Race The Rattler

IMAG0035rattler_race2010 The day started early, at 4.15am actually. It was still dark and would be that way for about the next hour or so. There were four of us heading up to try and ‘race the rattler’. The Rattler being an old steam train at Gympie.

We arrived early (fortunately), scored a good park and signed in. In our registration bag we each received a shirt (in memory of the event), water bottle and a few other bits and pieces. The early arrival saw us able to check things out before the crowds came in, and gave us the opportunity to score a good seat, also, on the train.

We rode the train to the beginning of the race, 18km away, and took different buses to our own individual stops (I took changeover 1). I didn’t have a too long wait for our first runner came in, and then I was off. There was about 20m of downhill before it turned a corner and went up, and up. The hill wasn’t too bad but it was the angle of the road that was. I was constantly running along a slope and it took it’s toll on my calves (and shins), forcing me to walk before my time was up. The air was crisp so my throat was a little sore as well. Those two factors made it a difficult track/road to run.

Being last, or among the last runners, has it’s benefits. You don’t need to wait around for others, you get plenty of alone time, and you get the loudest cheers and encouragements. There were quite a few spectators set up at various points along my section of the track and they always cheered and encouraged me on. It was great.

The worst part of the whole experience was being asked to remove my race number because they had to open the road to traffic. I had two options, continue on without my race number and without the safety net of ambulance and police, or pull out and get a lift to the next changeover point. I chose to finish my run. I was only 1.5km from my finish line, and only 500m from hoping off the road to the cross country section. I know this was a disappointment to not only myself but others who were pulled out of the race because they couldn’t finish before the roads were reopened.  (It happened to another one of my team mates also and she felt like I did)

But, on the positive side, our last runner (and first) finished their leg of the race strongly and we did finish the race. We also had a nice, and filling, lunch at the local RSL, great company and no real time constraints.

I think it is something we should aim at doing again, but this time with a little more hill training beforehand.

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