Firstly, a thanks to the Trannies that had offered advice / answered my questions in the lead up. Below a report - sorry a bit long....
The Lead Up
I had always wanted to give this event a try so in March roped in 3 others , entered and away we go. In our initial team discussions, we estimated we’d aim to run about 20km and walk the rest and finish in about 20 hours. Our training plan went out the window very early and we resigned ourselves to walking the whole way and just enjoying the day. Our revised plans got modified further when our longest walk as a team was 1 x 4 hour session prior to the event. Ah well, we’ll just get by…. We were all reasonably fit and I’d done a few longer events in the past – so we hoped we’d be able to plod along and finish. We did set some estimates for our support crew and were looking about a leisurely walk for 26 hours - no sleeping and max 30 min at checkpoints.
8.00am Friday and we are away, decided during the week to start in walking boots as opposed to runners ( stupid mistake ). Was very crowded but we just got out to a nice easy pace. I reckon we had only covered 3km and came across a team that had a girl with chaffing that had drawn blood – lucky we had supplies so helped out. These medical supplies would be the most utilised item moving forward. It was a perfect morning, cold temps but the sun was shining. Team member in front of me decided would be a nice time for some fruit – but probably not a time to be getting items out of bag whilst climbing down rocks and proceeded to fall down and rip his knees to shreds – out comes the medical supplies. Got to CP1 about 45 mins later than expected which would be an on-going theme. Next couple of stages were probably the toughest as far as hills go – but we continued to plod along, much slower than expected and finally got to CP2 over 2 hours behind schedule. Meet crew for the first time, ate and out came the medical supplies to start the damage control on feet. Off we go again to CP3 and whilst spirits were ok at this point, we were moving pretty slowly. We organised to meet crew just after CP3, because we walked straight past there house ( yeh, I know outside the rules ). Stopped in for some yummy warm soup ( was about 9pm by this stage ) and got on our warm gear for the night session. One team member was really hurting at this point and was seriously tempted to retire there – but we keep moving although this stop took us over an hour. We reached CP4 after midnight and were so thankful to see a fresh coffee truck but again had to try and keep our whole team moving. From this checkpoint to the next was probably the most difficult time for all. One team member was very much in Struggle Street and it seemed we would luckily be covering 2km an hour. Thanking I had my IPOD, so just listen to music and tried to keep him going whilst the other couple of team members where probably 30 minutes ahead. My feet at this stage were in a world of pain. I had no idea how the blisters would continue to build and build and although I thought I’d broken in my boots – a few 2 hours walks was certainly not enough. We finally got near CP5 ( about 5 hours overdue ), thankfully the sun had risen which was nice and there was a big hill on the street near the meeting point and it was at this point – we lost a team member. I pushed onto the meeting point and had to send our crew back to pick them up in the car. We downed some welcome warm food, changed clothes and most importantly put on my runners – although the damage to my feet had already been done. I was in pretty good spirits still, so the 3 of us set off. Due to us being behind schedule our next crew meeting point was scrap as they need to get on a plane to Singapore, so this was the last we would see of support crew till we finished. It was about 6am once we set off… From here, the kilometres just went on and on and on and on and on. The novelty factored and worn off and the reality that we still had 25km to go set in. We got to the next checkpoint and just sat there, not wanting to move. So from CP6 to CP7 ( the only session we had done in training ), we set ourselves mini goals or getting to here by this time etc. etc. Again, the novelty of this wore off pretty quickly. One of our other team members back was shot by this stage so at CP7 we had another long stop as she waited for the physio. All I wanted at this stage was a coke and the van that was there didn’t have one, I nearly lost it. So, after a physio stop – we set off for the final stage. We had again tried to set ourselves mini goals and the first one was to finish before dark mainly because we didn’t have any lights – again we failed that. We finally hit the streets with about 9km to go. One of our team members had enough and got out of their boots and put on thongs for the remained of the trip. Nearing the Spit Bridge, someone next to us mentioned the bridge opened at 4.30pm ( from memory ), so we’d have to be over by then or have to wait 30 minutes – the last thing I needed. We got to the foot of the bridge as the red lights started to flash – so had to run across, which was pretty funny at the time. The final kilometres just took their toll and we all just wanted it over. Those steps from the bottom of Balmoral was tough, mentally more than anything. We could finally hear the finish and knew it was over. We walked through and could hardly raise the enthusiasm to celebrate. A couple of photos and had to walk to meet our lift home. I think the highlight then was my wife who had picked us up – had a case of Coronas and to keep with the comedy of errors, no bottle open ( but we got them open somehow ). By this time, it was 6.00pm and we’d be going for nearly 34 hours..
I’m really proud of the way we keep moving, but it was ridiculous to think we’d finish it comfortably without much training at all. Would I do it again, no way but was a good experience… Was lucky to have a great team and even better support crew….