It's time to get excited as an Ultra Trail runner it is at time one of the only chances we have the opportunity to race in a team with runners who we are normally competing against. Its does not matter if you are planning to win the Oxfam Trailwalker event or just finish before the cut off I look back at the photos that were taken in 2011 in my 17 Hour 17 minute finishing all female coached team by me and the Overall winning team with Andy Lee, Paul Robertson, Jono Worswick and myself in a 12 hour 18 min team. The satisfaction at the finish line s the same possibly more or the longer you've been on your legs and the greater the struggle it took toi get the entire team of 4 over the line.
In 2011 I trained a team of 4 women for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney who 2 of them had never fun further than a 1/2 marathon before to run their first 100km Ultra Trail Event. Within 8 months of training we knocked off a 50km Coastrek Victory Overall Victory, then a 2nd place female and a 8th Place overall position in the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney. As a team we managed to get everyone over the line with no injuries and all in amazing sprits. If you look at the photo below you can see how emotional one becomes after running 100km in a team where you know your teammate suffered for the good of the team as a whole. It's just so rewarding. I was happy to say my other client was reward with a 2 hour personal best for the course and went on to achieve a 2 hour personal best in The North Face 100 in 2012. It would become my 2nd place Female Podium in 2 years for Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney.
In 2012 the stars all aligned and I managed to wrangle my way onto the No Roads Oxfam Trailwalker Team with a stellar group of men. It was sad to not have my good friend Beth Cardelli on the team with me. She had to pull out due to a stress fracture. So the Tuesday before the event we were lucky enough to have Jono Worswick join the team. With Jono's 10 Oxfam Starts and 8 to be wins we were in experienced hands for the 100km. Unlike in the past I did not train with my team mates. We just chatted on the phone and decided that in the end we can only go as fast as the slowest person on the day. Going by race result and current form, I was going to be the slowest person on the day. Andy Lee is a true champion, Jono and Paul are both Ultra Racing Guns and I was just the mum of two missing it with the big boys. I just could not believe my luck to be able to have the opportunity to run with such a quality group of elite runners.
Winning Oxfam Trailwalkers is all about putting together the best team on the day, working together in a team and realising the strengths and weakness of your team mates. My weakness is climbing, especially in a side with Andy Lee. I was also slower on the flats than the blokes too Andy, Jono and Paul are all quick flat fire trail runners. My strength is technical trails and descending. I had to push my little guts out on the technical descents to get ahead enough for the blokes to catch me on the ascents, knowing that I will have just enough strength to catch them on the descent again.
Actually winning such a precious event was just amazing. I was lucky it only took my 3 years to manage a win and it was worth every step.
In 2014 I'm back in a all female team called the Offroad Chinwaggers 1 and I am so impressed at how far the women have come in Ultra Trail Running over the past 3 years. This year there may even be the possibility of an all female team taking out the event at Oxfam Trailwalker Brisbane. I'm not just taking about my own team. Australian Ultra Trail Representative, Mandy-Lee Noble has put together an impressive team of women. In 2013 Red Man Runners won Oxfam Trailwalker with a Mixed team with 2 females and 2 males. They are returning to defend their title. The dark horse that I know of is the Offroad Chinwaggers 2 Team. They expect to be strong after the 75km mark. Again this is all great for Ultra Trail Running as a sport a dI can't wait to see what the result will be.