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Glasshouse Mountains - a View From the USA

Glasshouse Mountains - a View From the USA

by Suzi Thibeault
The Glasshouse 100 was even better than I guessed. I read about the race last year, and the best part about it was that they had five starters, and no finishers! Makes you want to go find out what that's all about, doesn't it? Sort of a Barkley thing? Tougher than Hardrock? Just had to go.

So I planned the trip to Australia including sightseeing in Brisbane, a rain forest adventure near Cairns, and seven days of scuba diving in the Coral Sea on a live-aboard dive boat. The area called the Glasshouse Mountains, is only an hour drive North of Brisbane, and makes for a good view of Australia and Australians. I really think the very best part of this race was meeting the locals. The runners, their families, and everyone working the event, were simply terrific. Seeing a Wallaby and her baby beside the trail at about mile 6, was also pretty special!

Ian Javes, the race director, has worked very hard to make this a quality event. The elements that really matter are attended to admirably. The course is well marked, aid stations are fully stocked, medical crew is knowledgeable, time limit is fair, awards are plentiful, crowds are non existent, and there is no entry lottery. The most pleasant surprise for me was the interaction of the other distance races and their entrants. The 100 miler is given great honor, but the four other distances offered are equally rewarding. The 58K and 106K are started with the 100 milers, so there is camaraderie from the beginning early Saturday morning. The wonderful thing is on Sunday morning the 25K and 10K participants are finishing their event as the last 100 miler finishes under the 30 hour cutoff! This was a terrific finale to the weekend.

The course is rolling hills on dirt, with mostly open roads in and out of gum tree stands and fields of pineapple, macadamia nut orchards or scrub pine. Australian bird sounds are a wonderful background to the daylight hours. If you go for the 100, the distance will still be the problem it always is, no matter the course. Heat and humidity are both likely at this time of year.

The Sports field which serves as start/finish and base of operations, offers all the amenities required for a wonderful party. We even had team competition, with a runner in each of the distances on a team. This was one way to meet the local runners and walkers. I strongly suggest considering an entry next year for any of the five distances. Make a family vacation to Australia during their Spring, and include Glasshouse in your plans. I'm certainly planning to go back. It doesn't get any better than staying at the Glasshouse Mountains Motel. Contact Sir James Kirker there for your reservations, at spook@harveynorman.com.au

by Suzi Thibeault, a well-known and very experienced US Trail UltraRunner)

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