10 June, 2013

Run Forrest!

And run we did!
This Queen's Birthday weekend saw the staging of a new event on the Barwon: the inaugural "Run Forrest" and naturally, I had to be a part of it!
The calm before the storm. West Barwon River
It was my first official trail run over the half marathon distance. I was seriously underdone training-wise both for the distance and the hills and definitely lacking in pretty much any sort of proper trail running experience. None-the-less it was a great thing to do. With a finishing time of 2:16:40, I was never going to break any records - not even my own - but that wasn't really the point.
The point was to get out and run along parts of the Barwon I either hadn't seen before or hadn't run along. Some of the route I knew quite well, such as the track below the West Barwon Dam and that around Lake Elizabeth, but other sections I hadn't seen.
...still waiting...
...and GO!
Well, Forrest really turned it on. The weather was perfect; clear, cool and without a breath of wind. From what I could glimpse, the surface of Lake Elizabeth was as smooth as glass. This really was a stunning backdrop for a running event and I would love to say that I spent the whole distance admiring the view. The reality was however, that I spent most of the time paying very close attention to the path in front of me or the feet of the runner in front as I tried to avoid the very real risk of a sprained or broken ankle - such are the joys of trail running. However I did remind myself to take an occasional glance as I slowed down a little for the uphill sections, of which there were many!
..and here's one I prepared earlier...Lake Elizabeth December, 2011
It also meant that I did not carry a camera which was a good decision as the majority of the run was on narrow, single-person mountain bike trails with little room to stop or overtake. None-the-less, it was a great run with only one seriously murderous hill as we climbed up the "Red Carpet" trail from the East Barwon back to the West. All the other hills were relieved by short sections of flat or downhill.
The track around Lake Elizabeth December, 2011. It was a little damper than this
As well as being a new thing for me, the whole event was a learning curve both for the organisers and the good townspeople of Forrest. For those who didn't run, there was a band, a few stalls selling food and merchandise, coffee or a meal in town, the opportunity to take a stroll along the West Barwon to the dam and for those in the know even a couple of little log books to be discovered and signed.
For the runners there were the usual check in facilities, race support and post race recuperative beverages. There was also a rolling results tally which was updated as runners finished and displayed on screen which was kinda fun.
After the event, it was - fortunately - a short walk up to the main street and a wander through the 8th annual Otway Soup Festival before nabbing a table at Forrest Country Guesthouse for lunch. The guesthouse along with every other eatery in town was run off its feet, however the staff were holding up admirably and were still smiling by 3pm when the crowds were beginning to thin a little.
All in all, a great event!

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