I remember reading the words “It’s going to get ugly, but it’s going to get done!” on a friends t-shirt a while back, and that phrase pretty much sums up the marathon I ran last weekend.
Originally we had planned to be in Colorado (USA) by 11th July so that I could run the Silverton Marathon and Kendall Mountain Run Double, and also so my husband could run the Hardrock 100 the week after, but unfortunately Covid-19 has put an end to all overseas travel for now. So the next best thing I could think of was to organise a marathon with some running mates for the same weekend. Our original plan was to tackle a tough course of single track, fire trail and gnarly bush tracks in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney, however we ended up doing another course that started and finished at our house in Engadine. Which turned out to be just as hard, loads of fun, and much better as everyone had the chance to have showers, a bbq and catch-ups afterwards.
2020 was supposed to be the year I got back into running after having Joan (our 10 month old girl) and it started well at the Tarawera Half Marathon in New Zealand in February, but then Covid happened. Looking back we were so lucky to be able to get that trip in before the world went crazy, and we had got married while we were over there too so we timed it perfectly – it really was meant to be.
After Tarawera the next race I was registered to run was the Buffalo Stampede Marathon in Victoria in March, however that got cancelled. Next up was the 50km Ultra Trail Australia which was originally scheduled for May, however it got moved to October and judging by recent outbreaks I fear it will be cancelled very soon too. I honestly think they would be crazy to try and host an event with that many runners. So what to do now?
My coach was keeping me busy running 4-5 sessions per week, and I was using the treadmill a lot to avoid people as much as possible. But my motivation started to dwindle, my uni work started becoming more demanding, and my little girl was growing fast and needing my attention more and more each day. I needed a goal, something to keep me motivated to run. So I chatted to a good friend of mine and we got our plans underway.
It was marathon morning and my lovely sister arrived to take care of Joanie for the day, which meant both my husband and I would have the chance to get out for a run. So we grabbed our gear and headed out the front door to meet our mates at the bottom of our street for an 8am start. We had a few kms of road though Engadine and into Yarrawarrah where we met the trail and headed towards Loftus, then Sutherland, Woronora Heights and then looped back behind Engadine and headed for the Woronora Dam. The first half of the run I spent mostly with my good friends Jane, Peter, Greg and Kieron, with the occasional catch up with Pam, Debbie and Michael (who had amazingly driven up from Canberra that morning, awesome effort team!) when one of us got lost or missed a turn. There was lots of single track, a few small creek crossings and a spot of bush bashing at one point, but it was easy to follow the gpx course on my watch and everyone had been given this to help with navigation.
As we popped out onto the Pipeline trail (about halfway) Sarah and Julie caught up to us and I hung back at their pace which was much more manageable. I was not quite as fit as the others even though I had been trying my best to keep up with them all morning. The trail was relatively easy from here, just follow the fire trail all the way to Woronora Dam and then turn around and run back all the way to our house. Sarah, Julie and I had a lot of laughs, we sang, we joked and it was so good to have them there with me. They really did keep me moving and running when I thought I didn’t have too much left in the tank.
Eventually we got back to our house and celebrated with everyone on the deck. There were a few funny comments about the course and getting lost but everybody made it back in one piece and the smiles on their faces told me it was a good day. We had lots of food, beers and a special HOKA cake to celebrate Pete’s 200th marathon, what a bloody legend – good on you Pete!
Thanks to everyone who joined us for the group run, it was a fun day in the bush and I look forward to seeing you all at the next one.
Happy running 🙂