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Running Up that Hill

18 February 2012

18 February 2012

Running Up that Hill

The course for the mountain run
The course.

In a change from the last time the Cyborg entered the Stromlo Running Festival, the mountain run was held later on Saturday; which was very fortunate for the Cyborg indeed, as it meant he had time to recover from the iAdventure race in the morning. And what better way to warm down from an adventure race than running up a mountain? A 3.6km run, with a vertical climb of 180m on gravelly firetrail. The elevation profile says it all really.

The elevation profile for the Mountain Run
Kind of like a reverse slippery-dip!

Well, it does; but such profiles can be a bit deceptive, it’s all about scale; that’s why it’s easiest to go back to the gradient rule (you know, rise over run). Now, the rise in this climb is 180m and the run (feels like 180m up) or at least the climbing portion is about 2.8km, which gives a gradient of about six percent, which is a lot better than it looks! And the course involves a few switchbacks, so it’s not like it’s a constant climb. They just put out that elevation profile to (a) make the runners who do it look even tougher and (b) scare off the wannabes. Obviously, neither of those worked for the Cyborg (or the little girl who beat him).

So a generally cool and mild day, which included a bit of rain, cleared into a quite warm and muggy afternoon for the run; which resulted in the Cyborg having a light sweat at the start; but that was okay, it just made it look as though he’d done a warm up! Then they were off and running - and they were running! No light jog from the start, everyone took off on a mission! The Cyborg had to put on some pace just to keep up from the start!

Runners starting
A faster start than usual for the Cyborg!

Within about two minutes of running harder than usual, and hard breathing, the Cyborg’s mouth became dryer than the Atacama Desert, and he began to sincerely regret not taking the sage advice of the Immoral Support Crew (”Take a drink!”) Thinking it would be a quick run, and carrying extra weight would just slow him down, he’d ventured off without. Still, knowing there was a drink station at the top just gave him something to look forward to!

After following a relatively flat fire trail for a while, the climb proper started. First it was up the side, then the switchbacks began; no, not the ABC Switch Backs, but running switchbacks. At least the slower speed allowed the Cyborg to take a little longer to enjoy the view.

In no time at all, he was onto the road, running parallel to City View (dreaming of his bike), where he saw the Immoral Support Crew and the Leading Lassy waiting, taking photos and shouting encouraging words like “Hey, a little girl has already finished - she was way ahead of you!”

Little girl at the top (before the Cyborg)
Yes, the Cyborg was beaten by a little girl!

So it was that the Cyborg reached the top in the not quite record-breaking time of 19:56, which was only 6:26 off the leading pace, but still a good 0:16 better than his time on the last Mountain Run - so a new PB!

An unmentioned rule of the Mountain Run is that it’s over once you reach the top. Runners are then responsible for making their own way down. Most just jog back down the same course. Fortunately for the Cyborg, the Immoral Support Crew is no slouch, and came up to the summit to cheer him on in the Adventure Truck, which meant a luxurious, air-conditioned ride into the sunset (well, into the gathering rain).

Cyborgs arms up in victory
... a bit of a false victory

Race Stats

Date: 18 February 2012
Location: Mount Stromlo, ACT
Result: 19:56 (28/37)
Rating: Reasonable Adventure
TriHards: Cyborg supported by Immoral Support Crew
Event website: Stromlo Running Festival Site