Coastal Classic 2014

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 ladies

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.

coast behind

maria beach

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.

beach run

beach shot

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!

muddy feet

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 😀



Oxfam Training run on the Coastal Classic Course

Last Sunday our Oxfam crew (minus Roger who was doing a First Aid course, very handy) ran the Coastal Classic course from Otford to Bundeena. I opted for the one-way version, however our team mates Dom & Em decided to try Otford to Buneena to Otford, which sounds crazy right?! Well I would have joined them but as I had run the M7 road marathon the week before my body was still recovering from that and I knew it would be tough just pushing myself to go one way.

We were so lucky with the weather, it was very cold to start but the day cleared up and got warm while we were running. You should see my tan lines, hilarious!!

The first 5kms felt great and we ran into some wildlife before hitting the first big hill, below you can see a Joey and a Deer (they tried to tell me it was an Alpaca but it doesn’t have the long neck of an Alpaca so I didn’t believe them!)



We also had the wonderful Scott (who is training for GNW 100 miler!!) join us for the trip, he had already run 50km on the previous day so the picture below shows how he was feeling. Great guy and very knowledgeable!

3_Scotty Tired

As I stopped to get some photos, Em and Dom made their way up the hill towards the sunrise so I snapped the below shot, one of my fave pictures from the run now.


And of course because I was going super slow Dom decided to take a seat while he waited for me. My legs were feeling very heavy and I felt like I didn’t have much gas in the tank despite my constant food & drink.

6_Dom patiently waiting

And then there were more hills, some of the steps were huge even for 6 foot tall me, I’d hate to be any shorter and trying to climb that one below.

4_First Big Hill

And the view from the top was beautiful. This whole course is beautiful. The coastline we ran past the whole time was nothing short of spectacular and I’d have to say this is my favorite run in terms of the view.

5_Heading North

We stopped at Garie beach for the bathroom and then we kept heading north. I ran ahead to get a shot of the guys who had probably fallen behind talking about food. So here’s Dom and Scott running right beside the ocean.

4_Dom on coastline

4_DScott on coastline

And at the top of the next hill i turned around to see where we had come from, wow!

6_Beach crossing behind us

At about the halfway point we had run into my mate Nigel who had run from Bundeena to meet us and run back with us. So here he is below with Dom and Emma.

6_Group shot

And he Nigel is trying to motivate me up the next hill, I think I was walking a lot by this stage. It really wasn’t a pleasant days run for me, so thank goodness for the views!!

7_Heading north with Nigel

And what we like to call the White Cliffs of Dover…

7_White cliffs no people

My favorite spot.

7_White Cliffs looking south

Nigel and I ran together for most of the last 10kms as the rest of the gang had gone ahead. I had told them earlier to not stop for me as I knew they were going to be out for much longer as they were doing the return trip. Thankfully I had Nigel to keep me moving, as i honestly think I would have walked most of it if he had not been there.

After feeling the way i did during that run I knew that I had not recovered from the marathon yet, and that i needed to take it easy over the next couple of weeks as there was less than 3 weeks till Oxfam Trailwalker. I really need to be in my best shape for Oxfam so my eyes are on the prize and I won’t be letting my team down.

I got home and was wrecked. I ate everything I could fine and then tackled the couch for a snooze, but I was unable to sleep (not sure why). My knees were stiff and my hips were feeling worn out. Later that night I had a red wine and ended up sleeping like a baby.

Emma and Dom managed to finish the double journey in 10 hours and my hat goes off to them, they would have been exhausted by the end but very good preparation for our jorney that lies ahead.

If you would like to sponsor our Oxfam team, please use this link:

Happy Running 😀

Following the pack

The Coastal Classic Course is a beautiful trail run which starts at Otford and ends in Bundeena. The logistics can be a bit tricky with a big group but it was well worth it. This is the most beautiful coastal course I have ever run.


Our Sydney Striders crew met at 7.00 to start the Coastal Track, which is easily accessible from the Otford Train Station, you just have to walk up the big hill and turn left at the end of the road. I think I actually rode past this spot when I cycled the Sydney to the Gong a few years back as it looked very familiar. We had a few people turn up after the shot below, so i’m sorry if i’ve missed you you guys!

group before shot

The first section of the trail was tough as there was a lot of overgrowth and fallen trees, this was going to be a challenging run. For most of the first section I had to duck and weave and there were vines and long grass covering lots of the trail. A few sections were so covered that you could hardly make out where to head but luckily some of our crew had run this before so they knew where they were going.

My plan was to not get lost this week and to try and go a little faster than the week before. So I tried to stay with the biggest group that was closer to the back, one that had some experienced guys in it. It was tough keeping up with them for some sections but at other times it was easier.

Here’s a few shots of the long grass sections near the start. It was kind of cool being able to just see these heads popping out of the grass and not being able to see the ground. A little scary too as you’re not too sure what’s underfoot sometimes.

running through the long grass 3

running through the long grass 2

Our first really big hill came quite soon and I was looking forward to the view at the top.

up hil sun shot

And the view was spectacular!! We had just run a lot of that coastline…..

view of where we had just run from

And here’s a shameless selfie of Maria and I heading up one of the big hills.

uphill shot of maria and I

We also came across some really rocky sections ad I could feel my knees getting angry with me, I hoped there would be more softer ground to come. But this wasn’t exactly the type of softer ground that I had in mind.

beach run group shot

We ran across a couple of beaches and there were some campers at some of them too. They probably thought we were a crazy bunch of people running along as we were. I had half a mind to stop and take my shoes off to make it easier but that would have required a lot of effort and getting too much sand in my socks!

beach group shot

One of the experienced guys in our group Scott made sure he looked after the slow-bies like me at the back which was very much appreciated, as a few of us were really struggling today. Myself included. My knees got continually worse as the run went on and it wasn’t muscular, I wasn’t sure what it was but it did ease every time we were on the dirt/grass tracks. However the stones, rock and beach sections were not so nice to them.

Scott on rock

That’s Scott above and below is the rest of our group posing on a rock probably at about the 20km mark. The rock here was spectacular and the view incredible. I took a lot of photos this day and the views were a good distraction from how awful I was starting to feel.

group shot on rock

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coastal shot

Below is probably my favorite spot that we went past on the trail. There was a stream of water running down the hill and into the ocean and I felt so special to be able to see this beautiful little spot tucked away in the middle of nowhere.

beach view shot

We eventually got to what I thought was the last section which was a small road section to the Bundeena RSL club, however my crew had a different thought. The group had decided to run an extra 2-3kms along the soft sand all the way down to the beach and around the coast and I was not very happy about this. It’s not often I feel so negative and usually i’m the one wanting to run more. But by this point my knees were not very happy and I had been falling a good distance behind the main group. Luckily Tanya was kind enough to wait behind and give me directions for the last few turns and I’m grateful to her for this.

I’m also thankful to Emma who gave me the kick up the butt that I needed, telling me that I could do this.. even if I just walked it. So I gritted my teeth and followed the group down to the beach. I got overtaken by some other runners and also by one of our own Striders who had missed us at the start point. But I kept moving. And I finally got to the last beach….

bundeena beach

What an effort. It really was a struggle that day and i’m so lucky to have such a wonderful bunch of people to run with, without them I would have given up and at the end of the day it’s made me tougher than ever.

We had a quick dip in the beach at Bundeena and even though the water was freezing cold it felt amazing! Then we all hopped onto the ferry and headed back to Cronulla to get the train home.

I highly recommend this run to anyone considering it, and I will be back again soon to give it another shot despite feeling a little beaten. I love a good challenge!

Happy Running 🙂