5 Events, 2 Days totalling 42.2kms 3
Author: Kath Jones , Beyond The Medal Ambassador
Warwick pentath run. Five events. Two days. A total of 42.2km. You can run one, or all five, or any combination in between.
My goal was simple. All five, Uninjured!!
Speed is not my thing, and doing event after event back to back was certainly untested waters for me. I had no speed goals – just to finish and still be able to move was enough.
A solid race required a solid training plan. Garry Wells of the untapped runners wrote a pentath run specific training plan for myself and friends (thefive30kittens). The plan involved a lot of pentath specific training. Hills. More hills. Back to back run days. And encouragement from Garry and our team that saw me uninjured and as ready as I could be at the start line.
DAY ONE - RACE ONE – The Half
Race weekend and day one brought a 7am start for the first event of the weekend. A point A to point B destination half marathon. After starting in the main street of Warwick, we headed around the river and up Yangan hill – a steep, long uphill run. Thank goodness for training I had tackled this many times.
As you proceeded along Yangan Road for the next 17 or so km (!), you received a visual treat. As the road opened up before you, you were greeted with a visual feast of long country roads, and incredible mountains ahead of you.
For me – this race was a race run in two halves. My first 10k was strong. I went out harder than I probably should – but it felt awesome. Local support along the early stages of the path lifted me, and I ran strong.
As the road got longer – support along the sides thinned. Hills increased. The day warmed up and I started to struggle. The moments where friends had stationed themselves with signs and cheered us on truly lifted me. By 16k I had had enough. Walk run intervals became the name of the game, and the water station cheerleaders kept me going.
As you start to enter the town of Yangan, a few hundred metres from the finish, one last hill rises before you. Knowing that we were very close to the end of the pack, it was at this moment I decided time doesn’t matter, it was the friends on the course that did. I stopped and called Em who was behind me to catch up. I do remember her yelling out “are you kidding me” as I waited. Side by side we pushed our way up the hill to cheers from the sidelines. In the end – it was Em that got me home. That last hill hurt.
We received a hero’s welcome. People on the sidelines were screaming that these were the heroes – these were the people we wanted to see! Crossing that line together was incredible. And finishing with our five30friends waiting for us on the other side made my day. Race one was done.
It was time to inhale the official race breakfast and go onto race two.
DAY ONE - RACE TWO – The Cross Country
Midday Saturday sees the start of race two. A 4.6km cross country run at the Allora golf course – approximately 20min drive from Warwick.
Being a definite back of the back runner down time between these events was short. It was a quick shower, change, refuel and leave time. I was still feeling a bit queasy from the half, so refuelling at one stage consisted of an iceblock in the shower!
The cross country course is two laps on predominately grass and gravel around a golf course. There are several short steep uphills, and some steep, rocky descents. My legs were hammered from the morning half so my race plan was to walk down the really steep declines (uninjured was my number one goal), walk up the steepest inclines and run a steady race as much as I could the rest.
Trail shoes were a winner with this run, some parts were quite rocky underfoot. The encouragement at the finish line was second to none. This is definitely the event I found the hardest all weekend. It was good to get it done.
DAY ONE RACE THREE – The Road Race
Saturday 3pm brings race three. A 5k out and back road race that starts and finishes rather appropriately at the awesome country pub – the Sandy Creek Hotel. Pre-race we had organised for all parkrunners present to gather for a group photo. Seeing so many #parkrunadventurers was a highlight – it’s amazing how numbers in this photo have increased in size in just one year!
Goal for race three was to run the lot. Get the legs ticking over and don’t give into the tiredness. The atmosphere in this race is fantastic! This is the race that most people turn out for – and turn out they did. As a co – event director for our local parkrun my favourite part was seeing our runners out in force. They did so well! My relief at the end of this 5k was huge. I had gotten through day one. Over half way. My legs were shattered and I was mentally exhausted. I honestly had no idea how I would do day two … and strongly thought of pulling out. I was tired, and just felt done.
DAY TWO RACE ONE – The Hill
Day two. I woke up surprisingly in good form. A decent dinner and sleep had served my legs well. I was ready.
The first race of day two is a 10k uphill ascent. It starts in the town of Killarney, and ends at the beautiful Queen Mary Falls. The first 5-6k was good. It was relatively flat, and my pace felt strong. I just steadily focussed on the person ahead of me and tried to make small gains where I could.
With about 4-5km to go the road starts to ascend and it is uphill from there . This is a run about the mind. Get a rhythm. Focus . And just keep moving forward. Only the elite run the whole uphill, it is very demanding. Highlights for me were following the music of Neil and Regi, and being passed by Zoey and Corrine from Operation Move who were ahead of me, but stopped off to sightsee at Daggs Falls! Finally at the top I was met by cheer squad extraordinare Carol and Ross who had the biggest of proud grins! Avril had finished earlier and met me with a few hundred metres to go – and informed me she was running me home. Best ever.
Oh – and highlight of the race – the breakfast from the café up the top provided to all runners has to be seen to be believed. I love this run because it is the one everyone dreads, and in the end – almost everyone declares it their favourite of the weekend.
DAY TWO – RACE FIVE! – the sprint
1500m sprint down the main street. The final event.
Just before the start we had collected our singlets for running all five events. I tucked it in my race belt because I did NOT want to wear it until it was earnt. I was pumped for this. 1500m stood between me and being a penath run finisher. This is an out and back course. The atmosphere is fantastic. Kids, runners and walkers – tutus, superherous – you name it you see it.
The first half I felt tired on but once I hit that turnaround point I just pushed home. I wanted that finish line! Crossing the finish – being met by my gym manager with the biggest YOU DID IT smile, and seeing my friends. It was the best. I remember whipping that singlet out and pulling it on. Biggest grin ever. Ask me earlier and I would have told you this was impossible for me. But I did it. The impossible was possible. I wasn’t the fastest or the strongest – but time and time again I’m being told that people are entering next year because they saw me do it. This is what it’s about.
A weekend like this doesn’t happen without a team.
Biggest thanks goes to my family, and especially my husband Paul who basically did everything all weekend because all I could do was run. My coach Garry Wells of untapped runners. I asked for complete all five, and uninjured and the program did just that. And my five30kittens (and herder) training partners, Sonja, Peter, Linda and Karena. You had my back the whole way. Best ever.
Find out more about Kath here
- Ann-Marie Johansen
- Tags: Warwick Pentath