Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sharing the Surf Coast Century

Every time an ultra runner races, they are alone. Alone with their thoughts, what their body gives them, and how the race will unfold on the day. The journey is shared with other runners, and sometimes even with a superb crew of family, friends, and spectators. But at the end of the day, the runner is a solo artist; a virtuoso executing his plan: enjoying, battling, despairing, loving, hating, laughing, hallucinating, powering, finishing.

After my race in Switzerland (the Salomon MountainMan Ultra), I am heading home to Australia. I am really looking forward to all those special, every day things that makes home home: A morning swim in a salty, rolling sea, excellent coffee, an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, the smell of the Australian flora. There is also so much happening - Matt Cooper's Ultra Made trail camp, a road trip south to Melbourne, and running again on home turf in the inaugural Surf Coast Century.

What excited me even more is that I will be running in a TEAM! This is a first for me, and one I am really looking forward to experiencing. I decided that after 3 months of some big distances on my body, and with only 2-3 weeks in between to physically and mentally recover, running a shorter course and sharing the experience with a friend would be perfect. With the Olympics just gone, I was also inspired by all the team camaraderie. Sometimes, sharing an amazing, indescribable event with a friend can take you deeper, and push you harder.

Picture: Michael Dodge, Source: Quest Newspaper

My team mate for this event is Samantha Gash, an ambassador for the event, and a pretty incredible woman. Sam has just finished a solo desert crossing of the Simpson Desert, not for personal gratification, but to raise money for a charity close to her heart. Read more about it here. Teaming up with Sam also means that she will cover the section of the trail that resonates with her strengths (the first 50km of more beach/sand running), while I will get to stretch my legs on the more bush/forested trails in the second half of the race. 

Sam during her Crossing the Simpson run

Some of my Salomon team mates will also be competing as a team, meaning that those not running will be out on the course, supporting, cheering, and giving energy to the other runners. Thinking about this experience, and sharing it with both the Salomon gang, and also with Sam, led me to find this quote:

"One piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up,
add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire,
large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends;
Needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites."
(Master Jin Kwon - South Korean Martial Arts Master)

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