I’m Coming Home

Maybe a strange title for a reflection of a 100 km Ultramarathon through rocky, Australian outback (with a few hills 😉 ), but a sure summary of my headspace.
Oscars Hut 2 Hut was the first adventure I decided to put onto my ‘funventure’ calendar for 2018. Being relatively close (a domestic flight and mini road trip away), timing being conducive with my work calendar and my yearn for a spiritual run, all signs pointed to ‘join’.

My entry was confirmed about a month out of the event and life just kept on rolling as usual. The weekend before leaving I finally had a good look at the mandatory gear list and realised that there must be some descent elevation and potential for disaster. The list of necessities included: thermal top and bottom, waterproof pants, waterproof jacket, compass, course maps, spot tracker, emergency beacon, first aid kit, emergency blanket, mobile phone, spare battery, food, head lamp, spare batteries…. And I’m sure there were a few more (you get the gist). This was diametrically opposed to the ultra I was participating in at the same time last year; a jungle ultra marathon in Thailand where mandatory gear was virtually water carrying capacity, phone, emergency blanket and headlamp. read more

Life Train

The title is somewhat deceiving; this isn’t about life on a train, no vehicular reference (at least not in a literal sense). This is kind of about training for life. Yesterday I watched a video clip from one of the world’s most accomplished ultrarunners, Kilian Jornet. This Spanish beast of an athlete has won virtually every world renowned Ultramarathon out there, most times smashing records to boot.
Now, the guy isn’t what I would call a show pony, in actual fact, I wouldn’t even suggest he was very media savvy or motivated by accolades. This guy simply loves the outdoors, finds solace in motion, peace in movement. Truth is we don’t know what really happens behind the scenes. Maybe he is a media hungry mogul, does what he does for the money, plays the media very well; but I’d like to stick with the poetic belief that he manifests living one’s passion. read more

Panoramic Overview

Another adventure comes to an end. As I sit in the confines of my plane seat (where I start but don’t finish this report), thoughts ponder – a time to reflect. Having waved goodbye to dad who joined me from Korea, to ‘bond’ and crew me (as has become our tradition), the true extent of our experience is slowly settling in.
Holidays for me are about removing oneself from routine and experiencing another reality; hence I travel and ‘ultrarun’. This event was a somewhat ‘last minute’…. or rather ‘last month’ decision, made upon completing my last ultramarathon in Thailand in late October. Having run 145 km instead of the course of 122 km (on account of taking a wrong turn), I felt that maybe it was a sign that I should add at least one 100 miler into this year. I also had some annual leave up my sleeve as well as some stashed away funds that were yearning to be blown.
Without getting into the nitty gritty of things, eventually I made it to Mae Hong Son in Thailand, meeting dad and getting on with ‘holidaying’. This was our third Thailand adventure this year, all our events being Ultramarathons run by the fantastic crew at Teelakow headed by Peeradon Suksawat (aka Nop). Based on our previous experiences, we had no doubt that this would be another unforgettable, sensational event. We weren’t disappointed! read more

160 km Panoramic Journey

It’s been a while since my last post; study, work, training, contemplation all seem to have taken up my energies. Having submitted a major essay and finished my last day of work before two weeks annual leave, I can finally express the internal monologue that has been busting to be released.

Tomorrow I fly out to Thailand for my final Ultramarathon of the year, the 160 km Panoramic with just over 7000 m elevation ( http://teelakow.com/en/event/ultra-trail®-panoramic). It will be an ideal way of closing the doors to this year. I hadn’t planned on running 100 miles in 2017, the decision was another one of those sporadic ones that just seemed ‘right’ after finishing my last Thailand jaunt a month and a half ago. After some geographical ‘embarrassment’ in that event, the 122 km course turned into a 145 km slog…. What’s 15 more kilometres to make 160… (famous last words right…..) read more

Coastal Onslaught – 65 km of Tummy Troubles

About a hundred of us stood in the gusty winds that assaulted us along the exposed shore. Aldinga beach, a relatively bare shoreline with an awkwardly positioned blow up banner touting the start line for our 65 km Ultramarathon. The course was essentially a very liberal version of ‘follow the sea for 65 km until you get to North Haven’. This naturally meant course marking would be not only sparse, but potentially non existent.

I was a ‘bus starter’. Leaving our cars at the end point, about 20 of us caught the grey liner at 5:30 am to the commencement point. If only I had anticipated what the day would entail, I may have made some very different decisions with my food consumption the night before. You will understand my meaning very soon…. read more

Half as broken – Cleland 50 km Ultramarathon

How does one feel after a 50 km ultra marathon?…. Half as broken compared to running a full century I guess. Last Sunday, I participated in Adelaide’s inaugural 50 km Cleland trail race. I haven’t run an event shorter than 100 km for years now, so this was somewhat out of my comfort zone (if there is such a thing). My decision to participate was sporadic; after reading the final weather forecast on Wednesday and being guaranteed a rain-free day, the possibility was made concrete. The idea to participate was actually another of my midnight epiphanies. I tend to wake up a number of times throughout the night with a sea of ideas swarming through my mind. This one simply whispered “Cleland”, and I felt an accompanying sense of security – the universe spoke. read more

Belief becomes fact

‘Belief will help create the fact’ – a slightly bastardised version of William James’ quote in “Is Life Worth Living?” The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897), that pinpoints the psychological tactic I used to survive my most recent ultramarathon.

100 km of running through mountaineous trails might not be everyone’s cup of tea – but I’m a chai latte addict. There is something sacrosanct, therapeutic and intrinsically raw about sacrificing oneself to the powers of nature and commencing a journey of 100 km, wearing only one’s clothes and carrying a backpack of supplies. One must respect the distance, acknowledge it, yet not become overwhelmed by the toll the endeavour will take. It ultimately comes down to putting one foot in front of the other, and repeating this sequence very many times. One has to accept, from the outset, that the process will be treacherous, challenging and issues will arise; pain is inevitable. Yet, to finish an ultramarathon, there must also be an accompanying degree of faith, a belief that the end WILL appear and that amidst the trials and tribulations, one will cross the finish line. read more