Event: Roller Coaster Run
Date: Saturday the 24th February 2018
Location: Mt Dandenong, Vic
Organised by: Mountain Sports
Established in 2012 by Rohan Day from Big Long Run, and now managed by Mountain Sports – The Roller Coaster Run has grown to a sellout crowd in 2015 and beyond. The event starts and finishes at the picturesque SkyHigh Mount Dandenong and runners are treated to a journey through the Dandenong Ranges National Park. The race course is a 21.5km loop and runners taking up the 43km challenge do a second reverse loop before once again finishing at SkyHigh Mount Dandenong. In 2017, Mountain Sports added a 10k option which has been extremely popular.
The event combines a social atmosphere, a great challenge, some amazing trails and fantastic scenery with the generosity and inclusion of the trail running community at large.
Roller Coaster Run 2018
Although initially registered for the marathon, I dropped this back to the half due to the achillies injury as the climbs were expected to test my “don’t run on the toes” protection mechanism. Based on the terrain I chose to run in the Saucony Peregrine 7 rather than the Grid Cohesions as today was a day for grip. Based on last year’s disaster I also went with the Hammer Perpetuem liquid feed rather than solids (I did sneak some watermelon at Doongalla).
Discretion is the better part of valor, so I started in the second wave so that I wasn’t too tempted for an over paced descent as we started the Roller Coaster ride down to Doongalla. The objective was to stay between 5 to 6 minute kilometers in this section, and the splits show I managed to stay about that pace. I was at the pointy end of wave 2, and soon we were catching starters from wave 1. That’s catching a ten minute gap in a 5km descent.
All too soon we are into the Doongalla Aid Station – Hello you crazy clowns (time for a quick selfie with Tracy, Kira-lee and Tasha). And then we are onto the bottom loop and the infamous Dodds Track “has a short and sharp climb”. I get rid of my running cap as the humidity means it is keeping too much heat in, and there is more cooling with it off.
I decided to test my new climbing style and not use poles on Dodds, it was impossible to keep the foot flat so there was some toe work. A bit of a power hike rather than a run, and I’m over the top and into some flowing down hill sections. I’m soon through the 10km mark and still feeling good. I’m now catching and passing a few more wave 1 starters who have not enjoyed the climb.
I catch up with Patricia who is not enjoying the humidity, fall in beside her and have a chat. We stay together through Doongalla (nice watermelon). I get the poles out just before 15km as we start to climb. We progress pretty well power walking climbs and running the descents and flats. I’m still feeling great, although I am drinking more than I usually would on a half.
About 17km we can see Alison and Jacqui up in front of us (they also started in the first wave), at about 18km we catch up with them and Chris. Chris is not feeling well and is nauseous and is having dizzy spells. Patricia goes ahead with Alison and Jacqui, and I will look after Chris through to the finish. First up a few salt tablets and 200ml of fluids. Keep an eye of the pulse rate, and level of ‘white face’ occurring. We’re good and take it a bit easier from here. A bit more of a rest just after 20km, half a Clif block and we motor on up to SkyHigh. Once through the finish and a Coke later, Chris is much better.
To quote Mel, “You go back out for the last man. It is not done for glory. It is just supporting your teammates.”
Not a great run based on the timing 2:53:36 (2018) vs 2:32:02 (2017), but this year finished without any issues and I protected my achillies. Even better, I was able to back it up with another half on the following day. Much better than last year.
🗺️ Relive: https://www.relive.cc/view/1422637465