Thomas Lenzenhofer's 2001 12foot Report
I was looking forward to this run already for a while, cause I knew that I'll meet some of the craziest people again, especially because most of these crazy guys have become my good and only friends here in Australia (although they might not know that). Also the this particular run made me a bit nervous even when thinking about it. I know I ran that distance already once in France with about 3000m height meters, and also did the Trailwalker this year - but I did just about 50km per week for the last month and I thought this calls for troubles on such a demanding course.
Nevertheless I was inspired as always by the numerous e-mails on this alias, especially the days before the race the e-mails reported about pumped people and some that could not even concentrate on their work any more. The main inspiration I got again from Mr. Flimpyhead, the always easy and positive thinker. For me he is the INSPIRATION-MAN. Not a lot of training and still finishing these runs in some way - I sometimes can't believe it how he does it. So I was ready for the big run as everyone else and the weather forecast promised a good day out in the Blue Mountains.
The alarm clock woke me up at 4am on Saturday 11th August and it was almost a routine for me to get up at this time on the weekend. I spent most of my last few weekends in the Blue MOuntains, sometimes doing some serious MTB with Thomas Schattovits and that means starting at 7am in Blackheath. So last Saturday was nothing unusual for the starting time.
I arrived at the Explorers Tree at 6:30 am and there was nobody. Hmm, thought I was late already or at the wrong place. Finally Kevin arrived and some others too. Could not believe it when Ross made up his breakfast table. That was again not Fatass style, but definitely great - thanks heaps for that Ross! Guess that was also the reason that we didn't start at 7am - together with the fact that most of the other runners parked at the Explorers Tree and we parked around the curve at the start of the track. Finally we found each other and got ready for the start. The usual and traditional Fatass start photo and then we hit the track at 7:35am.
I'm happy that I didn't run the official 6foot track run this year, and I only ran it once last year when I arrived in Australia. So at least for the first 6foot part to Caves house I was not 100% familiar with the route and knew what to expect. On the first 5km I tried to catch up with Jan Hermann, he was couple of minutes ahead after the first steep descent. I knew from the last run in Canberra at COtter that if I keep running with him I would have a good time, without exhausting myself completely. I managed to catch up with him after he had a quick pee in the bush and he also waited for me. Only Kieron was ahead of us so far.
We ran a good pace and decided then to cross the Cox river, not taking the bridge at this stage. As there was not so much water we managed to hop from rock to rock and get to the other side without getting the shoes wet. Then Peter and Martin catched us at the steep hill after the Cox river. Even on the 3 little river crossings we (or better I) managed to keep the feet dry by hopping over the rocks and stones. Jan lost the balance at one stage and tested one of his shoes on not being waterproof.
The second big climb which came after little river gave us both a hard time and that was the first time that we got really tired. We were pleased to see Max Boggenhuber, the 6foot legend, near the road at Black Range. This was a good point to make a short break and then we took off on the new route of the run which was not going along the road but offroad as well. After we crossed the road Max was there again and he told us it is only downhill now to the Caves house.
The caves house was my big motivation at this stage as well as for Jan. We had both quite stiff legs already and could not imagine to run that stuff back again. I imagined the most unhealthy stuff to eat at Caves house and a beer of course.
We got to the Caves house in 5h40min and had about 35 min break. The most time we spent in the queue waiting for a beer, chips and a meat pie. That was unhealthy enough, but we enjoyed that stuff by relaxing in the sun outside.
By the time we wanted to leave Laurence came in. He just filled up his drinks and didn't want to take such a break as we did. So he joined us by running back to Katoomba. The long and sometimes quite steep climb straight after the Caves house and that lunch gave me a hard time. The good beer was just steam after 5 minutes and I felt like I had no lunch for 3 days. While walking up there Sean passed us near the Caves house, later on Bill and then Dave and up on the hill Kevin.
We met again Max at the Black Range point where I was quite stuffed for the first time. I felt a bit dizzy and bad in the stomach, but recovered after a short break. Then Lawrence, Jan and myself ran off again. The next 15km or so should be quite nice, because all downhill. I lost these 2 guys once for a while, cause I had to do some heavy business in the woods in order to get rid of some weight. The I catched them later, after some serious 4WD vehicles passed me (about 12 of them). The sun was going down slowly and I had just one thing in my mind - getting to the Cox River before it gets dark. As I had to make some business again I lost Jan and Laurence again.
At Little river Jan was waiting for me, Laurence took off faster and Jan said he could not keep the pace anyway, so waited for me. It was just so beautiful to run now, cause the late afternoon sun made such a nice atmosphere in the bush. I looked around and I could have sit here for hours, just admiring the nice bushland with this type of sunlight. It is these things that make me doing such crazy runs also. The nature gives me such nice moments like nothing else does - if you didn't experience it, you will not understand what it means, but it is fantastic.
We were about 10 minutes before the Cox river crossing when it got completely dark. Around 6:10pm we cam to the river and this time we decided to take the bridge. Along the way to the suspension bridge there were even some people camping out there and 2 guys with their 4WDs thought it is cool to make some noise at this time of the day - bastards! The suspension bridge was great and we took some pictures there.
After the bridge we felt both very good and managed to run even on the small tracks uphill. But after about 3km I hit the wall and felt very bad. My stomach screwed up and I knew if I don't take care now I'll be stuffed and have a blackout (had that 2 times back in Austria at ULtra Cycling races). So I told Jan he can take off, but I have to walk for a while and hope I can recover. He said he is fine and will stick with me - thanks a lot Jan, this is team spirit man! That helped me a lot. I knew I was slow, sometimes I had to sit down and relax even for 2 minutes, then walk a bit again - but slowly. It went so on until we came to Megalong Valley point where our small bags with the rest of drinks and food was waiting. We had some potato chips and drinks and a nice short break. It was very cold now and I regret that I told Max earlier today to bring my GOre Tex Jacket back to my car. Jan was so nice and shared his jacket with me, cause I was so exhausted and cold.
When we started again after that break I gave the jacket back to Jan, cause now he was freezing a lot. I felt a bit better now, but as it was so cold I had no other choice but running in order to warm up. We managed to run almost all until the continuous ascent began. Now it seemed to drag on forever. I knew it was just about 3km to go to the car, but especially when the steps started I could hardly make a move up any more. I was so stuffed. Jan was very tired too, but for me he was still the machine. Well, you can imagine how it was - a lot of suffering and then - the car.
Yes, this was it ladies and gentlemen - the car is here and we made it in 14h20min. The last 100 meters we ran to the Explorers Tree and made a finisher photo. Then I was thinking of getting some sleep in the car, cause I was so tired. Jan drove home straight away.
I gave myself 15 minutes sleep/rest in the car before I drove home.
Thomas Lenzenhofer Cherrybrook Sydney