Six Foot Marathon 2010








The Six Foot Marathon is one of the marquee fixtures on the Australian trail running calendar. Not going into too much history, as you can see that on their website , the marathon is by far the largest trail race in Australia with over 800 runners, is a point to point 45km race on a historically significant trail and is held in the spectacular Blue Mountains, west of Sydney NSW.

We opted to stay at Jenolan Caves, which is about a 3 – 3 1/2 hour drive (depending on Friday afternoon traffic) from Sydney and is also the finish of the Six Foot Marathon. It is a beautiful spot and  regarded as Australia’s most outstanding cave systems. Didn’t get alot of time to do the sightseeing thing, but will definitely be taking Tanya back at some stage. Post-run festivities in the evening were pretty much non-exisitance though and if you are after a celebration, would be staying in Katoomba, as we will be next year.

Saturday morning started with a 530am pick-up from Jenolan Caves and 90 minute trip to the start of the trail, just out of Katoomba. We arrived with ample time before the race started, so consumed some bread and golden syrup, coffee and talked tactics. Shaun promised us there were no real killer hills and having not done my research, I believed him!

Not wanting to make excuses, I was a bit apprehensive how I would go in the run. I had a solid trail race about 3-4 weeks earlier at Mt Glorious in Brisbane, but since then my training had dropped off and I had attended a mates 40th in New Zealand and it had taken its toll!!

Anyway, there I was at the start line and too late to have second thoughts. I took off in wave 2, about 20 minutes before my mates and it looked like it would be me and my own thoughts for the next 5 hours or so.

The first 15km down to Cox’s River, was a pleasant stroll through bush and farm land and after an  hour on my feet (my normal time to warm up), started to feel good. I was well aware there would be a runners jam at the start on a few hundred metres of stairs, but was frustrated to get caught behind a group coming into Cox’s River, some fun technical single trail. I understand this happens when there are so many runners, but when a slow runner at the front has 20 or so people behind him and refuses to make any effort to let people pass, pisses me off.

Keeping control of my emotions, I crossed the creek and started the climb to the Mini-Mini Saddle and then onto the Pluviotmetre (26k mark). Having not done my research and listening to Shaun, I wasn’t really prepared what was ahead. I am not a novice on hills, but this one really hurt. Other than a small downhill section around the 20k mark, it was constant climb for around 10km (seemed alot longer). It was here I started to question my training and my back was giving me a bit of grief.

Reaching the Pluviotmetre was sweet, but the following ks along Black Range Road really questioned my resolve. It was undulating and the ks clicked by very slowly. To keep going, I gave myself a 30 second walk every 5 minutes, not always sticking to this, but doing my best. Knowing there was a downhill section to finish kept my spirits up and the odd chat to fellow runners took my mind off feeling sorry for myself.

The last 10k is a bit of a blur and one of the tougher moments I have had in my short ultra career. It was the thought of crossing the finish line and not running anymore that kept me going and my time goals were not a concern anymore. Due to cramps in my calves and stomach, the downhill was not what I expected or wanted and being passed by other runners in what is normally my strength was a bit demoralising.

Finally getting in ear shot of the crowd and off the trail onto a concrete path, I was able to fly down the last 1 km and to hear my name called as I entered the finishing shoot, made it all worth while. While I had a tough race and probably under trained, I had finished another ultra and it was an amazing experience, testing both my mental and physical resolve. Tanya got a teary phone call, which at first she thought I had hurt myself, but then understood it was post Ultra emotional moment.

It was great to see Shaun and Pete come in a while after I finished and they both had big smiles on their faces and proud to be Six Foot finishers. Will be back again in 2011 and can’t wait.


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