Monday, 30 April 2007

Prom 100 - Race Report

All day on Friday I sat in a work seminar at the Marriott in North Ryde. I just kept on gutsing myself on confectionery bananas. I ate pastry for morning tea and rice and pasta for lunch. By the time I had made it to Sydney airport I was so stuffed full of simple and complex carbohydrates that I was feeling like I’d committed the fifth deadly sin (that’s the one about Gluttony).

The 18:30 Jetstar to Avalon was fabulous. (just love it how they exclaim “Enjoy” as if they’re all from up north) jumped into my Corolla and realised I had about 4hrs of driving in front of me. Ugh!

Arrived at the Prom around 12:30 and it was blowing a gale. Didn’t even bother pitching the new tent. (Black Diamond, Firstlight, lightest two man tent on the market today). Just crawled into the fart sack and curled up in the back. (imagine me in the back seat of the Corrolla?). Awoke several times during the night with feelings of suffocation and calf cramps. The alarm sounded at 5am and I dressed inside the car due to the utter deluge occurring outside.

Paul Ashton did manage to curb the pre race briefing to a few minutes and we were off at 6:03am.

Did I mention that it was pissing down and it was really windy? In terms of Gear, I was on the light side of gear and should have worn a Gore-Tex jacket instead of my Montane featherweight.

Just purchased this Gore-Tex jacket as a result:

I don’t currently possess any trail shoes so I was wearing my Asics road shoes, which did not cut it, more on this later.

Ascended the 4.4km hill up to Mt Oberon with RB and Whippet, as the others have noted, it was literally a case of two steps forward and one back and as wet as you can imagine. Fun and Games.

The track across to Sealers Cove was perfect trail and very enjoyable to run on. It was good to catch up with Mal and Nick and other new faces on the scene. The chop and surf that was rolling into Sealers and later Refuge Bay was stunning, as choppy as we’ll ever see. I was so glad we weren’t swimming to New Zealand today, 100km of running would be an easier option.

I picked up Kelvin at Sealers Cove. Kelvin was either cold, taking it easy or sick because I was taking things slowly and had not expected to see him. As it turned out he was cold and low on calories.

Despite the cool wet temps I seemed to be drinking a fair bit and found my two bottles empty just after Refuge Cove. Given that I was unfamiliar with the course I decided to refill at the first possible opportunity, which was a large puddle on the track.

Soon after I felt sick. Kelv and I covered the hilly & rocky cliff track around Kersop Peak and I quickly realised that my Asics Kayano 12 were not designed for such rough terrain. In fact I can’t imagine having any worse traction on the large wet granite boulders that we needed to scramble across.

Kelvin pushed on ahead and I walked for a while while my tummy recovered. At the Little Waterloo bay camping area (31km) I took an extended stop to empty both the bowels and the stomach.

I managed to find the beach exit at Little Waterloo and wandered on the boardwalk for a while. I saw Nick coming up behind and managed to slip off the boardwalk and drop off the side into the swamp. Onwards and Upwards.

At the Telegraph Track Junction (39km) Nick went off into the bushes to recover some food and I decided to push on ahead alone.

The trip to Roaring Meg was uneventful (except I think I may have cut the course by 200m) and the trip down to the south point of Australia was rough and unforgiving, what else would you expect. As I descended I passed Paul and Andrew who were racing each other and full of beans. Touching the south point was wonderful and surprisingly calm. (39 degrees South).

I managed to pick up my first leech on the completely overgrown section of track that goes from Roaring Meg to the Lighthouse. I felt the little shit bite me on the back of my leg and as I went down to get him I noticed a couple of the little buggers on my shoes and gaiters. A bit of flicking and dancing managed to deter them and it was off to the Lighthouse.

If you have never been to this Lighthouse you should do yourself a favour. It is the most majestic lighthouse I have ever seen. Not particularly big, rather, more like a place with a commanding aspect and fortress like surroundings. (53km).

The 800m hill up and back from the lighthouse was a pain and I knew that it was time for more food because I was starting to lose concentration.

The section from the Lighthouse to Little Waterloo Bay was some of the toughest terrain I have ever covered. The track was hilly, covering numerous rises over cliffs. It was also wet and slippery and completely over grown in sections. I had decided to use compass and map to navigate through this section.

By the time I got down to little waterloo bay at 68.8km my left ankle was killing me. I was running flat-footed on my left and in real pain. I popped a couple of my wonder pills (paracetamol and caffeine in one tablet courtesy of LHR terminal 4) and started to perk up. But soon after I was walking again.

I was now in a situation that I didn’t want to be in. My ankle was sore and I couldn’t run but I wanted to get to the notorious beach exits (the one’s where lots of people got lost last year) before dark.

I did make it through all the beach crossings. The only one I had trouble with was the Oberon Bay exit but I just copied the advice from Sean Greenhill and Kevin Cassidy (2001) and scrambled up the side of the hill, knowing that the track could be crossing the hill longitudinally at some point.
The most remarkable thing happened at Little Oberon (77km). I managed to find the beach exit without any trouble by using map, compass and printed advice from

I finally made it back to the campsite at Tidal River and stopped for a cuppa. By this stage I was feeling great but my bloody ankle was hurting me.

I must say I as getting worried that David would catch me (GBH, oooorah) and decided to keep ambling.

It was nice to see Chilli and RMC and Tim C (who had hurt himself in a fall). Thanks for the escort to the bridge.

I quite enjoyed the last 20km even though I had a sore L ankle and really savoured the still cool evening. I saw David about 1km back and had my light off some of the time so that he wouldn’t chase.

As I finished in 18hrs I had a sense of satisfaction. I knew I could go faster, I still had good energy and I wasn’t too tired. David ended up coming in 10 or so minutes after me.

After some post mortems with Chilli, Whippet and UCB. I decided to call it a day. And awoke 3hrs later for the 4hr drive back to Avalon.

Congratulations to Paul Ashton on a great and challenging event.

Well done to every one who had a shot.


At 1 May 2007 at 11:20 am, Blogger 2P said...

Sounds like a great adventure Brendan - well done mate & great report too.

At 1 May 2007 at 12:54 pm, Blogger Tesso said...

Brendan, you make trail running sound so much fun. So much fun to read about that is.

About the only appealing thing is those jackets, they look nice. Gore-Tex too, something very Seinfeld about that. Not to be worn in liquor stores.

Well done Team GBH!

At 1 May 2007 at 6:02 pm, Blogger Spud said...

If ever there was an excuse for more equipment then the Prom is certainly one from the sounds of it.
Great report and perfect training for WS. Well done!

At 2 May 2007 at 6:10 am, Blogger Horrie said...

Congratulations on toughing out another one in what sounds like atrocious conditions. I think I remember somewhere you saying something about howling wind and rain.;-)

At 2 May 2007 at 7:59 pm, Blogger undercover brother said...

nice report dude.
nice to see u out there.


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