50km Night Run in Wollongong
With the North Face 100 challenge coming up, a fellow runner in Wollongong, Neil H., decided to do a 50km night run to see if he is ready for the challenge. Below is the account of his run:
The Lunatic Fringe
I love getting off the roads into the bush in order to experience nature while running. It gives me the opportunity to feel more connected with creation and get some fresh air into the lungs. My weekly long runs is normally run somewhere around the escarpment and it usually in the early hours of the morning. I have done several trail runs over the years including the 6 foot track, the Brindabella classic, and the Bogong to Hotham marathon. I have always wanted to do something a little longer. A 100 K trail run in the blue mountains came up last year called the North Face 100 and I thought that now was the time to do it.
To decide whether I had the fitness to run it, I felt that if I could do a hilly 50 k around the escarpment in the evening when I was already tired then I should be ok to enter the 100 k. In late March I headed out at 9:10 pm from home for a run that I planned out to be around about 50k.
On a clear still night, I strapped on my hydration pack that was full of water and had a few fruit bars tucked into it. From Wollongong, I headed out through Unanderra and up Farmborough road. At the top of Farmborough road I emptied Gatorade powder into my bottle and filled it up from a tap; got my headlight out and headed into the darkness onto the trail. I ran around the back of Mount Kembla via the ring trail, over Mount Burelli and onto Harry Graham Drive. From there I headed over towards Mt Keira and picked up a water top up which I had dropped behind a tree the previous day. I also had some Gatorade powder, a banana, a muesli bar and a small tub of custard that I had also left. I headed across Mount Ousley road and onto the trail that leads out to brokers nose. I continued on to Rixons pass and then down, along the fire trail to the back of Wonoona, and back onto the bitumen. My legs were starting to feel tired but nothing was sore. I stopped at a petrol station and bought a coke at about 2 am. The operator was surprised to see someone who looked like he had been running and asked what I was doing. I continued on home and managed to clock up the 50.6 km in 6 and a half hours and it was 3:40 am. I was full of running and felt like I could commit to entering the 100 k trail run. I managed to get into bed just after 4, however, the alarm went off just after 6 so that I could make the kids lunches and have breakfast before heading off to work. I slept well the next night.