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Christie's 100k

Updated: May 17

RACE Report - Christy McFadden

Years ago, Guy came up with a 100 mile course that went from Mt Mee to Mt Cootha lookout. He wanted it to be one of the hardest milers around so incorporated every major climb and some fun ‘breaks’ as well. This has always been in the back of my mind and this year when there weren’t any more events on the calendar, I decided to give his course a crack. I did shorten it to 100kms though as I wasn’t trained enough for a miler and needed to get it done before the summer heat really took over.

Nov 4th - ‘race’ day Guy and Mike were going to be my main crew for the day. Guy couldn’t run because he was still a bit broken after his trek across the country. Guy picked us up at 3:30am for a 4:30am start. It’s so weird doing a ‘non-event’ as I wasn’t nervous at all and could just run my own race. I knew most of the trails and had different people scheduled to run with me all day/night.

Leg 1 - 23.8kms, 1116m of elevation - pacer: Mike What a great way to start the day! We had a big climb up a fire road that goes through dense rain forest. It was quite misty and once we got to the top, there were clouds in the valley. It was warm but not too bad. We followed range road for ages until the ‘fun’ downhill into white cedar.

Mike’s trail shoes are so old that we now call them slicks and he was slipping and sliding all the way down but knows how to run downhills so managed to stay upright. I was giggling all the way down thinking Guy knows how to put on an event. I also had a very slow bladder leak in my pack so my shorts got absolutely soaked which wasn’t ideal. We got into the first checkpoint and apparently Guy had already been to the Mt Glorious cafe twice so didn’t have any of my stuff ready for me. I was glad Mike was taking over. Scoffed down a rice pudding, loaded up my water (minus the bladder), grabbed my poles and off I went.

Leg 2 - 12.3kms, 724m of elevation - pacers: Suz and Marina We started out along the road and found the gate on the other side of the creek. I knew this section would be pretty much all uphill so I was ready for it. Had great company with Marina and Suz. We chatted non stop all the way. The route starts with the hardest climb of this section, which I believe is the start of the Mt Glorious trail race.

There is a bit of a nice downhill and then a cruisy uphill until you get to the single trail section all through dense rain forest. This 3 kms has been closed for a couple of years due to a massive rock slide but luckily it was open and we had a beautiful, albeit a bit technical, single track flat run.

Suz let the crew know I was hungry and to get a toasty ready for me. We found the boys and I sat for a few mins while eating my toasty and drinking my ginger beer (the absolute best drink during ultras!). Guy was still giggling at this course he created cause now I was nearly at 2,000m of elevation over 36kms.

Leg 3 - 15.6kms, 843m of elevation - pacer: Ric For those of you who don’t know Ric, he’s my crazy Italian friend who loves a trail adventure, has a wicked sense of humour and a great outlook on life. He was perfect for this section as this was definitely the most technical, insanely difficult, ‘fun’ part. This leg starts off with a fault sense of easy running with the first 8.5kms all on fire roads and a nice gentle decline to the creek.

Once you cross the creek the fun starts. The sun came out just for this 1.3km straight uphill climb. It was a grind! Once you get to the top, which takes forever, the course could have done a nice easy few kms into the next checkpoint but Guys sick sense of adventure took over and instead the course takes a sharp right and goes down edge break. It’s hard to believe that this is an actual strata segment although only a handful of sick souls have ever attempted it. It’s so technical that you can’t run downhill.

Ric and I slide and skidded our way down hoping for the best. I couldn’t help but giggle that this was part of the course. When you get close to the bottom, there is a section that is all overgrown with dried up lantana. Ric takes some video of me going backward through the lantana. We both get cut up but he has blood running down the back of his arm and is laughing about it. The worst part is when you get to the bottom at the creek, it just goes straight back up. It was steep, uneven and so so hot. It was a ‘suck the soul out of you’ section. Ric, his ever cheerful self was video’ing away and sending them to Guy who I’m sure was laughing his butt off that he created this beast. I was absolutely spent by the time I finished this leg. A few kms averaging 28mins/kms pace will do that to you. I got to the checkpoint to see Mike and Guy drinking a Scarborough Harbour Brewing Company beer and Ric quickly asks for one. Gotta love a good crew. I sat for a minute to collect my thoughts and have a ginger beer. I can’t even remember if I ate anything here because of the whole soul sucking the life out of me situation. Up next was Jess and she was raring to go. I had to fill completely up with water for this section because we were going very remote and it was a long one at 24kms.

Leg 4 - 24.5kms, 1018m of elevation - pacer: Jess For those that don’t know Jess, she’s just 19 years old and a fast road runner. She had come out on a few trail runs with me recently so I knew she would be fine. She was lucky enough to do the most remote section of the run with limited phone reception for a few hours. We started off up Mt Nebo road for about 400m until we turned off straight up a hill along a fire road. I was a bit unsure of this section so we were looking at the map a bit. We get to a no trespassing sign and continued on a bit until I saw a house and car and said, we are not going that way.

Clearly the race director (Guy) did not do his research on this section. I could see another trail just down to our right so decided to bush bash instead of back tracking. Well, that was a mistake because it was all picker bushes! Poor Jess was only a couple kms into the run and already experience true trail fun. We get down onto this section of trail and it was relentless up and down.

Mike had told Jess she had a nice easy 10kms of down hill and I can assure you, this was not the case. It seemed like it was 10kms of continuous up and down. We had a left turn onto a ‘break’ fire road.

For those that don’t know trails, whenever there is break in the name it usually means crazy hard. I was thinking, I sure hope Jess is ok with this bit. It turned out to be not too bad though. She did have one little slip where she went into a full split squat (luckily we had been practicing this move recently at the gym) but her knee didn’t touch and she came out the other side fine.

After our long ‘downhill’ we were close to Lake Manchester and this section just seemed to go on and on. At least it was flat(ish) and we chatted about what to do if one of us got bit by a snake. The joys of trail running! We started the climb out and before long it was time to put our headlamps on. We chatted and chatted and Jess had brought a speaker with her so we listened to a lot of music.

At one stage we decided to have a ‘who could sing the worse’ competition so Taylor Swift came out and we sang our hearts out in the dark. We had a good laugh when we got to scrub road camp site because there were 2 tents there and they were probably wondering what all the noice was about. Jess got a lesson in ‘dodge all the cane toads’ because as soon as it got dark, they were everywhere.

At least it was entertaining for me listening to her yell and jump all over the trail. We got to the next Checkpoint and my crew had my soup ready and Kyle and Jacinta were ready to hop on the train. I did a full clothes change, which I don’t normally do in a 100km race but I felt disgusting after such a hot day. I ate some homemade minestrone soup (minus the beans) and had another ginger beer. I told the guys I wanted my poles for the next section as well as I’d barely used them all day.

Leg 5 - 11kms, 564m of elevation - pacers: Jess, Jacinta and Kyle Jess decided to keep running with me (a decision she might regret in another hour or so) so Jacinta, Kyle, Jess and I all headed down the pavement. It was so nice to have a km or 2 just on a road without having to watch where to put your foot.

Also, how good are trail running friends who give up their Saturday night to run in the dark, up and down hills with some deranged lady who thought this was a good idea?

We turned right off the nice road and went down Blacksoil and then back up Blacksoil. We had lots of fun seeing 2 snakes - I never would have seen them if Jacinta hadn’t stopped and pointed them out. She has a knack for finding all kinds of wildlife out there - an owl and a million cane toads.

They told me rain (and possibly a storm) was coming so we just continued on our way chatting and having fun. It was refreshing to have different people out there with me for each section. They all brought a different vibe and energy to the day which was amazing. We went down South Boundary to Hell hole. For those that know this trail, no one runs it in the direction we were doing it in (except for Britt!) because there is a really really steep downhill into the creek.

Going down a steep hill is way more hectic than climbing up the hill. Anyway, Kyle and I proceeded to run down the hill (although we both slipped and slide our way down) while Jess and Jacinta crabbed walked/slid on their butts to get down.

Once we got to the bottom I told Kyle to wait for them to make sure they were ok and I would continue on because I knew they would catch me on the uphill as my climbing legs had left me about 2 hours ago.

They eventually caught up to me and complained how fast I was and that it took them ages to catch me (I can assure you, I was NOT speedy at this stage but still trudging along ok). We got to the top of the climb and it’s a good thing I looked at my map because McAfees was off to the side and we had just got past it so I bush bashed up this section and found the boys.

I was in and out of this section quick. Tried eating a bit of rice pudding but by this stage my guts didn’t want much. I thought I had about 17kms to go (I was so wrong) so wanted to get it done.

Leg 6 (final leg) - 21.2kms with 797m of elevation - pacers: Becky and Mark Becky is new to MBRR, having only joined a couple months ago, but she has done Guzzler 100 and did a massive 38km training run with me so she knew what she was doing. Mark has been an MBRR member for quite some time but was in Perth for 4 years so many wouldn’t know him.

I knew I was in good hands for this last section. We headed down Centre road and I knew this was one of the last hard sections so was looking forward to the top of this climb.

It started drizzling in this section and then rain a bit harder. When you have a headlamp on, it makes it a bit dizzying with the rain coming down. It actually felt quite nice though after feeling so overheated throughout the day. We chatted a bit although I didn’t have much to offer at this stage (yes I can be quiet after 85kms of running).

I was having a hard time focusing on what to even say or reply so just let Becky and Mark chat while I grunted here and there. Once we were on South Boundary road, it felt like it went on forever!

My mind was playing tricks on me because I knew we’d pass a gate and then not long after was the right turn down into gap creek (part of my Hills of Hell course I knew all to well). It all looked the same out there. When Mark said we had another couple of kms till the turn I was devastated but continued to push on.

Finally we got to the right hand turn and now it was about 3 kms into Gap Creek. I actually beeped 100km before I even got to Gap Creek. This is when I really started cursing Guy because I knew that from Gap Creek to the lookout would be at least 8kms… so much for the 105km I was planing on running. GRRRRRR. At gap creek Mark filled up my water bottle while I used the toilet.

The first toilet block since the start of the race so I wanted to use it because I could. This next section is a bit undulating until you get to Kokoda. The last tough climb! I just kept pushing and didn’t stop although I was definitely struggling. I think Mark took a video of me and Bec powered on ahead.

Doing it at night is a good thing because it’s harder to see to the top. I expected to see Guy and Mike at the yellow gate but clearly they had been napping in the car as they looked a bit dazed when I showed up. I cursed Guy in person that I was at 102.5 kms and still had at least 5kms to go. Of course he had a little chuckle and encouraged me to get it done. I ditched the pack and grabbed a handheld.

They told me Paige (my daughter) would be at JC Slaughter to do the last 2.5kms with me. We finally made it down to the car park and there was my beautiful daughter and Mike and Guy. It was pretty special for Paige to drive out in the middle of the night to do this section with me. We chatted away as we climbed up the last hill. At least this section was paved so it was easy on the feet.

I was doing some maths in my head and thought I could get under 22 hours, which now seems pretty irrelevant, so when I got to the roundabout at the top and Mike, Jess and Guy were there, I made them all run up the hill in their thongs to get to the lookout. What an amazing finish! To be with friends and my daughter looking out onto the lights of Brisbane, was pretty special.

Mike put a medal around my head (well, they made one out of a Christmas ornament from Woolies but it was a special touch) What a day and night!

Thank you to all who came out and supported me and all those that were there in spirit. Ultra running is definitely a team sport.

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