Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Australian Mountain Running Championships 2011

Bellbird Grove, Camp Mountain Queensland 29 May 2011
I got back from the gasfields last week for a well-deserved break. I must say I earned it. At the remote gasfields I barely did any running and was a bit out of shape. So on the weekend (last weekend in May) I thought I might go bushwalking to give the old legs a bit of exercise.

There is this beautiful part of the Brisbane Forest Park going up to Mt Nebo from The Gap. We drove up the steeply winding road Mt Nebo road a few times in ages past, for sight-seeing and picnics and whatnot. Boombana has rainforest walking tracks, and there are truly stunning views from Jolly’s Lookout.

View of Brisbane from Camp Mountain.
I glimpsed parts of the green untouched forests from flights to and from the western downs, and I thought it’s about time I visited Brisbane forest park again.

Bird's eye view of Bellbird Grove to Camp Mountain, at bottom.
On Saturday I was lazing about reading some novel I don’t even remember the title, when the radio mentioned something about some mountain running off Mt Nebo road. I heard that this was being held the next day Sunday and that onlookers are welcome to cheer the runners along. This clinchéd it for me to visit those parks near Camp Mountain again.

Camp Mountain

Bellbird Grove
On a glorious sunny Sunday morning I turned up in Bellbird Grove with my digital camera hoping to snap off some pictures of runners I might know. All of the participants are elite mountain runners from around Australia. Many are local Queenslanders but there are a good number from the other states and ACT. None of them were familiar to me, but these are the crème de la creme of mountain running in Australia. Up for grabs are spots in the upcoming 2011 World Mountain Running Championships in Tirana, Albania and the Commonwealth Mountain Running Championships in Wales, Great Britain, both in September.

I mingled with the runners at the registration tables. I asked an official if there was a time limit in the race. He looked at me as if I was from Antarctica, “Mate look around you, it’s a perfect Queensland day. Runners can take as long as they want.” On impulse I asked “Can I join then?” And that’s how I entered this race – a last minute entrant.

I thought of representing the western downs region of Queensland, but maybe they won’t take too kindly to a turtle flying their flag. I also considered representing the Philippines, but that would be presumptuous without official sanction. So I just put down Polichay from Brisbane, Queensland. Hopefully they won’t banish me to Antarctica if I don’t finish.

The junior and senior men go for glory.
To cut this tale short, I came last. No crowing there. I did finish well outside the time limit of 1hour 40minutes, so I did not even get my name on the results.
It was close though. I only missed out on the Top 3 by a mere 0.9 of an hour!

Some of the winners.
At the presentations we heard that we created a new participation record for this event. It looks like I set (or help set) new records every time I race - whether for the slowest finisher, or just making up the numbers.

Below results are from Australian Mountain Running Association, with links to photos.

2011 AMRC results
I finished 100th out of a total 100 participants overall. In the men's open 13.2km, I was 50th out of 50.

But my results look good in my age group 45-49. I finished in the top 10 in 10th. Never mind that the ten other guys in the 50-80 age group all finished ahead of me.

I wasn’t too despondent. My aim was to finish which I did. I was actually quite satisfied with my race time. Maybe next time (if there’s a next time) if I actually ‘run’ uphill instead of crawl uphill, my time might be ‘publishable.’

Open Men's 13.3km results continued...
 A Springsteen tune came to mind as I drove home:

We don’t run for the money got shoe strings attached
We run `em up and then we run `em down...
I went for another spin - to Camp Mountain agin...

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