Race morning started with the Delatite River in my ears, the sun yet to reach into the deep valley where I was camped out at the start of the race.
After 2 days of training in the Australian Alps area, I wanted to finish with what must be one of the most scenic race courses in Australia. The La Sportiva Mt Buller Sky Run is put on by Running Wild in Victoria, and has a non-nonsense Race Director that prizes the runners' experience above all else. This makes for a fantastic day out in the mountains and on the trails.
The start was in Merrijig, at the trailhead to the Klinsporn (not King's porn) trail. The climb is immediate, but unlike some of the other trails in the area, this one is quite gentle and slowly winds it way up to the summit of Mt Buller.
Once above the tree line the views are never ending, the landscape incredible:
No need to rush when on the summit of Mt Buller:
From the Mt Buller Summit, the trail runs through the village and onto a trail that traverses across the saddle to Mt Stirling. The trail was dusty, rocky, and quite steep in sections, requiring good footwork and a large amount of guts and balls to let it rip downhill.
Short climb back up to Mt Stirling Summit:
Mt Stirling Summit:
Looking across to Mt Buller, the ski runs visible down its side:
Trail winding beneath skeleton gums:
For the 36km distance, the runners headed down the Big River Spur for 15km of downhill. By now I was so grateful that my legs were still working, still moving and enjoying the downhill. I was able to lengthen the stride a little and just enjoy the changing scenery brought by the drop in elevation.
The trail down crosses the Delatite River 15 times across beautiful bridges made from old trees. With the last crossing done, I arrived back at the start to a finish line complete with home made baked goodies and nutritious soup, and old and new friends to catch up with! I was pretty happy with a finish time of 4:06 and 1st female in the 36km distance. Congratulations as well to Salomon Australia teamate Mick Donges who set a new record in the 45km distance!
Thanks to Simon Ferraro for allowing me to use his pics for the blog!