Sturt Gorge 20k 2017 – Race Report

Sturt Gorge – Race Report

All Aboard the trail train.


Being the dirt bag that I am, I don’t drive or have a fixed address, which works for me but can sometimes make getting to races a little tricky. I stayed in Prospect (any excuse to see Nana Bang) and walked into the city to catch the Belair train to Coromandel.

This gave me time to clear my head and to focus on what I wanted to get out of this race.

I decided that I was not going to be the ‘This is just a training/social run’ guy today. Even though my quads are still recovering from the Hubert 100, I decided that I was going to try to push the effort meter higher than average.

I walked through the parklands, Colonel Light pointing the way to the train station. I touched the bough of a Morton bay fig tree. A living statue of an elephant thigh.

Drunken revelers lounge in taxi vans.

Someone spits and gives me a dirty look.

A used syringe sits in the urinal trough.

Everybody is looking for the same thing, just in different places.

I get to Coromandel train station, say hello to some morning walkers and then sit on a bench and write while watching a cargo train roll by.

I have time to talk to a few fellow runners before the race then I realise I was still in my jeans. I scramble to get ready and make a quick stop to the port-a-loo.

Ah crap I dropped my phone on the toilet floor! Well I’m never using that again!

The Race

“did I mention this is just a training run?”

I started off fast, keeping a higher than average pace (for me) before the course turned to single track and we all boarded the ‘Trail Train’ . I was at the caboose of the express service , passing a few people where possible.

In these short races I like to jump over rocks and obstacles to get my excitement going. However it only took a few leaps for me to realise my post 100 mile legs were not having a bar of that!

Then I had a massive stack! I hit the ground pretty hard but got up instantly. I did a systems-check as I tried to recover my speed and not hold up the runner behind me. My knee and elbow were the worst off. There would be blood. But as a wise man once said, “aint got time to bleed”, I think it was Socrates.

I managed to keep a decent pace through the dusty hills and technical. Sturt Gorge is certainly a varied course. Olive lined switchbacks lead to shaded river paths and rolling single track among native foliage.

It’s great that Trail Running SA is not afraid to give us some proper technical trails. With multiple river crossings, scrambling over rocks and very steep and rough downhills. Somehow I managed not to take another tumble through the worst of it.

As the technicals gave way to wider fire track I found my groove. That was until my high fiber vegan wholefood diet caught up with me…

The ‘on special’ family size stir-fry vegetable pack that I ate raw with my hummus and Falstaff the night before suddenly wanted out. I think avoiding the mushy zucchini might have saved me from crapping my pants completely! So the new plan became finishing as soon as possible just to get to the dunny.

Another great feature of the Sturt Gorge course is seeing runners in front and behind you as they run on the other side of the gorge. This ‘sport’ is certainly getting popular. Turns out there are plenty of other crazies out there.

My music was paused as I took it all in. Adelaide City sat all humble in the distance.

A green parrot looks in the hollow of a tree as If to ask if there are rooms available for the night.

As the KS ran out I switched from a meditative state of awareness to focusing on a bit more out of my tired legs. The hardcore techno podcast came on and I managed a sprint finish.


Post Race

I got patched up by the excellent first aid staff, who accommodated my OCD by allowing me to sanitise my soiled phone with alcohol gel. Stuck around to not win another Salomon Hydration Pack and trotted to the train station.

Chickpea pie recovery lunch at the Goodwood vegan store!

Although I managed a faster than personal average speed, I was not even close to being competitive. Seems like I have a lot of work to do to be fast in the short stuff.

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