Sunday, 1 April 2007

2007 Percy Cerutty Frankston to Portsea 55km

Race Report

The 35th Percy Cerutty Frankston to Portsea 55km Road Ultramarathon

Sunday 1st April, 2007

I dedicate my race and this report to Bernard Julé and his family, the runner who died in his sleep after finishing the 70km 4th stage a few days ago at the Marathon des Sables, held in Morroco

I decided to do this race on Monday, for me this run holds a special place it is a true classic of ultras. Not only has it been around since 1971 it was also the testing ground for Australia’s best runners over a long period of time in days gone by. The setting for the Frankston to Portsea is as beautiful as a road run gets. The record is 3:40 something for the 55km. My time from last year was 5hrs 55min, I had three objectives for this year, in order they were:

1. Finish
2. Beat last year’s time
3. Beat last year’s time by more than an hour (requires 5:20/km for all 55km)

I flew into Melbourne and arrived at 8pm on Saturday night and got myself down to my accommodation in Blairgowrie. I faffed with gear till 12 and put the head down for a solid 5hr 30min of sleep. The next morning I managed to get a coffee into me prior to departure and munched on hot crossed buns all the way to the start line, next to the Kittens strip club in Frankston.

The weather was perfect. Not a breath of air and a beautiful 12 degrees (?) I handed a small bag to Whippet which contained some small bags with powder inside and a few gels and a couple of drinking bottles. Whippet exclaimed, “is that it?” and I responded, “yeah, it’s not a 100 miler we’ll be done in six hours.”

The pre race fun was like any other ultra there were plenty of familiar faces. To name a few.. RMC and Whippet Man who were providing race support. A number of runners who had just run trailwalker the week before and were backing up for more pain ie. Milov, awiseman and RB. The peninsula runners were well represented as well as the inimitable Peter Gray who had stated a few hours earlier and Melbourne Marathon Man Peter Dobson (he’s done all 29). I was surprised to see pbig lining up because I thought he was injured.

After a brief history lesson of the event from RD Kevin Cassidy we set off and immediately set into little groups. Mal Grimmet took the lead, some of the peninsula guys raced off and I settled into my 5:20/km pace with Milov and BennyUltra. It was good to be running with guys that were comfortable with the pace and had a portfolio of interesting topics to discuss.

The distance clicked away and I felt strong, I was deliberately slowing on the hills while still maintaining the 5:20/km pace. 20km came and went without any fuss and before we knew it we were at halfway (27.5km). RMC and Whippet were providing excellent support and I saw no need to carry water nor food because the calibre of the support was good and I had total confidence in RMC and Whippet, after all they know how important reliable support is, they’re trail runners.

Around the 32km mark I found running on Point Nepean Road harder than I should have, I did mention to Milov and Ben that the spring was going from my stride and I was starting to feel the pace a bit. I was also starting to get ratty with the dickheads who thought that aiming a car at a runner on the road was a cool way to get attention and impress his spotty mates.

Ben dropped back a bit and Milov and I were still chugging along. Around the 38km mark at MaCrae my Garmin 305 showed a message.. “are you indoors?, Um no, I’m not indoors in fact I’m outside and I’ve never seen more undisturbed sky in my life. And that was the end of the Garmin for the day.

Milov dropped back two paces and we continued to make good time, I was starting to hurt. I was nervous that we were dropping behind schedule so I picked it up a bit and Milov commented that things seemed a bit quicker.

Rosebud went on forever. I was now entering lead leg territory. I seemed to be moving well but only because it was flat. Every time I jumped a gutter I struggled to pick my legs up.

Milov and I caught a young peninsula runner and did the old, sprint past him, trick and made it to the marathon mark in 3:48. Soon after Milov stopped for a dunny break and never caught back even though he wasn’t far back and within sight most of the way to the finish.

By the time I got the hill in Sorrento I was suffering. Andrew turned up in the Mellum Kombi gave me some watermelon and spurred me on. “You’re doing well, just finish it off now”. This vote of confidence picked me up and I started to move quicker. I was trying to maintain the pace but I was hurting and thought I had probably lost objective # 3. I guess the last 10km of every race will hut no matter how far the race is. (obviously it needs to be over 10km).

With 9km to go I told Whippet that I didn’t want any more support, it was do or die time and I focus on getting to the end in one piece.

I got close to Sorrento and I knew that I now only had 5-6km of hills and that was it. At the Sorrento shops I spotted another runner way off into the distance on the top of a rise about 1km away. I figured I was moving faster than him and decided to try and catch him. It turned out to be a suffering Pbig. I thought that I must give catching him a shot, there’s no way I’ll get another chance to catch him on a bush course and he has been injured, so now is the time to strike. The hilly section through Portsea was hard. I managed to catch Peter on the last hill and surged with everyting I had left in the reserves to ensure that I gave myself the best chance to stay away. To my surprise I did stay away.

My finishing time 4:53. 1hr 02min faster than last year. Nice!

3:48 Marathon
1:05 last 12.8km

I waited at the finish to clap most of the remaining runners and was very impressed to see the younger competitor, “Sarah” take out the womans event. There were lots of good runs today, as you would expect in perfect conditions. And the huge difference the support made certainly contributed to the good times. See pics of runners at finish.

The Support Team (Kevin, Andrew and RMC). Sterling job chaps.

awiseman who putin a solid effort in his leadup to Comrades on the 17th June

Milov who made me work hard after doing trailwalker last week and carrying a camelbak the whole way today.

BennyUltra who was with Milov and I until about 35km.

The Womens Winner, Sarah ans her Dad (she had an amazing run)

And last but not least, RB and a young Peninsula Runner who came in around 11th or 12th..

My race was perfect. I achieved all three of my goals and finished 7th (?) only ~45 min behind the winner after 55km. I’m very happy with that.

RMC gave me, awiseman, milov and RB a lift back to the strip club in Frankston and I returned to the peninsula for a cold bath. (apparently it helps recovery).

It is now dusk and I thought I might go down to the Sorrento Cemetery and pay my respects to Percy Cerutty the man that inspired so many and is remembered in this race. I hope to be back next year for this classic event.

The best hamburger joint in Australia is between Dromana and Macrae. It is a huge secret. It is run by an elderly Italian couple, it has a simple sign out the front that says “HAMBURGER” with a grape vine that has overgrown the front. Today I rewarded myself with a hamburger with the lot from Hamburger. I figured I deserved it.

Cheers, Brendan


At 1 April 2007 at 7:13 pm, Blogger mpluss said...

Well done Brendan, Big day and solid pace.

cheers PLu

At 1 April 2007 at 7:45 pm, Blogger Tesso said...

Woohoo!!!! Good on ya Brendan. Nice work achieving all three goals.

Good pics too. Am I mistaken or is Sarah CR Fellisafie??? We met her at Caboolture. Good to hear she had a great run.

At 1 April 2007 at 8:00 pm, Blogger Spud said...

Knew you could do it well done big fella!Nice report too.

At 1 April 2007 at 8:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On ya bubba. I really don't see why a 3hr marathon is out of the question. Love you xxx J

At 2 April 2007 at 4:58 am, Blogger Horrie said...

Congratulations big fella. I knew you could do it. I'm glad you had the confidence to have a crack at it. See you at training.

At 3 April 2007 at 2:30 am, Anonymous mushroom boy said...


A fine run...sounds like you are ready for States!

Now you tell us about the best hamburgers in OZ!!! Better than In 'n' Out??


At 5 April 2007 at 8:23 am, Blogger skizzik said...

Well done Brendan!!

A great run - looks like the Western States prep is in full swing!


At 9 April 2007 at 12:29 pm, Blogger Hamburglar said...

Did someone say Hamburger?

It looks as if I need to do this race just for the Hamburger after.

Nice running Brendan - looking good for WS!

At 4 May 2009 at 10:27 pm, Blogger gemini said...

Nice site :-)


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