Run Adelaide Hard
This race was quintessentially what sums up Adelaide, hills to sea taking in all the beauty between the two parallels. A combination of road and trails the change in surface didn’t seem to be noticed too much as what you seemed to have around you always was the beauty of nature. Sure, we have highly developed some areas but the sense to space still prevailed making this an interesting course for locals and visitors alike.
On paper the course looked fast…mostly downhill people would “loosely” describe this course, but we all know this is not the case especially when it comes to Adelaide trails. The trails here are undulated with a few cruel climbs thrown in for good measure especially if you take a wrong turn or two in Sturt Gorge.
The art of navigation
The RAH course had you relying on your external navigation devices as much as your internal however I doubt you would find your way to the finish line if you relied solely on “following your nose”. Paper maps unless highly detailed would not be sufficient, with the gpx map loaded onto my Garmin and map on All Trails these devices were essential to help find my way from summit to sea.
The course markings were sparce and I am in full support of this; as trail runners we need to continue to hone in on our map/coordinate skills to run from A to Z calling upon trail awareness and survival skills to navigate our way through natures maze of trails. As trail runners we have a responsibility to know the course to a degree where you loosely know where you are going but still have a few unknowns, as I ran this course it reminded me a bit of life.
I started this run knowing more than a third of the trails; I have done a reccy on the first part of the course and felt somewhat confident in executing a strong start relying on my inner navigation not that of my watch or phone. As I exited Belair National Park this is where things got a little unfamiliar, as much as I tried to run with confidence there was a constant pull back of unsureness that slowed down the pace and had me double back more than once as I ran off course.
You see, you can have the best laid plans and in an instance be derailed – I guess over the past few years I have been reminded that nothing is ever guaranteed and nor should we expect it to be. Life is unpredictable, the plans we think we have are only that plans “an intention or decision about what one is going to do” but it is never guaranteed.
As I ran the RAH course, I lost count the number of times I doubled backed and questioned my route even at one point ending up about 1km off course down the bottom of Sturt Gorge having to navigate my way back to the correct trail – because I needed more vert, I told myself out loud!! At this point it could have unravelled my race, but sense prevailed, I put that mishap behind me, reset and moved on. I couldn’t change the past, but I sure could help change and mould the future.
This race was more than just finishing another ultra, this one was about finding trust in my body and seeing the growth of mindset. I was equally as proud of both to see me finish in 4th place overall and 2nd female.
What doesn’t challenge us
We all have reasons why we choose to carry out physical sports that challenge us; the operative word being ‘challenge’. I understand the benefits of movement but to challenge ourselves makes us step outside our comfort zone and this can be extremely uncomfortable. You are not only battling physical discomfort but mental anguish too and this if often the part of a race that derails you.
Through daily mediation and mindful practices, I am learning to train the brain (mind) to be equally if not stronger than the body. I am at the start of my journey. The two may not always be in sync but that won’t stop me from continuing to show up and see how it all plays out on the day.
The RAH race was a race that helped reignite my appreciation for nature, for community and for myself. This race connected a community with the traditional custodians of the land through ‘welcome to country’ and it was this setting that made this race so special.
Thank you for the race organiser, Ben for your vision and passion, to the volunteers who show much care and support and to my fellow runners especially the women for just being super strong and supportive on the day. We all ran with a sense of pride for each other but most importantly ourselves and to execute this in such a setting, aren’t we just the luckiest people.
For those who are interested my racing attire was made up of:
Hat – BKT Soft Cap
The Snug – BKT
T-shirt – Spring Energy
Compression shorts – 2XU
Womens Specific Ultra Run Crew Socks – Injinji
Shoes – S/Lab Ultra 3 and New Balance 1080
Running Vest – Salomon Adv Skin 5
Nutrition – Spring Energy
Electrolytes – Nuun
Find out more
To more about Run Adelaide Hard and the Ultra Hard series, click here.