Saturday started with a 3:30am alarm and a drizzle, which promised to ease off as the sun rose. But it did not. The drizzle lingered around as a couple of hundred runners gathered around for the start line of the Surfcoast Trail Marathon – a Tourdetrails event – in Torquay.
The mountains and running had taught me to love early rises. Driving in solitude listening to the Ben Charnley Quartet for two hours to Fairhaven had been the caffeine I needed to get the day going. For me, good jazz and a nice trail over a long day is as close to an idea of heaven as it gets. This course had been the site of my maiden trail marathon back in 2015. I was quietly looking forward to sharing the run this year with Bruce, and Meg who would join us midway for the half marathon.
Following the Surfcoast Walk route, I managed to stick with Bruce and his wing-footed friend for much of the first half. We nicknamed her Gazelle. They dropped me on the long stretch of sand past Point Addis. I still need to learn to move better on sand. Meg, and Carmen from Geelong, who were both running the half caught up with me on the same sandy stretch. We finished the race together under their target time, but I did slow them down a bit during the last few kilometres as my legs tightened up. It was great to see Brett Saxon from Trails+ in a different role, as he snapped photos of us runners at several checkpoints in the rain.
Overall, it was another cool day running with friends, old and new, along a beautiful section of the Victorian coast. Over the next two weeks, I expect to have time to train on sand, in hot and humid condition, and get ready for Adelaide 24 hours in mid July.
As I wrote this update, the 2018 edition of Big Red Run had just been wrapped up. There had been undoubtedly plenty of laughter and tears, tales of struggle and triumph, and a good dose of determination for future returns. Congratulations Big Red runners, volunteers and organisers of 2018!