I completed 127km in the Adelaide 24h event. A midpack result in a 48-strong field, 3/5 in my category, it was far off my target of 150km, but given that a few things went wrong in the race, I felt that I had left all of my limited ability on the track and was happy with the outcome of my maiden 24h event.
I was so stoked that Big Red Run friend Rebecca volunteered to crew for me from Saturday evening until after the event on Sunday. I was also touched by the many supporting comments and encouragement from fellow Ockers. Thanks, guys!
The organisation by Ben Hockings, his crew and volunteers was top class, exactly what was needed to help runners compete in this challenging format.
The main challenges with this event were the cold condition and the hard surface. I had not packed enough layers so managing the cold at night was tricky. A few runners pulled out at different stages as the cold created performance issues. The hard surface jarred up against knees, ankles and hips. Five hours away from the finish, I needed to take an one-hour injury timeout to nurse my right hip. After the timeout, all I could do was limping slowly around the laps, often with Rebecca in cheerful support. These experiences provide valuable lessons for next events.
Being the Australian 24h Championship this year, the event attracted a large field for its format. Felix Weber (heavily rugged up in picture), from Germany, took out the men’s trophy in style, covering 260km. To see him containing discomfort and completing the last hour at 4 minute pace (after having run for 23 hours at a strong pace!) was a beautiful sight. He beat a classy field full of high achievers. Heather Hawkins took out the women’s trophy plus a bunch of other awards and prizes.
? Gary Denham