No, wait, he entered a first-time run.
Cyborg gets a First in a Run
You know what a well-regarded mountain biking event, well, festival of high-renown really needs? A trail run of course. The team at Wild Horizons noted that many riders who turned up at the Fling talked about “Hall Passe”, and noted that not everyone occupied Fling Eve with the Bundanoon Dash. And since all these people were in town to register, well why not provide another event? So the Bundy Run was created. Just to add a bit more suffering to the weekend for anyone foolish enough to take on another Wild Horizons challenge.
This was the first-ever Bundy Run, so I thought it quite fitting that it was to be my first even “official” trail run. Sure, I’d run through bush at orienteering events and adventure races, but actual trail runs are a different beast. I was thinking it would be a nice little prelude to the Fling. After all, I’d be in town to register, I’d get to see a bit more of the highlands and, for some strange reason, I’ve been enjoying a run of late. I’m not totally insane though, and only entered the “quarter” marathon of about 11kms (there was also a “teaser” of 6km - but nobody likes a tease).
Registrations for the run were open between one and three in the afternoon - with the run starting at four - which gave me plenty of time to register, then roam around all the stands in town, before getting wet on my walk back to the car as a fine, misty rain started down. This didn’t let up - but it was just a mist, and given the amount that I sweat when I run, it really wouldn’t make a difference. So I put on my balding running shoes (I like to match my outfits), and headed back to the start where Huw was holding court with the PA.
Now, I had promised myself that I would study the course a bit more prior to the event. And, I did read over it a few times. And I sort of had the elevation profile in my head - a kind of lumpy course, starting with a moderately steep descent, into an undulating, trending downhill course with a large V in the middle, before a relatively lumpy climb back out to a steep ascent back to the finish. How hard could it be? And I had planned to take it easy - after all, I was doing the Fling the next day, so didn’t want to entirely burn myself out.
The part of the description I remembered was the start - because there was a steep initial descent which we’d have to climb back up - you know, just to make sure we all had something to look forward to and think about whilst out on the run! Initially the descent didn’t seem so bad, until it really dropped, thinning out the field somewhat.
I became slightly concerned when we turned into some sodden single-track, and a latex conga line formed. Fortunately this was short-lived, and we turned back for a little more climbing through the streets of Bundanoon before finally getting into the bush proper down a flight of stairs. They warned us about this. Why is it that stairs on bush trails seem to always be separated just enough so that you can have a step in-between - resulting in you taking all the stairs on the same leg?
From here the field began to spread a little more as the trail began to weave through the bush, and in the usual Wild Horizons style, we dropped down to a creek in an effort to clean our shoes, before climbing back out and running along some nice single track. Here a siren song to dragged me forwards through the bush. Only in a Wild Horizons event would you find a choir singing on course...
Then we were into the dip in the middle. And it dropped, and dropped, and dropped some more. While the misty rain blocked some of the more distant views, the close-up scenery was still very spectacular. The trail was quite technical at this point, so slowing down to enjoy the views was mandatory!
What goes down must come up, and climb we did, until we were once more on relatively level ground; shortly thereafter seeing the feed station which marked about 7km into the 11km run. It was nearly over! And, after that climb, the relatively flat ground was much more comfortable and easy-going. I even began to reel in other runners along this fire trail. I passed one lady, remarking that we only had a few more kilometres to go - to which she replied she had to do it all again. Everyone within hearing distance who passed her said sorry...
From here it was pretty straightforward, and though I really didn’t have much left in the tank, I managed to just cruise along until that dreaded last hill. To make it even harder, there was a slight incline before the main climb! I’d love to be able to say that I ran the whole way up the hill, more to the point, I’d like to say I took it easy to save a bit of my legs for the Fling on Sunday. But, truth be told, that was a big bloody hill at the end of a hard run! I did only walk for a little while, and managed to put on a pretty good sprint at the end.
Like all Wild Horizons events, think hard before you step up for all the pain on offer. Because they do like to offer pain, and I believe the half marathon version of the course (two laps) would have killed me - not just physically, but mentally – it would take a supreme effort to head out for another lap of that course!
As usual, many thanks go out to the team at Wild Horizons, and all the volunteers on hand for a fantastic event. It was a great event with fun atmosphere in a fantastic location. Definitely one to add to the calendar as a regular.