2018 Oscars 100 Hut2Hut

Oscars Hut2Hut was a relatively spontaneous decision to do it back in late 2017, with a bunch of other Mountain Goat Train Runners. Also being a team event, Pete was quick to accept to do this – again not really knowing what he was in for (either did I really).

The lead up to this was the usual adhoc training. With some new focus on getting up and down hills with Poles and trying to run with a sleeping bag as part of my pack.  Probably didn’t help that I was also in Germany the week before this event, but I actually got some decent sleep leading into the actual start.

We arrived in the start location, Mt Buller the day before the event, thinking this was plenty of time, but we had enough to do including the race gear check and the race briefing.

The race gear check was pretty standard, and thorough which in hindsight was a blessing! Turns out to be one of the only events I have used all of my mandatory gear!

Following the gear check was the race briefing, starting at 7.30pm and ran quite late – a little annoying as we all wanted to get an early night sleep!

If you want a quick overview of the course terrain, check out the Relive Course:


Course Elevation:

Bit More Details and Photos

SUNRISE 6.52am // SUNSET 8.16pm
Gantners Hut – 50km – Cut off 5.00pm Friday 16th
From the Event Handbook:
“Beautiful she may be, the Hut 2 Hut course is, quite simply, a bit of a brute. Over 100km various GPS units will come up with different results, but our instruments recorded in the vicinity of 5700 metres of gain.  Ten peaks will be bagged. Not big by world standards – indeed Buller itself is the highest at 1805m – but try knocking off ten of them in a row, with plenty of diving down to the valley floor before climbing back up and you will know you’ve worked hard.”
Getting up at 3.45am (Local Time) and having to travel up the mountain for the start we all made good time to get there, relax and before we knew it – it was 5am and we were off. Quite a low key start, but with the chill of the morning everyone was keen to get going.
Begin at the Buller Resort Village we head straight up to the Buller Summit. A great way to get warmed up and socialise – while everyone is in high spirits. It’s also a good segment to allow the teams work out where they are in the overall positionings – before the single trail downhills begins.
From the summit of Mt Buller, it’s a bomb back down, scrambling down some super rocky and technical terrain as we made our way down Four Mile, a ridge that will lead go for 8km and approx. 1300 vertical metres down to the Howqua River. Lots of nice views with the sun coming up and scrambling over rocks, being careful not to get injured in this diverse terrain and from here we visit our first aid station – take off some warm clothes and get moving.
Cross paths with some of the MGTRs, unfortunately for Ben and Vic – they missed the first checkpoint at the aid station so were back trekking. I am sure we would see them again soon as they were travelling pretty fast. Also spent the River circuit run with Deb and Naomi and we continued together with lots of laughs (as you do when running with Deb)
The first the big climbs and the poles came out immediately. Poles were everywhere 🙂 and they didn’t leave my hands (pretty much the whole event) – not what I had planned – but they were an absolute blessing in taking the weight off the legs and moving it to the arms and upper body.
Through this section, Deb and Naomi took off and Ben and Vic also passed us. All still in high spirits – the steep climb was starting to flare up some calf cramps, fortunately I was prepared again for this (after the last 101km in Tassie), I came with some Cramp-fix. Something I had only sampled for taste beforehand, but I swigged the 10ml, and within about 2 mins, the oncoming cramp and completely gone! Love this stuff as a backup…
Great views from the top, and feeling ok, Pete and I shuffled along the ridge and up the Bluff for another short sharp climb.
A relatively straightforward section, following 4WD Tracks over Mt Lovick (1684m) and on to Lovicks Hut, a major aid station.
Made it to Lovicks at about 2.20pm, and staying until 2.40pm (just making the cutoff) – and just as we were leaving Danni and Fridja arrived. We easily talked them in to continuing on – rather than staying the night at Lovicks (approx 37km) – which turned out to be a major blessing as part of the event!
We also had the chaser *forget her name* who was assigned leave just after us who we were meant to stay in front of – if you want to make all the cut-offs.
Realising we were on the edge of the cutoff, we were really in 2 minds- to eithe push it, or take it easy and stay at Gantner Hut. This section while awesome views and novel track, with crossing paths with Horse Tours and lots of hills in-between, we had Danni and Fridja catch us, and made for some good new company. They were keen on trying to get through Garners Hut before the checkpoint, but seeing the other Goats at the intersection (on their way our from the Gartners Hut, I knew we wouldn’t make the cut-off. I was actually fine with this, as it was getting dark and getting wobbly on the legs, so a good night sleep was always going to happen – it was just a matter of where…. So Gartners Hut it was!
Staying at the Hut was probably the highlight of the race. A great group of Mountain Goats to share antics with, a fantastic support crew, and a warm cabin to sleep in. Even received a massage as part of the recovery of the night! The only thing my body missed was some sort of proteins to help in the recovery of the muscles. I was craving it, but the aid station was ample in carbs and energy fuel. All good, considering it was only meant to be an emergency stop.
We could leave from 5am, but we left at about 5.40am – probably enjoying chatting to the supports for too long! But now as a team of 4 Mountain Goats, we agreed to finish together, and this was a great decision to do this…
From Gantner, it’s back out to the main  trail and a right hand turn north up into the Viking Wilderness Area and the jaw dropping Crosscut Saw, a high, thin-wedge ridgeline that will have you hollering and whooping. Simply awesome. Even better for us – it was sunrise. I am sure we lost 30 mins taking photos and enjoying our time there.
An example of why we were not running the course:
From the campsite, it was unsealed road for about 7km, time to catch some teams, and we passed a few. All in good spirit, but we now wanted to get this done! From the nice road, we drop down Muesli Spur Track, it got fun and fast! This singletrack drops nearly 600 metres in 3.5km! Definitely scramble territory but down lower it’s easier to run and turn the legs over on an awesome gradual descent.
At the bottom it’s a really long kilometre in to the major aid station at King Valley Hut. Again great volunteers and a positive push onto the next section.
From King Valley Hut we pretty much cross an awesome knee deep river to freeze the legs – it was suprisingly refreshing, but then bang! Into a big climb.
Another climb that goes forever, fortunately some good conversations with Danni and team made the uphill go faster, but certainly didn’t help the fatigue.
Finally hitting Craigs Hut at the checkpoint, and all wearing the Mountain Goats gear, the supports were also drinking the beer, so it was only natural that we had one to share!
A stunning track with some beefy climbs that goes all the way to the exposed Mt Stirling.
A bunch of switchbacks and wash out mounds. Uncomfortable trekking as it is steep, especially given we’ve got more than 80km in the legs!
Only 12km to go. But not your usual 12kms, with a lot of kms under the legs, this section provided more than just the home straight.
With a lack of energy and lack of nutrition intake, I led the team up the awesome downhill MTB track called ‘Trigger Happy’, followed by Medusa, and then ‘Clancy’s Run’. Indeed the finish line is within cooee here but a mental killer of the  return to the Summit from where it all started. Fortunately Simo was there, with a camera! And as always, with the camera lens on you, a smile must always try to come with it. At the top of the summit, something about ripping a page out the a book.
I just wanted to get down the hill and across the finish line! And that we did, we stumbled down the steepness of Mt Buller, hit the township, and with the last couple of hundred meters we all turn on the pace, the smiles the and complete satisfaction of finishing as a team, and all running arm in arm!
The End
 Quick sit down at the end, get a beer, and try to have a stretch in the cool of the village – it was time to head pretty much straight back to the house. Fortunately we got a lift back, so none of us had to drive!
I pretty much crashed in bed on arrival after a quick shower, unfortunately didn’t make it out of bed in time to see Sarah and Claire finish, but had a good chat when they made it back to the house!

Things to note for future 

Try to stay on the mountain near Start / Finish. As much as I loved the massive house we had, it would had saved alot of time (and the 4 trips back up the mountain) if we stayed up there.





2017 TCS New York Marathon

Until March this year, I was never planning to do a road marathon, until one night where Lisa and I got carried away at the MND&ME charity auction – and next thing we knew – I had a confirmed ticket to the 2017 NY Marathon. I was actually pretty excited to get to New York to run this event. I had always heard great things about this one, so figured – if I was going to do one marathon – this should be it.

So, the variation of training to my usual trails began, and I managed to get up to a comfortable pace for 35kms on the road. Typically on the trails I am a slower runner – so the road faster pacing was a novel addition to the typical runs I do.

Getting to New York was easy via Los Angeles on Qantas, arriving on the Thursday night, we manage to get to an American football game (Jets vs Buffalo Bills) on the same night to ensure we slip into the right time-zone and sleep pattern.

The Marathon was on the Sunday morning, my wave started at 10.40am (Wave 3). Logistically though, we had to get a bus from the Manhattan Library (6 or so blocks from Central Park) at 6am to get us all to the starting area on time. There were massive queues getting on the bus, but we kept on swiftly moving forward and onto the 100s of buses that were available to us.

Waiting for our start, it came surprisingly fast, after a being rugged up in my blanket and warm pjs, we stripped off into the race gear and donated all the “keep warm” clothes we had as warmers to the charity bins and headed to the start gates.

To appreciate the starting of 50,000 runners (all doing the marathon) and ensuring everyone had the ability to try to get the time they had requested on the entry, even the start line village logistics was massive. There was 4 waves, each wave had 3 start lines and each start line had 5 entry points. Allowing you to be grouped with all the other liked speed runners. Each of the start lines had a separate first 8 miles of the course – until we joined up – eg. 2 lines went on top of the Stratton Island Bridge while another line went under the bridge.

Once I was in the right gated area, we shuffled around to the start line at the end of the Bridge, and with the “American National Anthem” and the cannon fire we were off.

Heading over the first Bridge was a steady incline, lots of high spirits and runner encouragement. It also helped having the entertainment of the policemen standing on their cars with the stereo pumping and dancing with encouragement. Right then I knew I was in for a special run.

Over the Staten Island Bridge, we were welcomed into Brooklyn with the masses of crowds. The cheering was absolutely crazy. I am sure in most segments, it was 3-5 people deep cheering you, lots of people shouting out your name (it helped that I had my bib with my name on the front). Also with lots of music bands /djs, everytime you ran past music source and they would fade into the distance, the next one would start. It was very hard to go slow and paced with all this fanfare!

Running through Brooklyn was the biggest highlight, given I was still fresh in the body and fully took in all the atmosphere!

The next borough was Queens, which also was around the half way mark. Again massive crowds and lots of posters of motivation. Some of them  I can remember were:

  • Where is everyone going?
  • Worst parade ever
  • An uber from here to the finish lines costs 40.15
  • Pain is temporary – Internet Race results last forever
  • Go – Complete Stranger!

Lisa and Rupert also managed to make it to the 14 mile mark – awesome having the text messages come through on my watch to try to work out exactly where they were. Although sending “next to the Band” – didn’t really help – but I found them and managed to enjoy a bit of time with them, and giving Rupert some of the previous choccies I had picked up along the way!

Just after seeing them we climbed up and over the Queensboro bridge – a long incline on the second level (under the top level). Getting through this, we made our way around the corner and up towards The Bronx. A massive long straight road (along 1st Avenue) – this section was a mental struggle, going up and over the small hills – you could see the masses of runners in the straight line in front of you. This section was a straight roads from 59th to approx 135th streets – leading into, The Bronx. The proud Bronx. We learnt that we were in the Bronx very quickly by alot of the supporters.

The Bronx was also where my body started to have enough of this speed. I was starting to flare up my hamstrings with a potential cramp – a lot higher in my legs than I would normally get the niggles.

From where with still 10km to go, I slowed the pace down and tried to enjoy the crowds more. I had been told a technique, that if you want a pick me up – run near the sides of the crowds and get the cheers and the high 5s, and if you want isolation and just power on – go to the middle. This was so true. Trying to keep on the sides, it kept me picked up for the long straight back into Manhattan, again another long straight back to 86th street, until we cut back into Central Park.

Thinking the Central Park section wouldn’t be too long, it seemed to go forever! WE had walked it, in the previous days, but it seemed to go for-ever! Finally finding the final hill to the finish, I made it over with a smile and almost nothing left in the tank.

Happy to have run a pace that was probably too fast at the start, but managed to pull it back for the last 10kms and enjoy the crowds more. I was initially targeting the 4 hour finish, but completely happy with the 4:15 finish.

Once I got some mandatory photos, the alfoil blanket, we trekked back out through Central Park and via a few aid station, getting more food, bags of goodies and finally the blanketed poncho! Totally awesome option.

I think I walked about 5km back to the hotel…it was a pretty funny sight – everyone with their ponchos on a walking like zombies!

Security at this event was massive – and that only what I saw. I am sure there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. Massive appreciation to the NYPD  for a completely perfectly run event. I’d guess that there were 1000s of NYPD officers and vehicles along the course. These trucks or similar were at nearly every intersection of roads

Top Tips:

  • If you want an arm workout as well, run on the sides of the course and high 5 all the supporters!
  • Wear your name on the front of your shirt – I lost count how many times my name was called out in cheering! The cheering pulls you forward too! I equate it to like drafting on a bike!
  • Pick a time for the course that is correct for you. The corral system is awesome and you will be put in a grouping that is right for your speed.
  • Go the Poncho option at the end. Wear clothes you can throw out at the start.
  • With the rain and wet feet. Blistop saved my feet with no blisters or hotspots after the run

Stoked to have run the NY Marathon, and really appreciative of all the logistics that were provide by Paul and the MND&ME team. It certainly made it easy for the runners! And also got to meet and make some new friends that we share a new bond that not too many others in Oz that will get to experience.

If you’re on the fence about if you want/not sure if you can – give me a holler – I am sure your will be booking your ticket for the next one in no time!

It will have to be a special event to get me back onto a road marathon – I think I have started and ended with an awesome one with an awesome trip to complete it.