Bush Capital Runs

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Bob's late decision to do a Vets cycling race today instead of running the Mountain Running Association's inaugural Bush Capital Run left us with a slight logistical dilemma. Being held at Tarago, about an hours drive from Canberra, I arranged a lift home with Rad so Bob could take the car. Rad also picked up Aki and I to get there, meaning he had a long, long day at the office traversing the city from one side to the other.

The conditions were perfect for running, although a stiff wind developed later in the morning. With a long queue for the 'loos (lots of showers in the school gym, but only two toilets with lots of waiting women), I didn't have enough time to grab my bags from Rad's car to leave in the gym. The start near the school oval near Limestone Ave ensured that there was not going to be a crush of runners over the first kilometre, nor a need to negotiate the dangerous metal bridge.

I caught up with a number of Cool Runners at the start; CJ, Wombat, Friar, Prue B, and Aki. From the start I found my wonderful running buddy Peter. We ran together easily, starting out with an easy first kilometre of over 6 minutes. The 16km and 25km events started together at 9:00am so the field was quite thick at this point. Just near the 2km point, a bevy of young 5km speed-stars were coming back from their turnaround. As we crossed the road, and ran up the track nearest the airport we passed a few runners, some known, some unknown. Once again we were running so comfortably together time and kilometres passed quickly.

With increasing discomfort, I had to disappear into the bushes. With many people around, this proved to be quite a long journey and took some minutes. To my surprise and delight, Peter was waiting for me a little further along the road. We resumed running, although we had been passed by many. Aki was now only a metre or two behind.

For some reason, I stopped fully at the drink stop, nearly skittling Peter in the process. I never stop at the water station, opting to 'grab 'n go'. I'm not sure why I did this, and it surprised Peter as much as me. As we made our way to the hilliest section of the course, the field had thinned considerably, and there were few others around us. Turning left up to the steeper, rocky section of track, I was impressed that I had managed to ride my MTB up there, especially with it set up for commuting with slicks, locks, racks and navigating with the map on the top of my handlebar bag.

Peter was able to run downhills faster than me today, my only advantage over him in the past. With considerably more strength on the hills he has improved enormously in the last three months. Rounding the water tank, we had a comfortable downhill on gravel roads to the 11k mark which marked the turnoff for the return leg. Once again at the second drink stop I pulled up cold, and stuffed up Peter again! I had been spitting a great deal and was finding it rather difficult to swallow. It's not unusual for me to spit constantly (apologies to everyone within a couple of metres), but this drinking thing was new.

The out-and-back section to the Federal Highway was interesting, a good surface, rarely flat, and with great views of the city and yet engulfed in the bush. With the 16k runners having turned off, there were far fewer people around now. A triathlete I regularly run in the BBQ Stakes with, and who has consistently beaten me in every 10k in recent memory (advising sagely that "I must do hill work"!) was within view for the length of this section. On a downhill part, Peter and I flowed past him, only to jockey our positions repeatedly over the next 7kms. I would fall back on the inclines, Peter chivalrously dropping back to keep me company and where we would be passed. As the trail flattened we would catch up, and roll alongside.

On my exploratory cycle, I had turned around at the gate onto the highway. The course however veered to the north, passing over a boggy patch of mud (which Peter was able to hurdle expertly) and yet another equestrian log entrance. By now we had greater expertise and were able to lightly tread across the logs. A drink station was set up at the exit of an underpass where we turned around a cone before retracing our steps. Those marathoners who had started half an hour earlier, and the 60k ultra runners who left at 7:30am were to continue past here for another off-road bushland ramble on the Gungahlin side of town.

Relieved to arrive at the last water stop, as I knew that there were only five easy kilometres to go. A well known section of track following the rear of houses in the suburbs of Hackett and Ainslie. Apart from the section where we had to squeeze through the fenceline at the end of Antill St, this was all undemanding running and quite flat. Despite this, I suffered from some strong abdominal pains and had to reduce the intensity to aemeliorate the spasms. Peter refused to go on ahead and instead reduced his pace too. The welcome yellow sign indicating 1km to go came into view, and we run the largely downhill section on the northern boundary of Ainslie Village. Cutting across the open land in front of CSIRO, the bunting marking the finishing chute came into view, with spectators lining the side.

Peter and I each probably slowed down too much in an attempt to finish together, and managed to dead heat in 2:17:09. Using the McMillan pace guide, I had been aiming for an even pace of 5:36 per kilometre, so I was happy, although I feel that I pulled Peter back too much. It was so nice running together though, I wouldn't swap it for quids!

At the end, each finisher was handed a commemorative mug. John Harding does a good job with these. I realised that morning as I was putting away things from the dishwasher that if you came to our place for a mug of coffee, the options were a well-worn 1984 Boston Marathon mug; Canberra Marathon Award winner; ACT duathlon championships; Kokoda Memorial Mtn Running Champs (1992); 1995 Mtn Running Champs; and the Three Peaks Classic 1991. In a weird way, they all match!

Aki was looking a bit sore and sorry, with her ankle strapped, elevated and iced (she was resting as well, so doing everything right). A bit shattered by the course, she did well to finish in a highly respectable time. Experience will come with a bit more time.

We met CR Epozay and the legendary Ray James. What nice people (of course!). I started to get really cold, although I had a light top to put on, all my gear, including FortiJuice were in Rad's car, and my blood sugars dropped and there was nothing suitable for me to hike them up. I would have loved to get stuck into the fruit and fruitcake! We saw the amazing, freakish, he-is-not-human Trevor Jacobs toddle freshly over the finish line in the 60km event within four and a half hours. I have an understanding of what 4:30 pace feels like for 5kms, 7kms and 10kms in the past. But to maintain that pace for 60 kms, let alone on a course like this is fantastic.

I think that John Harding is onto a winner here. With a little more publicity and getting it onto the calendar of events for those in the South East corner of Australia, it should only get bigger and better. Good organisation and well set up drink stations; more fluorescent direction signs that one would think possible to ensure that no one should get lost, an interesting course with a great surface, and a variety of distance options. A good (if cold at the end) day was had by this little duck.

9 Responses to “Bush Capital Runs”

  1. Blogger Friar 

    An early race report by Hardingman is at Friar's Blogspot.


  2. Blogger CJ 

    I agree wholeheartedly - it was a great run and I would definitely run it again. I really enjoyed running through the bush and the undulations only add to the interest and challenge.

  3. Blogger Luckylegs 

    Seems like you had a great run, FD,& a tough one at that! Congratulations on a run well run! I'd intended to do it this year, but Canberra & the GC marathons took their toll & things have to be necessarily easier until it's time to start up for Canberra....again!! Well done on our effort.

  4. Blogger Aki 

    Go the ducky! :) Seems like the ducks are out of water and now up mountains, no idea how you can go so fast for so long on such a hard trail, awesome stuff!

  5. Blogger Friar 

    Full results, from Hardingman, are now on Friar's Blogspot.



  6. Blogger speedygeoff 

    Well done FD; good thing Saturday's race wasn't 2 1/2 laps.

  7. Blogger allrounder 

    good run FD...i've covered some of that area orienteering and i agree with Aki - the speed you covered that ground in is awesome!

  8. Blogger go girl 

    Well done FD! Love the report. I really miss Canberra everytime I read your blog....

  9. Blogger Eagle 

    Please to have meet you even if it was brief. You needed to leave and I was feeling just a liitle light headed so little said. Would have loved to have spent longer with you. Good report and it sounded like a solid run for you. Catch you soon.

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  • Aki Runs!
  • allrounder
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  • Team Moore
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  • Distance Swum
    February 17,400m
    October 3,800m
    November 4,150m
    December .
    Distance Cycled
    November 120km
    December 297 km