Sunday, 15 March 2015

Convicts and Wenches 2015 - the 50km event

You know what they say - there's only one thing harder than running a 50km trail race ...


... and that's crewing for it.

And yes they do say that.  I heard them.

So this was Kim's (and Bec's) big weekend as they'd both entered the Convicts and Wenches 50km race ... their first 50km trail race ... here they are smiling at the start of it ...


... and there's Anthony on the side, looking as nervous as I was because he knew what was ahead of us - 6 to 8 hours of intense crewing.

Now, I'm going to put something out there that all of us know, but are too polite to say ... the runners in these things have it so easy, I mean all they have to do is follow the track, or the person in front of them (preferably doing a bit of overtaking on the way), until they get to the end ... 50,000 metres or a mere 75,000 steps later.

I mean, if you can do 10 steps you can do 75,000 steps - right? ... easy peasy.

You just have to make sure you don't lose count, that's all.


We on the other hand, had to do a million, billion things in that same time, and that's a lot more than the 75,000 that they had to remember.

Here's just a snap-shot:

Firstly we had to get up really, really, early on a Sunday ... and take the obligatory sun rise shot.


Next we had to be at the early (7am) start to see Bec off ...

Go Bec
Then, because Tony's a soft touch, we drove down the road a few kilometres and cheered Bec and the others as they went past ...


Before racing (sorry - I mean support crewing) our way back to the start, to see Kim off ...


Go Kim
And that was just the first hour ... seven more to go!

Already exhausted, we were quickly back in the car, and driving around to the 12km checkpoint to wait for Bec to come through (I went down the beach on the bike to meet up with her, and then Anthony ran around the headland  with her for a while - we're the real deal support crew).




While Tony was off running with Bec, I wrote "Go Kim" like twenty times in giant letters all over the beach (you can see two of my etchings in the shadow photo below), but then with low fuel levels in the car and not really knowing how long it would take to drive to the next checkpoint ... we had to make the decision to let Kim run through on her own ...

GO KIM
This turned out to be a tragic mistake as Kim didn't see even a single one of my sand etchings.  Too busy counting her steps I guess ...

The only upside was that it gave me time to get my morning latte.

After our latte and fuel detour to Beaconsfield, we headed to Bakers Beach where we set up half way down the beach with music blaring away as we cheered everyone past us (many for the second time) as we waited for our 'girls' to run by ...



We really were an awesome cheer squad.

Tony (again) went off down the beach with Bec. (He is so nice, it is sickening) and I hung around to make sure Kim hadn't taken a wrong turn ... because you can get lost on a beach without a support crew to guide you in with music - it's a scientific fact.

With that done, we packed up all our gear (our gear being the speaker which was in my pocket) and set off to get to the 25km turn-around check point.

Now at this point I have to say that I wish I wasn't so honour bound by my code of truth in these blogs, because if I weren't, I might be able to just fudge Tony's sudden disappearance from the narrative at this point, but you all know that I only ever write the 100% truth, so it is with great sadness that I say that it was here that Tony cracked under all that 'extra' supporting he'd been doing, and knowing he was no good to me anymore, I let him go home the easy way ...

Yep,  I agreed to let him lace on his shoes and run the 25kms back to the start with Bec whilst I took on the heavy mantle of the lone support crew.

I'd just say that it is lucky one of us has a bit of pluck to stick it out.

Kim, smiling at the turn around point (told you it was easy)
Tony, bailing on me on his way back with Bec.
Kim about to start heading back - the black dot in the distance is Bec and Tony.
(Bec had started an hour before Kim).
Back at the finish line, I really needed to take a nap after all my exertions, but knowing that my runners depended on me, I pulled out my bike and rode down to West Head and then back out along Badgers Beach to the 13km checkpoint looking for my runners.

I passed Kim about a third the way along the beach, just counting to herself 61232, 61233, 612343 ... it was good to see her counting her steps, not so good to find out she missed my "GO KIM" etchings a second time.


I waited for Bec for about 5 or 10 minutes, but then I got worried that Kim might be getting worried that I wouldn't be there at the finishing line and in doing so might lose count of her steps and then she'd never finish, so I hightailed it back along the beach and because you can't ride mountain bikes on the trails back from West Head to Green's Beach ...

Next year I'll bring my road bike :)
I had to cycle down the road, wait for Kim to run past (take several photos) and then ride on to the next viewing point.




I was awesome.

Then, at exactly 75,001 steps ... Kim crossed the finish line ...


Still smiling (I suspect because she had such a great support crew) ...


And not too long after that (I think Kim only got through 3 or 4 cold cans of coke) ... Bec and Tony also came home ...



And that was it ... for them.

Apparently despite my doing all of the work for the day ... I also had to drive them all home while they snoozed.

They are so lucky to have such a great support crew.

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