“OF ALL THE PATHS YOU TAKE IN LIKE, MAKE SURE A FEW OF THEM ARE DIRT” – JOHN MUIR
On Saturday 5th September at 8:40AM, I set off on an incredible 29KM race through Sydney’s Royal National Park. The course started in Otford and went up and down headlands, across beaches and along coastal cliff edges all the way to Bundeena. It is one tough track!
Setting off in groups of 2-4 every 5 seconds, competitors head out of the town of Otford and into the start of the Royal National Park. The first part of the course is very technical and narrow in parts, so it can get quite congested with runners maneuvering through the ups and downs. Once you’re out of Palm Jungle, you’re blasted with sunshine and coastal winds as you race across the coast line and head up the first headland. The first headland is nothing compared to the one next to it (pictured below), this one is a doosy!
When you finally come down the other side, it’s a smooth ride into Garie Beach where the first check point awaits. I had a piece of banana and I was on my way across Garie Beach (see photo below). and up the next headland.
The climb was well worth it! The view from the top is incredible (see photo below)
The run into Wattamolla is quite pleasant compared to the first 12KM. Unfortunately, by the time I hit the checkpoint at Wattamolla I was already a little behind schedule and I could feel that pesky knee pain coming on.
With about 7KM to go my dull knee ache turned into full blown knee pain and it became excruciatingly hard to keep my pace up, and coming across the last few beaches was a killer. With about 3KM to go, I had to slow it right down to a walk. I managed to catch up with two other runners on Jibbon beach who were also having knee troubles, so we all finished the race together.
I may have missed the cut off to qualify for 6 foot track, but I was so glad to have crossed the finish line with a smile on my face (despite the intense knee pain). I’m always learning more about myself the more I race and I’ll be sure to get some help from a physio regarding my knee. All in all, it was a great race through a spectacular part of Sydney and I’ll be back next year to do it all again!