My Razorback Adventure.


It was dark and just after 6am when we left the campground for our run in the Alps, wearing our headlamps and carrying our over stuffed packs.


Overall I loved whole experience but there are a couple of wrong turns that blew my mileage out from a 64km to a 70km. The first was that the sign on Razorback Spur would be great if there was an ARROW that pointed to Diamatina Spur, and secondly, knowing that Mt Loch car park is in the opposite direction to the Mt Loch summit. Actually when Paul Ashton, the race director, met me near the Mt Loch car park, I called out to him that in my defence in Adelaide the Mt Lofty car park is AT the summit of Mt Lofty. As we headed back to the car park Paul did say that I was obviously fit enough to finish which was encouraging and that it would also be dark. Now that was exciting, I love night running. 

So pointing me in the direction of Diamantina Hut, the 42km mark for most but 48km mark for me, I ran to it and stopped and devoured some hot soup, boiled potatoes and refilled my hydro bladder before heading off for the final 22km.

Although the day’s light was fading, even quicker because of the eminent rain approaching, the run over Razorback with mountain views either side of the mountain tops were stunning. It just reinforced that there is nothing that comes close in the Adelaide hills to what I had experienced this day in these Alps. 

With the winds picking up and before the rain drops got any heavier, I decided to stop and put on my water/wind proof jacket. Actually the deciding factor in stopping and covering up followed the sixth flash of lightning as I had my hiking pole sticking out of my backpack and I didn’t want to risk being lit up. I also put on my headlamp as I didn’t want to make another stop.

Through wind, rain, lightening and thunder I ran as much as I could, and when I was right on top of the mountain ridge, I kept as low as I could so I wouldn’t get blown off. And then the fog came in. And it was black now, but towards the last 11km the fog went as did the lightening and thunder, and although the wind eased off the rain just got heavier. 

Bungalow Spur that we had gone up, too many hours ago to work out, had turned into a flowing creek. My legs where starting to get cold by continually being hit by the rain heavy plants that hung over the single trail. Then my headlamp started to fade.

Through intermittent phone calls, touch phones are unreliable in the rain; I heard that Stirling was on his way back up to meet me. He and I had planned this yonks before today. 

All in all, we meet and get down to the road again and I managed a slow soggy sprint to the end. Seventeen hours and thirty minutes, what a day Back at the lodge, I was asked if I would come back next year and said no however after that night’s sleep, the answer is a definitive YES !!!



Yurrebilla wash out

Such a great, epic journey that was with fog, rain, crossing flooded creeks and freezing temps shared with Stirling and Karen and the wonderful support of Darly and Feebie. Now I know that all the kms I walked as a kid thru the Grampians carrying survival kits of food and standing track side at Adelaide International Raceway with hands so frozen by hanging on to the fence for hours on end is where my love of masochistic ultra marathon lifestyle choice eventuated - hahaha - thanks so much mum (Maureen) and dad xxx

by Karen...

Yesterday morning Jen GreenekleeStirling Greeneklee and myself set off in attempt to run three Yurrebillas back to back. We successfully ran a double last year, and have wanted to attempt a triple since then.
The weather predictions were clearly not in out favour. However in true " crazy style " we mistakenly decided the forecasts were wrong.
The first YUM went according to plan. It was bitterly cold on the trail but with just a heavy mist was manageable. We did not see even a hint of sunlight all day.
6pm in the evening saw us eating pizza at the finish line before we went back up overnight.
The odd sprinkle of rain started around then and became heavier as we did the climb out of Athelstone. By the time we reached the top of Black Hill it was vile. Very strong gusty winds buffeted us from every direction and the rain established itself. Thick fog dropped making it impossible to see more than a metre in front of us. We frequently found ourselves off the track and precariously close to the edge. Our support crew of Daryl, Feebee and Kym had all reluctantly gone home for the night as we had left several drop bags along the trail for the night.
By now it was very quickly becoming the worst night we have ever spent on the trails together. Our wet weather gear was keeping our upper body dry but feet, socks, gloves and shoes were sodden. As we ascended the Fox's dam track rain became heavier, winds even stronger and fog reduced our visibility to almost zero. The tracks had huge ponds of water on them and were just MUD. It made our progress painfully slow as we kept on sinking in the mud and losing the track in the fog.
Against all odds we made our way onto the Morialta trail. The two creeks crossings which had been slightly tricky on our first lap were now very dangerous. The heavy gushing flow of water had risen at least 6" and this made the two crossing treacherous. The usual stepping stones were now well under the flow of water.
At midnight we made it into Norton Summit. All three of us in very good spirits and keen to continue. Jonathan and Matilda were waiting for us here with hot drinks and snacks. Plus we had one of our drop bags here.
Much to their admiration and amusement we continued on. And from here the weather went up another 10 notches in revoltingness.
Horsnell's Gully was an absolute nightmare. It took us about an hour to climb out as the water was gushing down an already water denuded trail. The heavy fog and darkness added to the nightmare.
By this time I began to think we might be in some serious trouble. Physically we all felt good albeit drenched and freezing cold. With no phone contact, the nurse in me began to feel concerned about potential hypothermia for the three of us.
The descent down Pillar box onto Wine Shanty became very dangerous. The wind was howling, bucketing rain, thick fog and trees coming down. Big rivers of water were flowing down the track. By now all three of us could no longer feel our hands, legs and feet. Jen and Stirl were feeling nauseous, and Stirl's feet were starting to give him grief.
Conditions on Wine Shanty track were without doubt the worst conditions I have ever been out in. It was here I broached the subject that perhaps we should seriously consider aborting our plans and try and get ourselves to safety. I knew we would never be able to cross the creeks and survive in Morialta again. Jen and Stirl very quickly agreed.
The 5km along Wine Shanty to Cleland was miserable in the extreme. We had to pick our way along the flooded track in zero visibility. I had a stash that saw me fall over the edge. Thankfully caught by a small bush and hauled back over by Stirl.Two kangaroos came bounding down the track in the dark and very nearly collided with Jen and Me.
At one point we heard the very loud sound of a tree cracking. Stirl just yelled at us to run.
There was a huge fresh tree fall over the track which reminded us how vulnerable we were.
Finally at 4 am we made into the Cleland car park. Thankfully the loos were unlocked so we all fell into there and sat on the floor wrapped in space blankets, shivering uncontrollably.
By an absolute stroke of luck I was able to get momentary phone reception and rang Daryl for help. Stirl was cramping badly and Jen and I couldn't stop shaking. I was also starting to feel the start of getting into trouble with my asthma.
With the Cleland gates still locked we had no alternative but to go back out into the weather and walk ourselves out to the gates. We must have been quite a sight .... three drenched runners trotting up the road draped in space blankets in the rain and fog. Thankfully Daryl got to us by about 5:30am so we only had to be loo dwellers for about an hour.
Despite a night of absolute misery all three of us retained our sense of humour and supported each other. None of us lost the plot or became grouchy.
This will be an adventure that will be talked of for years to come by the three of us. Right now none of us want to see Yurrebloodybilla ever again. But never say never with us three !!
Big thanks to Daryl, Kym, Jonathan, Matilda and Feebee for supporting us

UTA100, 2017

So Stirling and I attend the mandatory race briefing the night before our 3rd Ultra-Trail Australia 100 only to hear that the course had to be modified due to previous heavy rains. I bemused that what is it with 10th Anniversary runs as Yurrebilla 56km Trail Ultra’s 10th also had to be modified. Oh well, there goes our chances or trying to beat last year’s time but as it was a new course, we’ll get PBs no matter what time we take and with the cool drizzly conditions forecast for the run, it was Win-Win situation in my mind.

Just before 7am track side the following morning, in the gorgeous drizzle and cool temps, Stirling and I say our goodbyes and best wishes to each other and we individually set off at our own speeds. In no time at all Stirling was out of my site and I said to myself that I hope that the next time I see him, he’ll be waiting for me, having already completed the run, at the top of Furber stairs as he has done for the last 2 years.

Well for me about the 9km mark came the first bottle neck allowing me to catch up to runners that had passed me about 20minutes earlier, then about the 20 km mark is another bottle neck to get down the Tarros laders. After waiting in a huge line for near 30 mins, I set off again.

As in these long events, when I see a stopped runner on the side I ask if they are OK, well during these first 20kms I had 2 runners passing me asking me the same question. I thought it a bit weird as I was still running and hadn’t stopped. So the next person that asked me that question I replied sure, why do you ask. She looked over her shoulder and said that it looked as if I was running with a limp. She must have thought that was a negative thought to leave with me so she looks over again and says rephrases her words to ‘limping but strong’, giving me two thumbs up.

Well I had been limping a bit but thought I concealed it well, but obviously not enough. You see, I had trimmed my nails on 4 of my toes on one foot to make double sure they had no chance of hitting the end of my shoe box but as it was really a bit of an over-kill, I left my shortish big toe nail alone. Who knew that inside the roof of the shoe, through my sock, that my nail was just long enough to get caught on a seam of material and every so often my nail would lift off from its bed. Yep ouch and then I would jiggle my foot in my shoe to unhook my nail. Thus after the next 80kms I now have a shiny black toe nail on its way to heaven ….

So all things considered, I was going well as I passed cp2 and cp3 and then I meet Stirling and cp4, the Katoomba Aquatic Centre, the 57.4km mark. He had cramped badly in Nellie's Glen – we all agree with Emma Barlow's comment from a couple of years earlier, that we should Bitch slap Nellie – but thanks to the amazing vollies, Stirling had received a 15min massage at this check point. It was here that he and I decided that since we weren’t running the normal trail thus and not going to acheive our planned PBs, lets run the remaining 40 plus kms together. So we did.

It was great to share the long night ahead of us together. Sometimes Stirling and I talked and when things were tougher we were silent and focused. OMG all those stairs that were added to the change give us the 4km elevation, what a challenge indeed! I mentioned to Stirling that I didn’t think a race director, in this case Tom Landon-Smith, should make a course that he is not prepared to run and Stirling thought it was a fair call, eh Barry MrBride ;)

In the closing km, Stirling and I reach the top of Fuber stairs, the final 940 stair case, and these felt easy stairs in comparison to all the stairs we had just completed. We start running again, this time hand in hand over the board walk and we hear the finish line commentator on the load speaker - obviously had a hidden spotting camera somewhere - say that Jen and Stirling Greeneklee are on their way in. Realising that we are a husband and wife team, he adds that what an amazing experience to share and after a million of stairs and steps that we are still holing hands!

Yay, thank goodness that run is done. But wow, another amazing epic journey and accomplishment of gem filled memories that we can add to our expanding repertoire. To be honest, around the 91km mark we decided that this was our last UTA100 but with showers, sleeps, real food and a day or so separating us from this ‘venture, in our minds we pretty much know that we will return to the Blue Mountains again next year for the start line. But hey, no surprise there ... such is the mind set of an Ultra runner.

Now to make my 3rd UTA100 bead, my 9th 100km plus achievement.

Gotta have clean shoes for the Blue Mountains :)

Waiting at the start.
Done and dusted for another year :)

Yurrebilla, out and back.

In March 2015 after running Yurrebilla at night, Karen planted the seed that our next crazy run should be to run Yurrebilla, still at night but this time in reverse by starting at Athelstone. This idea got me thinking that since Stirl and I usually ran the Yurrebilla training runs as Out and Backs, why not use the proposed idea and when we get to the end, turn around straight away and run it all again.
Well the collective subconscious mind of Crazies of the Night was working well because in June this year I received an email that Karen had an idea of a double Yurrebilla, so of course Stirl and I were in without hesitation.
With having run Yurrebilla 3 times now in 3 weeks - one solo each and now a back to back, Stirl and I figure that is enough until the actual Yurrebilla Trail 56 KM Ultra event in September. And then it will be in Kym Williams words, "What, only one way?" 
Thank you so much for Daryl and Feebee for supporting Crazies of the Night.

112km in less than 24hrs, done and dusted!


Photo taken by Daryl, obviously before we started.




Morialta

Halfway -  just another 56km to go
city views
I've never seen echidnas these colours before

Done and dusted

Our support ... Daryl and Feebee

Mt.Misery

Yay, I got a PB on last year's time ... happy with that.



UTA100, 2016

I started in wave 6 at 6.57am with 120 other runners and woohoo, took nearly 2 and a hours hours off last year's time - very proud of that!

"The course itself was selected after a rigorous and exhaustive survey of the entire nation. It showcases the lush rainforests, ethereal waterfalls, vast tablelands, stunning rock formations and breath-taking views of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. It is truly beautiful.

Harnessing massive community support and countless volunteers, Ultra-Trail Australia® epitomises the self-giving spirit of Australia and its people."






 CP1-CP2










TNF100

and even more proud when I found out that out of the 1168 starters to the 100km, only 840 finished!

Yurrebilla Ultra, 2013

I ran my 3rd Yurrebilla 56km Ultra on Sunday and all went well.  My running buddy and I decided to take this Event on the quite side as we've got the Heysen 105 [km] coming up next month, which will be more way more of a Stamina test.

However, this year the flowing creeks at Horsnell's Gully and Morialta where just the thing to revive my tired leg muscles.  And although it was a warm 9 hour day, it was a great way to spend a day in the Adelaide Hills.

I manged a 5/13 for my gender age group which was exciting but sprinting the last 50meters over the finishing line was so much fun!  So looking forward to Yurrebilla, 2014.  

Catching up with friends before the start.
It's only minutes away now.
Running through Belair National Park.
5km's in and just warming up
Great witches at the 10km mark.
Still smiling at the 20.5km mark
About 33km in.
One of my favourite signs, "You have just complete Horsnell's Gully"
At the 50km mark.
Someone has a weird sense of "Little"

Running is so much Fun!

We did it.
Emma, my fab running partner.
Yep, it certainly is a long way!
At the finish line.

SA Trail Championships [24km], 2013

SA Trail Championship is Done and Dusted for another year. We experienced fog and had rain the whole 24.7km. As for some on the puddles, well I could have used a buoy. The nibbles I had with me, to give those needed spurts of energy had to wait until I finished after my thawed fingers before I could open the zip bag. Oh yes, this morning's run was simply The Best.

And I 
got a PB by shaving just under 16 minutes off 2012's time. Happy with that :)

Special Thanks and Much Appreciation to ALL the volunteers, You are Amazing!!!

Photo Gallery
some borrowed from friends.



'

Marking some of the trail, the day before.



Sea to Summit to Sea [100km]

“More people have climbed Mt Everest than have run 100 km.” When I first heard that quote mid last year, I decided to be a 100kmer. With a few months out of October’s Heysen 105 [km] there was a chance to reach that status but I chickened out felt as I thought it was a bit too close so I decided to wait and run the Heyson 105 [km] in October 2013. But, as so often with running, things change.

I do my best to avoid the sun by running at either 4 or 5am in the mornings. And running in an Event in Summer, especially because they all start around 8am, well to me is just silly.

In the first week of each year (Summer, here in Australia) there is an annual 35km Event called Summit to Sea. An Event that normally I would not even contemplate running but a few crazies – term of endearment - decided to organise a 66km, all night run from the beach to the Summit to meet up with this annual run. Thus an Event Sea to Summit to Sea was created http://www.facebook.com/events/300552506728797/

It was to be a social group run until we reach the Summit, when the faster ones to go off at their own pace. 11.5hours was allowed to complete this first 66km leg and with the 35km Event run, at distance of 101km in total, I decided to put aside my prejudice of the sun so I could reach this 100km status sooner than later.

My current running pace isn't fast and in the true Spirit of Running Terry would purposely drop back and stay with me and Stirl, who was running with a knee injury.

Well at 40km, Stirl pulls out and he and I plan that he meets me at the Summit so we could make the decent together.

Up and over Blackhill in the dark, Terry and Doug take it in turns so I’m not left on my own. As Terry and I get closer to Mt.Lofy, Terry goes on ahead to give last minute instructions to the fresh runners about to start the Summit to Sea event.

I get there about 7.20am, meet Stirl and together we head to the sea. It’s been almost 12hours since starting, and I was slowing down. We organised to collect the Trail markers on our way back which we knew was going to slow us down even more. But that was Ok as time was secondary to the distance.

We get through Belair NP and my hip was really starting to seize up. Not too surprised as it’s been close to 17hours! Stirl and I decide that a massage may help to loosen things up, so we find a shady spot with some grass, easier said than done in the middle of summer, and with Stirl's help I lay on my side. Omg, the pain getting down was horrid. But once down he gently massages my hip which hurts more! So I suggest he stops and with even more pain, he helps me to stand up. The pain was worse than child bearing!

Still hanging onto Stirl, I say I feel really dizzy and black out. I wake up and realise that I’m on the ground. My first thought was how fantastic it was to be back on the ground and not in pain. Stirl has placed his pack under my head and is trickling water into my mouth. I have a gel and we shared a fruit bar. Slowly I’m helped back up and together and move on for about 1km knowing that there is a park with water.

Thankfully a Drink Station had been left here. So we topped up our Hydra packs with filtered water and plastered on the sunscreen. I went to the loos and pretty much drenched my top, head and calves with water cooling my body temp by heaps. Stirl did the same and we headed again, moving really Slowly and Gently. The pain was now much like labour pains, bearable but relentless as we travelled those hills and descents.

Suffice to say I reached my goal just after 7pm that night, so virtually 24 hours in total.

~~~
UPDATE:
Three days later while recovering, I checked the maps closely and realized that the kms we had covered had only brought me to the mid nineties!

So 6 days after that, I marked out a trail course close to home and Stirl and I started all over again and did 100km! Suffice to say that 3x Out and Backs over Blackhill was a Hugh effort.

Besides meeting the 100km, one of the treasured high-lites was eating a Peanut Butter sandwich at 4.30am while laying on our backs gazing up at the stars at the base of Black Hill ... Absolute Magic!

Well, in October this year with the Heysen 105 event, I could make it an Official 100km but for now I am very Very satisfied with being a 100km Ultra gal - booyeah.




Photo Gallery.
-with some photos borrowed from friends- 












Dawn on Black Hill

Dawn on Black Hill

Dawn on Black Hill

Dawn on Black Hill