It’s been 4 weeks since I ran the Coastal Classic and if I had to sum the race up into one word it would be “muddy”.
My Striders buddy Maria and I had decided to run this course together as she had not done much long distance training for a while, and I was still recovering from running Oxfam only 2 weeks earlier. Our plan was to take it easy, keep each other company and just get to the finish line in one piece.
We ran into lots of friends at the start line and here’s a good group shot of myself, Emma, Dominic, Maria & Nigel ready to go and waiting at the start area. I saw so many people before the race and it was wonderful to catch up with them all.
And a shot of us ladies catching up on the goss as we waited before the race (Maria, Emma & myself).
The start was a very slow one as the gun went off and they were only allowing 2-3 runners to leave every 30 seconds, which meant there was a lot of hype but not much movement. This proved a little frustrating, but made sense as the first section of the course was very narrow and would have banked back anyway. Our bibs had timing chips on them so it meant that our times would only start when we crossed the Start line mat.
Speaking of crossing the Start line mat, I happened to run into my good friend Viv from run club who was working the event and doing the timing. Unfortunately she could not be bribed so there was no chance of a win from me, ha ha
I have run this course twice before, the first time as a training run in Jan 2014 with Sydney Striders in preparation for the 6ft Track marathon, and the second time as another training run with my Oxfam crew only a month or so ago before. This course would have to be the most beautiful trail I have ever run, and I’m so lucky that it’s local to my home. I’ve promised myself to get out there and explore it some more in my upcoming training for 2015 races.
The course starts in Otford, which you can get to via train, and travels up through the Royal National Park along the coast, with many tough cliffs to climb and sandy beaches to contest with all the way to the seaside town of Bundeena.
Maria and I found the course very hard going due to the muddy trail that greeted us, in fact everyone was commenting on how they had never seen a muddier course!! This meant we were much slower than planned which was a little ffustrating, and I cursed myself for not wearing my grippy Salomon’s as they would have been perfect for these conditions. It had rained quite heavily in the week leading up to the race, but i don’t think anyone had the foresight to know it was going to be this bad.
Still, we all stayed positive and just kept moving as best we could. And with views like these surrounding us there was plenty to take our minds off the mud.
The weather had gone from cloudy and threatening rain (with some sprinkles earlier on) to a gorgeous sunny day and it got quite warm the closer we got to the finish.
There were some pretty good shots from the official photographers so I’ve added them here for you.
And here’s one of my favourite shots that I took from the beach as we were running towards the next cliff heading north, and yes we climbed that one in the photo.
When Maria and I got to the finish we were so relieved to be there, well I was anyway!! I’d felt very tired and sluggish through the whole morning but I thoroughly enjoyed the course. We grabbed our race medals and t-shirts and headed to the ferry for our trip back to Cronulla.
There were lots of people hanging around celebrating their races and I ran into a friend Simon who had actually come 3rd – what a legend. Go Simon! My mates Emma and Dominic had also smashed their goals so congrats to you both too, very impressive especially so close to Oxfam!
We made our way back on the ferry and compared muddy shoes along the way, it doesn’t look too bad in the photo above, but I remember at one point that I trod in some mud that went up past my ankle! ha ha
I highly recommend this course to anyone considering it, even as a training run as it’s very easy to navigate. And it’s beautiful!!
Happy Running 😀