Debut UTA 22 Blue Mountains 17th May 2019
by Cathy Rowney, Zebra rejoover
“I had trained for this trail run throughout the summer months and had also completed the Alpine Ascent Mount Kozciosko 25km trail run in March 2019. But nothing prepared me for how the UTA run panned out.
I had completed the course in training through rain and storms and had been eaten alive by leeches, firstly with the lovely Lisa Mintz. We drove home with our heels bleeding all the way. Second attempt was with Susan, Fran and Aoife on a very warm January day, although I nearly passed out on the Furber stairs in the heat. Third attempt, the unstoppable Fran took us up to the mountains on Easter Good Friday. Susan, Polina, Fran and myself made a very jolly team . The Furber stairs were closed for repairs so we had to climb up the Giant staircase, whoa , so hard! Never heard so many expletives from the Doctor (Susan). We did a great time though, under 3.15 and felt much more prepared for the big day in May.
Fast forward to day before , came down with non stop tummy problems, yes, the runs in a not so glamorous fashion. I was dehydrated and hungry as nothing stayed in long enough. I was lucky to stay with my cousins in Springwood who looked after me with some homemade chicken soup. My cousin Bruce is an old hand at Ultra Trails and had completed the 100 and 50kms a few times. I woke bright and early , tummy held on with some medication assistance. No breakfast though.
Arrived at Scenic World and met up with awesome running buddies Polina and Susan. Dave Stewart was supportive as always, volunteering that day as he was doing the 50km following day. Met up with Nadine (Nads) later at start line down at Wentworth Falls. The bus trip was fun and I sat next to a legend called Frank, who was turning 80 in August. He was taking it easier this year, but normally does the 100km. he told me his wife had a heart attack last year at the foot of the Furber Stairs, which was very encouraging.
So, we were off and running, flying down Kedumba! I did my fastest 5km ever and the quads didn't thank me later. Was running well and managed 16kms under 2 hours, hills and all. Thought all was well till a few more uphills and the legs were so fatigued. Got to the foot of the Furber stairs at time of 2.50, was stoked , then I started up the stairs. All energy went, I was nauseated, blacking out and felt quite unwell. I had beautiful support from fellow runners, they were amazing. I just had to keep stopping. I felt quite beaten and broken when I watched Frank sail past me without a strained breath, his wiry little legs had him flying up those stairs without a glance back. Way to go Frank!!! (I looked up his time later, under 3 hours).
Anyway, I made it to the top in 3.23, passed out at the finish line, helped on to the stretcher by our super hero Dave Stewart. I stopped the Garmin, was calling out "Don't tell Greta" and "do I still have my medal and finishers hat?" Susan, husband Julian, Polina and Nads were all with me in the medical tent and I was cleared quickly, the gatorade worked wonders.
Thank you to all my beautiful Rejoov buddies who put up with me. Thank you to coach Greta who forgave me after I was adamant in completing the SMH half marathon 2 days later.
Here’s to the 50km UTA next year”.