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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Monday, 21 May 2012

The North Face 105, Blue Mountains, Australia

Saturday's race was, well, errrrrr, pretty eventful to say the least. Disappointing, unfortunate, darn unlucky - all those sorts of words come to mind. I ran fairly conservatively for the first leg through to CP1. I figured that was the sensible approach given I had only raced three weeks beforehand, I had travelled half way round the world to get to the race with limited time to deal with the jet lag, and it's kinda my style anyway. On the fast fire road out of CP1 I was really feeling good and starting to settle in and find a good pace. I was running with a young guy, Ben from Brisbane, and we pulled each other along nicely. At the ladders and single track descent off the end of Narrow Neck we were starting to pick guys off and move through the field towards the leaders - the first of many casualities from the fast pace early on.

But that's where disaster struck. A chain of 5 or 6 runners - including me - all running within sight of each other, completely missed a turn off down to CP 2, Dunphy's Camp. The course markings had all been taken down - no arrows, crosses, pink tape or anything else which had been used so thoroughly elsewhere. It turns out the vandals had been out and cleared a whole section of markings, and we were the first runners without course knowledge to suffer. We continued on an undulating vehicle track for quite some while before realising there was something seriously amiss. Looking at the splits, I believe it was a mistake worth over 30mins (5kms+), possibly a bit more given that I was running hard out of CP1. So I went from being within striking distance of the leaders to about 25th position at CP2, and completely out of the sharp end of the race. Gutted.

I decided to press on and finish the race to the best of my ability, and see if I could record some decent split times to at least demonstrate the sort of time I should have recorded! I was pleased with my splits from CP2 to 3, 3 to 4, 4 to 5, which were all ranked 2-4 overall. But obviously running in a time trial format without anyone to actually race, it is still hard to really compare. I hoped to claw myself back into the top 5, but I only managed to make 7th, albeit overtaking plenty of top guys who hadn't taken a detour.

The TNF100 race itself is an absolute cracker, and worthy of much more detail than this, so I will post a more detailed write up in due course, once back in the UK later this week. My Fellsman write up is also overdue - it just needs a little tidying up which I will get round to very soon.

Thanks to everyone back home for all the support.


beeroll said...

Bad luck Jez, looks like you ran about the same pace as Vaijin from CP2, so you would definitely have been on track for a sub 10 hour time without that brutal misdirection. Hope we get to see you down here again next year!

kaos said...

Jez, very sorry to hear your results didn't match your efforts. As you've seen the trail was very well marked. In fact the map is the only thing I know I won't need during the race so I was a little pissed to have them ask for it at a gear check! I was even wondering why they bother having forerunners, but I understand now. So we know that section would have been run very shortly before you guys came through. Disappointing that you suffered from a bunch of local dickheads. Sorry about that, hope to see you back!

tamyka said...

A dignified write up of a disappointing race. Unfortunately this is common in Australian events so I have taken to running with a map or GPS in my hand almost all the time. Can't wait to see what you do at Western States :)

Debs M-C said...

Oh no, that's my worst nightmare. When I saw your pictures on Facebook - and you didn't look your usual chipper self - I knew something went wrong.

Well done for picking yourself back up and making good of a bad situation. So many - including myself - would have spat the dummy and went home.

Debs M-C

Charlie said...

Rotten Luck Jez but congratulations on getting back into the race and not pulling the plug. That showed real character.

Daniel said...

Hi Jez

What a pity about the course markings being removed. I've gone wrong even on well marked courses so I can't imagine how tough it was when the markings were intentionally removed.

Congratulations on continuing and maintaining the focus to run hard.


ノースフェイス said...

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Dan N said...

Was devastated to hear what happened at TNF100, messing with the course is low, but it's worse for those who travel a long way to compete. Hope we'll see you back in Aus again, most of us aren't dirty course-vandals, I promise!
Dan (mate of Ben from Brisbane)