Looking for a trail challenge after Coastal Classic I was taken by Fran’s description of ‘awesome’ for Alpine Ascent. Who could refuse a run up Kosciuszko? Cathy Rowney was quickly on board and even my husband who hates racing reluctantly agreed. After all, it was ‘only 25k’ and cutoff times were generous. Characteristically fearless, Nadine Aronheim went straight for 50. Greta did her best with the training plans and many weeks of hills in the steamy summer heat followed , up and down city streets, Manly Dam trails and the Blue Mountains , with backpacks bursting with mandatory gear ( waterproof pants, anyone?) .
Finally we made the trip down, surprised at the delicious mountain chill . Jindabyne was buzzing with runners looking for vegan treats, bandaids and beer.
The start was at Charlottes Pass with the ski lifts strangely empty on a beautiful sunny morning As we trotted off up the hill I could feel the effects of 1800 m altitude -sloow . Might need to revise that ambitious 3:30 goal....A short descent to the first of a few creeks sorted out the runners - orderly queue for the stepping stones( them) or run straight through the water ( us) . Then followed a long and winding trail with occasional stairs passing through fantastic mountain scenery ever upwards above the Blue Lake and Lake Albina with a few patches of single trail to keep us on our toes. Plenty of walk - run allowed for inspiring chat with fellow runners: ‘ great view ’ gasp- ‘yeah! ‘ We were high on life! Or low on oxygen! Just when I thought we could climb no more we linked up with the main trail to ascend Kosci. Cold wind gusts reminded me that we were at the top of Australia , as did the tourists wrapped up in puffer jackets and beanies- Why was I in my shorts and singlet again ? No time for questions, onwards and upwards to the cairn at the top and a quick selfie in the howling gale. ‘Get down before the rain comes’ was the general advice from experienced vollies and we began a glorious run down the gravel trail to the Snowy River and on to Rawson’s pass. The single aid station had just a bottle of water and a few red frogs by the time I shuffled past . As I came to the top of the hill to begin the final descent there was a roar from the Valley- Stephanie Auston had just won the 50k outright! I staggered home in 3:29 meeting Fran who had come in earlier, rapt to get a pb . Shortly after, the first male winner for the 50 arrived across the line , still smiling . Cathy and I caught up with Aiofe and a few beers while we sat around to wait for the 50 k runners . Through the afternoon as the rain came down and the wind picked up we had opportunity to wear all our mandatory gear . We cheered Nadine across the finish in the dark - absolute hero . Everyone slept very well that night! Bonus was my husband discovering he’d won his AG in the 12k and attending the medal presentation next day with the incredible Steph Auston .
I’ll definitely be back next year , waterproof pants and all !