runningman pavey

extreme runner and novelist

Australian Mountain Running Championships

The Australian Mountain Running Championships were a blast!

A very different atmosphere to the normal trail runs I’ve done. As soon as I arrived, there were people running around doing warm ups left right and centre. Totally intimidating. So, I figured I better do some warm up running as well. I’ve had a cold all week, lost my voice, and really shouldn’t have even been running. But I just couldn’t miss this event. They don’t come around that often! The warm up helped a bit. It helped loosen my tight calf and my sore back. I’ve been a bit of a walking wounded since the Glasshouse 30km two weeks ago!

The race was a 13.5km run, so the distance wasn’t going to be a concern. The double 420m (1377feet) elevation gain over 1.2kms (practically straight up) was going to be!

Start of Australian Mountain Racing Championships Open Event

We started at 9:20am at a strong sub 5min/km pace on an incline straight away. This was a long 1km steady incline, just to let us know that this was the real deal.

A Downhill SectionI held myself steady in the middle of the pack. Never having run mountain races before, I really had no idea what I was doing. I found runners, quite simply, to follow.

We managed the peak of this first hill then descended, then ascended again, then descended again. All of this was undulating, rolling hills, but steep enough to make your legs hurt, and we hadn’t even got to the main ascent!

The main climb was tough. It was an extremely steep incline, but the worst of it was that it was 1.2kms of straight up. It just went on and on! Many ahead of me slowed to a walk.

I steadfastly kept running and reached the peak (7min/km pace). Then, we circled back down the mountain, regaining my breath, and some strength. My strong suit is downhills so I gained and passed a few guys (3min/km pace). But then it was back to the second ascent of this hill.

Nearing the finishThe second ascent of course was far harder. I ran the first 750m but with guys walking in front of me, I just couldn’t keep it going. I walked the second half of this hill.

Interrestingly enough, my pace was close to running anyway. I made the ascent, out of breath and totally spent, but it was now 3kms of downhill. I ran this hard. There were people behind catching me. I didn’t want to loose places after all my hard work. I wasn’t ready for the hills though. There were a few more small inclines to deal with. Usually they wouldn’t have been an issue, but being my legs were shot, they were tough going. I could hear a guy behind me catching.

He was going to get me, I was sure. He was flying, and catching me quick. I opened up my stride, started pushing into the downhill as opposed to fighting it. I ran hard, all the way to the finish, and, crushed the guy’s spirit behind me. He dropped off in the last 500m and I held my place!

The Finish

1:06 was my finish time. Placed 23rd out of 44 in the Open Men’s event, which I’m happy with. I wasn’t at my best, and it was my first go at mountains. A big wake up call for Mt Fuji. It was damn hard running up mountains! Going to have to practice that run in the coming weeks…

 

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