2017 is my year of trying new things with running and Caboolture Dusk till Dawn fit the bill. I quickly ran it past Coach Jodie and I was surprised when she said I should enter the marathon. So with one week until the event I signed up for my first marathon of 2017. **NOTE I do not recommend signing up for a marathon one week out unless you have a good base**
Now there were a number of new or different factors in this event which took me way out of my comfort zone:
- It was at night (I’m a morning runner).
- It was summer.
- It was on a 500m track.
- The track was dirt.
Any one of these changed factors would have alerted any runner to the fact that it might be a tough night but as usual in my glass half full to overflowing approach I didn’t give it much thought until the day of the event.
11 February 2017 was a day most people will remember on the East Coast; it was one of the hottest days on record and was the heat wave that was publicised and talked about for days. It also happened to be the day of my first marathon for 2017. With the media attention and the number of concerned comments I had received, I too was getting worried. I started hydrating early with both water and electrolytes. On the drive to the event the ABC radio reminded me again of the conditions and I pulled over and got another Powerade and quickly drank it too, thinking I couldn’t be too cautious: I was…
When I finally arrived at the Caboolture Historical Village I found a camp site of ultra runners. I was greeted with the warm welcomes of many RMA friends and of course the amazing Tina and Kelly who would not only help me throughout the night but also many other RMAs. Connie and Jodie were preparing for their 6 hour races, Peta for her half marathon and Sara for the marathon. We had our tables and supplies set up next to the track.
With very little fuss or ceremony the event started in the brutal heat of 6pm. As we started the laps of the course we soon realised the heat was not going to subside, even when the sun eventually set and we were in for a tough night.
At the 15km I started to feel sick. I realised I had made a rookie error, I had over hydrated and for the next 27km it was one foot after another of nausea. Every hour the race director would change our direction and with the new direction came another wave of nausea. As it got darker I felt disorientated in the darkest section of the track but still I kept going if only to get past the RMA tent every 500m to see Tina and Kelly again.
Now these girls were the true heroes of the day for me. They ran laps with me, they passed me ice, they wiped me down, they fed me and they looked after me. Without them I wouldn’t have finished. I was reminded by my son this week of the story of the Good Samaritan and immediately I though of my friends that night. They were there when I needed them most.
I was so proud of Sara who took out the marathon in brutal conditions. She was strong, she was determined and she was focused. The RMAs attending and supporting the event represented true RMA spirit with encouragement and support the whole night through.
Connie and Jodie ran for an amazing 6 hours always smiling and without complaint. Congratulations – you make ultra running under extreme conditions look easy.
For anyone wanting to try something different this was an interesting event and certainly made me tougher both mentally and hopefully physically. I got the endurance boost I needed with the love and support of running friends and I’m looking forward to getting back out there for more running fun with maybe a little less hydration.