It’s a long weekend in Tassie and we’re heading to the South end of Bruny Island to run the Endorfun Run #2 – Labilladiere Peninsula.
Capped at only 100 runners this event offers 17.5ks of brilliant, beachy trails surrounded by spectacular coastal views and we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
It’s 5:15am, Sunday morning when the alarm rings violently from my iPhone. We’ve calculated there’s just enough time to make the race if we catch the first ferry out of Kettering and we’re not about to risk missing it. With bags packed and all our kit meticulously laid out the night before we quickly suit up and hit the road; praying to god there’s a coffee shop open along the way – we quickly decide this is unlikely at 5:45am.
We’re first in line at the Ferry terminal so we relax in the knowledge that we might just make it in time for race briefing at 9:45am. With 45 mins up our sleeve we take to strapping our ankles while digging into a light breaky of peanut butter sandwiches, bananas and no coffee.
We disembark the ferry and drive south for an hour (half of which is on gravel road) before we reach the Jetty Beach campgrounds. Wow, there are people everywhere, a far cry from the first time we did this race four years prior. We pick up our race bibs and head to the car to strip off and get our hydration packs on. I’m running with 500ml of H2O in my Nathan hydration belt, Bec has her CamelBak with a Ltr of weak electrolytes and we’re both carrying a couple of Wiggle gels. We’ve also packed a snake bandage each (compulsory) and the Go Pro – Love what this baby can do.
After a quick race briefing by Endorfun founders Kris and Imogen we promptly kick off at 10am. The trail starts off in single file and quickly turns into a steep incline. Bec and I are separated for the first 500 meters – I’m checking behind me to see where she is while trying not to trip over all the rocks but it’s only a few minutes before we’re together again and settling into a swift trot up the 4wd track.
It is a gorgeous Autumn day, well above the average April temperature and without a cloud in the sky we’re quick to get out the Go Pro and start snapping away.
The first 7 ks are no easy feat, dipping down in little valleys on occasion by mostly sending us climbing for over 300 meters. The course is quite exposed and on such a magical day we’re thanking our selves for the sunglasses and visor choices made earlier.
This course is a rock hoppers dream and there is no shortage of rolled ankles along the way. Mostly people have lost their footing while flying down the hills or just bad luck as we all plummet through long grasses sometimes unable to see your footings for metres ahead.
The spectacular views of D’Entrecasteaux Channel and the Southern ranges take your breath away at about the 8k mark and as you reach the first of three beaches it’s a real chance to look up and appreciate the remote location. When stretching the legs on the hard sand it’s the first opportunity to look around and take a quick account of where you are in the finishing stakes. We make a quick calculation that puts us at about 6th female and we decide to take in a gel.
The beach is hot and after the exposure to the breeze it’s a welcome break as we weave back into the shrub and up over another small hill or two. There’s no shortage of fallen trees and logs to jump (scramble) over and as we reach the 13k mark we decide to have another gel in the push to the finish line. It’s not all smooth sailing at this point. There are a few muffled comments of heavy legs and complaints about the heat but with a few encouraging comments back and forth including some reminders of recent accomplishments and confidence in our ability we push on and soon find a small second wind.
We start to catch a few runners in the distance and it isn’t long before we’re shooting past as we skip, hop and jump through the last few ks of trail. A quick Garmin check (Bec’s sporting a Suunto) tells us we’re making a cracking pace and as we near the 1:38 mark we catch a glimpse of those bright Endorfun finishing flags on the beach along with quite a crowd.
It’s quickly down onto the beach with a few cheers from children surrounding the path and then we look at each other with a big smile and exchange breathless comments of accomplishment and satisfaction. In a few seconds we’ve spotted our ever supportive other halves lingering halfway up the beach both with cameras in hand. It’s all big smiles and thumbs up for the camera as we charge past. Within meters of the finishers flags we reach out to hold hands and come plummeting across the line arms in the air, spring in our step and the love for what we do written all over our faces.