30 Jun 2013

Warrnambool Crater 2 Coast 50km Ultra Marathon 2013

The Koroit to Warrnambool Half Marathon has a long history (20-plus years?) and was one of the first events that I ran beyond 10km. Being a local event, and a standard part of my local Warrnambool Athletics Club race calendar, I couldn't miss it! The Ultra distance was added last year which I ran as well only a week after the 2012 Adelaide Marathon! The Race used to run regularly on the 3rd Sunday in August, however as the course changed to incorporate the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail, flooding became an issue on sections of the trail and as a result it was brought forward to June.

The Crater 2 Coast Ultra was something I was super excited to revisit, planning to smash my time from the year prior on the theory that I was much better prepared especially since I haven't killed my legs by running Comrades and Adelaide Marathon prior!
Although things had been busy at work, being a local race I was feeling really well prepared and in the days leading up, I had a few runs and fuelled up properly, I was feeling ready to tackle this beast!
Race Director (center) John Keats gives runners the pre-race briefing in the early hours...

I know it seems to be a regular occurrence, but I've been super lucky with weather and this one was no different. There is no real solid race start time here, only when the RD John Keats feels like sending us all off. There were about 20 of us stupid runners who had assembled in the football club change-rooms to take on this wondrous event! It was warm in the rooms, but cold, wet and dark outside. Even though we stood at the start line in puddles as the rain was drizzling away in the darkness at the Port Fairy football oval, it was almost perfect running conditions all day. The weather fluctuated constantly during the race but for the most part it was cool and calm with minimal rainfall.

The course for the Crater 2 Coast Ultra Marathon (or Warrnambool Ultra as I know it) is essentially the rail trail walking track from Port Fairy to Warrnambool. We start off running a small loop though the streets of Port Fairy up by the beach before heading back through the town and onto the trail which travels through farmland (for the most part) onto Koroit. It is a constant gentle climb into Koroit until the old Koroit Train Station where it effectively descends the rest of the way into Warrnambool, passed the smelly abattoirs and finishing at the Warrnambool Athletics Club rooms near the Warrnambool Beach and waterfront. Many local runners describe this course as boring - which I generally agree with - although I actually enjoy the course for that reason, its calm, quiet, and simple. Although, Fiona Aulsebrook (1st Female, 4th overall) still managed to get lost, taking a wrong turn during the race and running an extra kilometer unnecessarily!

Half-Marathon runners come down the trail from Koroit in 2012
source: Facebook

2 Jun 2013

Barossa Marathon 2013 - so many grapes!

So this is my fifth race for the year already! The third state in my Aussie Sweep. The Jacobs Creek Barossa Marathon is run by the SA Road Runners Club which started as a 17km race in 1981. It was changed to a Half-Marathon in 1984, 5km and 10km events were added in 1995 with the Marathon distance added in 2012.

Obviously I was running this on the back of having ran Great Ocean Road Marathon only the weekend prior, so my race preparation was simply, recovery massage from my man, the great Greg Logan. This man has magic hands and a good knowledge of sports related massage. I tell him I've ran a marathon and he gets to work. I only turned the legs over a couple of times in the week prior to this race. I wanted my legs to get maximum recovery during the week.

The weather forecast for Barossa was pretty much perfect, low chance of rain, cloudy and mild! There was a slight drizzle of rain at about 5-6am. Enough to damp the ground, but that was it for the day!

the gorgeous scenery encountered mid-run
The Barossa Marathon course is amazing. The town of Tanunda where the course starts from, is a picturesque little town, "quaint" is the best word to describe this place. Think gorgeous little cottages with rose gardens ;)

It was a nice change to run another marathon that isn't a multiple loop course. The race takes you right out of town and around the surrounding vineyards, overlooking the rolling hills and various wineries.

The course continues on a few out and back sections including one walking track that is maybe 5km long and runs straight through the middle of several vineyards.