me to go under!! Over come with emotion after, from such an amazing day, there was Ron, our race director, first to give me a hug, saying he had something in his eye!! Tears, and some huge hugs from Shauno, and Alli, and then volunteers who had become friends, (if they weren’t before), and I was a mess. As I posed for the photo before the arch came down, another gift given to me, the trophy for the Longest Day. I am so bloody proud, I am so bloody lucky, I did it, 100kms on my feet.
Thankyou to Alli for being there, and pushing me along, thankyou to my wonderful friends, who although they think I am crazy, are still so full of support. Thankyou to everyone on course, the other runners, the volunteers, and to Shaun and Ron, who sure know how to make a girl feel special. Thankyou to my dear patient husband, who puts up with all my craziness. My sister and her husband who have inspired me to keep pushing on in this amazing sport. My dad is so proud, and my mum would be too.
I am a bit slow getting around at the moment, but I am looking forward to a quiet few weeks to recover, before picking it up for the next event. The Wild Goose 106kms Ultra in the Avon Valley with Bianca J at the end of June.


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