The Australian Alps in the distance through layers of mist and cloud:
The Australian Alps as seen on a beautiful twilight evening (Mt Bogong is on the right in the distance):
4 sleeps to go. 800km to drive to reach the race start. Bags to pack, gear to prepare, maps to study. On Saturday I'll be lining up with friends and my Salomon team mate Matt Cooper to run the Alpine Challenge, an event of various distances through the Australian Alps. While some runners will be competing in the full 100miles, I'm facing 100km and ~4900m+.
The event is tough. Maybe the toughest Australia has to offer. Not only are the trails very remote, the checkpoints are scant and most only accessible on foot after 4+ km of hiking. So, for much of the race I will need to be self supported, carrying enough food for 60km, grabbing water at streams and river crossings, and ensuring that my mandatory gear works as we will be running in conditions forecasted to range from sun to snow showers!
I have had an annoying lead up to the race, with my preparations having been constrained by an Achilles injury that flared up here and there. Interestingly, I have been able to enjoy as many hill sessions as I want, but on the flatter trails the tendon has often been inflamed and tender following a run. With this in mind, I just feel lucky that I can run, and that I have been able to continue training.
I am looking forward to seeing old friends come the weekend, and to share the journey with my amazing crew: My brother, sister and her partner. You guys rock!