I arrived at the Check Point 3 after a long low hill run of about 5km so I felt fresh, I had covered 54km in about 6 Hours 6minutes hours give or take a few minutes. I saw the drinks table and again it was full of blokes filling up and having a drink. I avoided this area and ran straight to my support bag.
Mikey and the girls were at a Regional Show In Windsor. I did not expect my husband to come to that check point. I thought it would be silly to drag the kids out in a car following me around the mountains. So I quickly grabbed my food bag, filled up my running belt with as many gels as possible and felt my back pack, decided that there was enough water still in the Camel Bak and kept running. Just when I was exiting the check point I recognised another personal trainer who I see a few times a week, he was supporting his mate in the race. He saw me and said, “Wow, Shona your doing really well” in a astonished , low, voice, like he could not even believe how well i was going. It was so weird seeing him that just out of pure realisation of how well I was going, how hard I was working , and I still had 46km to go, I tilted my head back, looked up to the sky and, I let out an all mighty “FUCK!!!!!!!!”. This received a few laughs and cheers from the crowd, and made Brent Laugh also.
I ran past him, really happy with my progress, started eating again, ran past the turn off, and had to double bag for about 5 meters. I was on The 6 Foot Track, a track I know well, and I was over 1/2 way and I was still feeling great, and I speed on. I let out a few tears, I was so proud of myself, I said “Your doing it”, I thought about my kids and how I was going to make them and my family proud. I was just so emotional, living my dream and doing it so well.
I was happy to find that this part of the trail was shorter than I had trained for, as the private land cut off a massive corner of The 6 Foot Track. I was making great time, I started the long climb of 8km up to Nelly’s Glen. I felt a little heavy, so I stopped for a quick wee, there was no one in sight. Just as I pulled my pants up a female runner came flying up behind me. I noticed that she had a Team Bib on, so she was not racing against me in the Solo event, she had only just started. I wished her luck, she was running with 2 hiking poles. I thought that was over kill... But when she about 10 meters past me she let out a scream. A red belly black snake was slithering across the fire trail in front of her, I am sure her hiking poles helped her avoid the venomous snake. I giggled to myself, thinking what awesome luck I had to avoid the snake.
I ran on until it became too steep to run. I then started the steady steep climb out of Nellie Glen up to Katoomba. It switched back to a single man track, crossing rocky and slippery creek beds before you hit the stairs. There are over 800 steps that you have to climb. There is just no use looking up to see where to top is, the climb is 1000m above sea level, so you just have to put your head down and accept that your quads are going to burn and it is going to hurt. I was just really happy it was a dry day, and the leeches would not be attacking me. I kept looking behind me thinking that surely someone will be catching me. But no one came up the Glen. I kept checking my watch, trying to decide wether or not I should call Mikey, but I just did not want to stop and lose precious minutes.
I arrived at the top of Nellies Glen, feeling tired, but so happy the final massive stair climb had been conquered. The trail followed the cliffs for a while and I checked my watch again. I was about an hour early. Mikey would not be at the check point yet. This did not bother me too much as I had pre-packed my bags and they would be sitting there ready for my at the check point.
After a few kilometres of bush track and a few kilometres of road, I came up behind 3 men who were running together. I recognised one of them, the Blue Shirt Guy who I spoke with earlier. I was blown away that I was able to catch men on a climb. I was really proud of myself. Even more proud of my time, I was hitting Katoomba CP4 the 67 km mark at 2:30pm. Meaning that I had completed the 67km in 7 Hours 37 minutes. 53 Minutes ahead of schedule.