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2007 Australian Mountain Running Championships - Report by Hubertien Wichers

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I flew down on Thursday and as soon as I arrived the cold weather hit me. I forgot how cold it could get! Anyway, with a few thick sock provided by my friends and my flannelette pjs all was good and survivable. The next day though, I set out on a little walking trip around Chifley and Pearce to suss out some nice delicatessen shops including Deek’s café and bakery. On the way the weather was horrible; rain and wind, and unlike Brisbane where the rain is warm, this was bone chillingly cold. My puma’s were soon soaking wet and when I stumbled on a running store I got the bright idea to buy myself another pair of runners; I did not fancy running my shoes wet in the afternoon and then having to warm up and race in them the next day; racing without feeling in my feet did not seem appealing. Deek’s shop is excellent. The coffee is good and the food was delicious, I did not see the man himself, but I was quite content with the coffee and sandwich.

Race day took me and my friend Matthew and his daughter back to Deek’s shop for some bread and coffee and soon it was time to get ready to be picked up by Gramps. Nice to catch up, great to have a ride in the old combi and very grateful to be picked up, as I was the Queensland Team, all by myself without any transportation, and even my Matthew was without a car.

Arriving at the course, the weather did not seem to be too cold; just a bit windy. It was nice to get back to Mt Majura, where two years ago I had my first serious mountain race. I liked the course, but got lost in the pine forest, so I was keen to do a bit of walking/exploring, making sure I would take the right turns. I warmed up on the flat and a most rocky part of the downhill course to see what it would be like. It was good doing a bit of downhill running, just to get my eyes adjusted to the cold wind; tears were streaming down my face!

The race was an interesting experience because I was so much fitter than I was 2 years ago. At the start then, I had to let the fast girls go ahead, now I was in the first 6 or 7 girls to hit the ‘cliff’, without any effort. The climb was still very steep; nothing had changed there, and at the top of the cliffs I was in 4th or 5th position I think. Vanessa and Veronica were up ahead followed by Angela Lara and l. it was great to see Davo at the top! Before rounding the top of the mountain Veronica, Vanessa and Angela came storming down, and soon it was my turn to catch up, first Angela (at least I think she was still ahead of me) and then Vanessa at the top of the last steep rocky bit that leads alongside the pine forest to the bottom of the mountain. Zigzagging through the forest was ok. Veronica was well out of sight, no one would ever catch her! Leading into the second lap was nice, but I did not know if Veronica had kept going, like Hanny Alston did 2 years ago. Soon Vanessa caught up to me, but knowing my downhill running is quite good I hoped I could bank on that, plus I really wanted to take it relatively easy on these cliffs, as the second less steep part to the top, still requires a lot of effort. At the top of the cliffs I caught up to Vanessa and did not see Veronica come down, so it seemed I was the first woman to round the top, and there again was Davo with water to freshen up. It is nice to see who comes up next and I knew that Cindy had moved through the field and that apart from the other women I may have to watch out for her.

I love the down hill at Mt Majura, you can just let go, and running at what feels a million miles an hour. Also, the real rocky bits seem to just disappear under the feet without any problems. Entering into the pine forest I suspected my lead was considerable, but you never know what/who you did not notice. It was nice to come down the last pine forest slalom section and hitting the broad trail was great. All that was needed was to race home. I felt strong and had plenty of energy left so it was nice to go hard.

Reaching the finish line in first position was great, but it also felt a bit weird. “So this is it? No one is ahead of me? Is it true? Well, that means that I am number one, which means that I am the champ; woo hoo how cool’s that!!!”

The other races were great to watch, what an awesome efforts by the guys, and yes Gramps: you are still my hero! Great running!

Hubertien

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