Event: Hoka One One Trail Running Series : Race 1 : Studley Park
Distance: 5km short / 11km medium / 15km long
Date: Sunday the 5th June 2016
Location: Studley Park
Organised by: Rapid Ascent
The HOKA ONE ONE Trail Running Series is the pre-eminent trail running series in Australia with an incredible race atmosphere that is welcoming of all runners – first time trail fairies through to the running elite. The Series has revolutionised trail running in Australia and continues to lead the way with it being one of the most popular events in Australia.
Race 1 brings trail running as close to the centre of Melbourne as possible while still providing an enriching wilderness experience running beside the Yarra River and its natural bushland setting.
As soon as you commence the trail you’ll be immersed in nature as you follow this remarkably scenic course beside the twists and turns of the mighty Yarra, over scenic foot bridges, through historic eucalypt bushland, past colonies of fruit bats and pockets of parkland you never knew existed. All courses are quite flat and devoid of any lung busting hills, making for an ideal and accessible introduction to trail running. We’re sure you’ll love it!
We woke up to a … what’s this, a positive temperature? Is it really trail season? No frost for the first race in the trail series but there is a nice fog that is muffling the valley, making everything out of focus and soft – unlike my language when I discover both cars have flat tyres (what are the odds?) A quick tyre change for the Rex and we are off to meet with the other Westerfoldians before the start of the long course, which is the first to set off this morning. We didn’t quite make it to the start but we did see the long course come past up at the Golf Course and provided some barracking at that point.
Today’s mantra for me was all about “pacing not racing“, in the short course it was pacing Liam at c.4.30min/k pace then backing straight up in the medium course pacing with Tracy at 6:30-7:00min/k.
This was Liam’s first Trail Run so he was unsure how he was going to tackle it, I think the plan became to tackle it like a parkrun. Based on the pacing we probably started a little too far back at the start line, but after some settling, and some mud running, we had dropped into a good pace varying between 4:30 and 4:15min/k. The only sign of a lack of trail preparation came in the final km as we dropped off the stairs and followed the single trail along the Yarra on to the finish, a little more confidence in foot placement was probably required (Liam: You need to come out for some more single trail). This section was reasonably slippery now, but would be much worse later in the day. A solid finish 21:36 and Liam took third place in his age category for the short course 21m36s (4:19 min/km).
Straight after finishing the short course, I threw on the race vest and was ready or the medium course. After three years at the short course distance this was Tracy’s first medium course at this series, basing the strategy on the trail half marathon earlier this year we were to try for a constant tempo run. The course was wet, muddy and fairly slippery – this is very different from previous years where the course has not really been wet (a bit too wet for the glasses today during the medium course, so they had to be thrown into the race pack). Areas of the course that you wouldn’t class as technical were much easier to run if you used trail technique, an interesting thing about running further back in the pack is you get to see runners tackling sections as if they were at a road race; this leads to falls and injuries.
What did I get wrong? I managed the drink situation pretty well – the half a Nuun in the soft bottle method is working well. What I didn’t get right was feeding at 6km; normally I’d offer half a blok or gel at 6km but due to a combination of terrain and it not being required last weekend, we waited too long this week. Something to watch in the future.
After the feed – a really good run home along the single trail, and finishing in 1h12m53s (6:44 min/km).
A great morning on the trails, and this will be the venue for RACE 5 which is a night race!