And so visiting the Alpines again for the Razorback Run was a long awaited personal treat for myself. A meaningful milestone. I couldn't wait to see for myself the scenic vista that I first had a glance of in the Razorback Run's online flyer from last year. I chose to do the Mt Buller run instead because I chickened out a bit after reading it was a self-supported run & there were very little pictures/info online on what to expect (website has improved a lot since). I was also not very well equipped gear-wise back then.
Anyway, let's dive right in..
The pre-run briefing & bib-collection was held the night before - I took the day off work in order to have a less stressful drive. We booked 2 nights accommodation at Snowline Motel because we referred to the website & the RD's event notes as to where the briefing was going to be held, but it was then changed to Hariettville Hotel eventually - so do pay attention to RD's email updates leading up to the event.
I believe there was also mention about gear-check during briefing (& so we & many others brought our gear) - but there was no gear-check after all (yes this is trivial I know but just to give you an idea that for this event info provided can change/inconsistent across website/email updates etc. - so once again just pay attention).
Run-briefing was casual & held in the hotel restaurant area with several runners having their dinner. Personally thought a projector should've been set up to talk through the route map visually (especially for people who has never been up the Alpines before). There was a lady who held up the map & asked several questions on the course & was clearly not feeling 100% confident on several points the RD mentioned about. And on hind-sight, the run did see several runners taking wrong turns etc..
|pic courtesy of La Sportiva Mountain Series 13|
Gear & Clothings
As repeatedly advised by the event info, the weather is prone to change from day-to-day for the Alpines, so best prepare for any type of weather. We packed clothings for both cold, windy & wet as well as hot & sunny. (We got sunny & wonderful weather on run-day but few days on, it was apparently pouring wet & cold & snowing up at Hotham!)
Gear wise, we prepared everything that was required of us in the mandatory kit list, and my UD vest was stuffed to the brim:
|Here was my spread.. hehe|
Bungalow Spur (0-10k)
|Runners were still trickling in 5 mins before 6am.. :)|
The run began on time at 6am, the run/hike up Bungalow Spur was hard-going because we were of course in a run-event & were pushing to move as fast as we could. Not surprisingly this is the hardest part of the run. Your heart will be pumping & whatever nerves you have before the run will be gone within the first 10mins :)
Bungalow Spur - The Cross (10-11k)
Eventually of course - your hard work will pay off & you will see the beautiful sight of Federation Hut marking the end of the Bungalow Spur slog & the heavenly views would open up before your eyes!
|Leaving Fed Hut & up towards Feathertop|
|The hills are friggin alive!!|
This section will be gentle slopes, pretty runnable (if your legs will still take you) all the way to The Cross, where you will presented with a left turn (towards Mt Feathertop), and a right turn (or straight - towards the Razorback).
The Cross - Mt Feathertop (11-12k)
As you climb up towards Mt Feathertop, it gets increasingly treacherous for 2 reasons - the views get better, and the trails gets more technical.. as you admire the view & lose focus/concentration, you may trip/misplace footing - all of which is still OK if you don't plummet down the ravine that would be inches away from you on either side of the trail.. !!
|One runner busted his knee very badly here.. don't take this section lightly!|
|What did I tell you about the 'killer' views..|
|Mt Feathertop awaits..|
|pic courtesy of Neo Samurai|
This section you will benefit if you have poles with you - helps with balance, footing, not so much uphill but definitely during the downhill section.
Razorback (13-23k) & Back (23-32k)
I'll just let the pictures do the talking.. :)
|Looking back towards Feathertop from Diamantina Spur junction..|
|Heading fwd along the Razorback (this guy was going opp way)|
|Views continue to inspire..|
|Certain sections we were running right at the edge of the slope..|
several runners tripped (I did multiple times) so stay focused!
|Yakking to friendly walkers|
|At the U-turn checkpoint Diamantina Hut (looking back at Razorback)|
pic courtesy of La Sportiva Mountain Series 13
|I paused at this section & watched top runners zip by..|
The Razorback section had multiple undulating sections, but nothing too crazy. Certain sections you will run right at the edge of treacherous drops so caution required. Every time I tripped it was because I looked up to check out the views... once again poles would help with going faster on these technical trails - especially the descend.
Pretty straightforward, this section is just 10k of pure pounding of the quads... & felt like it was going on forever. If you didn't train your downhills, you would be cursing a bit over this section. I was just ecstatic that my ITB injuries didn't flare up the entire descend!
We finally crossed the finishing line after 8:40 hours, our goal was under 9 hours and it was great we achieved it and had plenty of fun along the way. Didn't mind at all staying out there a bit longer given it was such a glorious day. You had to envy the walkers as it was definitely a day to slow down & soak in the views up in the Alpines.
Needless to say we'll be back to this region to run/hike/ski perhaps?... but as far as the run goes, what a day & weekend it has been, breath-taking views, gorgeous trails, beautiful weather, no ITB injuries, nutrition & hydration planning went well, loads of pictures taken.. couldn't have asked for more.
1) Poles - very useful for this kinda run..
2) Nutrition - the trail mix prepared by vonsy works very well, kept my energy levels up!
3) UD vest - held up very well in full load, continues to impress!
4) We missed seeing familiar faces!
5) Run organisation was good on run-day, cut-off times were mentioned but weren't strictly enforced, slower-runners have to head towards the pub (where the dinner/presentation would be going on) instead of finishing point & record own time.. might want to take note of that
6) And yes by all means do sign up for this event!
Once again, thanks for reading folks! I leave you with this beautiful sunset at the top of Mount Hotham from the same evening :)
|damn I love this place!|