Ross was the marathon that had to be done. The other states were completed and it was a foregone conclusion that Ross had to be run or my quest was over. And thus Craig and I went to this tiny historic town in the middle of Tasmania for Fathers Day 4 Sept 2016.
I had become lax in my preparation. I checked details for the event Friday afternoon as I was packing. The website and Facebook didn’t give much detail so I went to Strava. My stomach dropped – what was this? Four laps? 5.5km out and back x 4? I messaged the organisers to confirm – yes, four laps. Remembering Punta Arenas I rethought my sinking feeling and targeted being able to see Craig each 10km.
We flew Newcastle to Melbourne; Melbourne to Launceston; and hired a car to drive to Ross. It was lovely to finally see Bass Strait from the air, and we landed in rain with a plan to drive to Cataract Gorge.
The gorge was a lot of fun – we rode the longest chairlift in the world and back across a bridge over the gorge before continuing the drive around Launceston and then onto Ross.
Spring had come on time and there was a multitude of lambs gambolling in the fields en route.
We had a short break in the little town of Campbell Town where we startled an urban wombat who scurried around the street like a well muscled dog!
That night we went to the pasta dinner and listened to an entertaining talk by Josh Harris, an upcoming distance runner seeking to qualify for the marathon in the 2020 Olympics.
Marathon day dawned with near freezing conditions. We wandered the two blocks to the start and all too soon we were off! I ran the first 7km with a lovely lady who had run quite a few marathons in the past 12 months. My friend Richard whom I’d initially met in Uluru and again in Adelaide, and who had also done Canberra, Gold Coast and Perth, was also there with his wife Rachael.
One striking feature of the event was the headwind after the turn at 5.5km. I’m not sure I’ve ever run in anything quite so strong. Punta Arenas was strong, but this was savage. Sheep were sheltering behind sheds. Trees were bent over. Supporters were in Arctic gear and by the fourth lap had abandoned their positions! My pace slowed to a walk for some of the return, and I freely admit to walking the entire return to town on the final lap!
It wasn’t my best race. The toe degloving from Uluru and again in Adelaide continued to plague me, and the alteration in gait to compensate led to issues with my knee. I couldn’t run more than a few paces without my knee giving out – something Craig later suggested could be a tendonopathy – the tendon gets over stressed or tired and stops working! Once again I was very fortunate to also have phone support from my friend Hayley, and messages from my daughters and friends. ❤
One charming feature of the event was the bell placed at the top of the only (but steep) hill on the course!
Craig was by now right into Pokemon Go and mapped out his own course incorporating the small number of Pokestops and bakeries in the township, progressing around from one to the next as the hours passed. He was thankful for his own achievements of that morning.
It was marvellous to come over the line at the finish and know I’d achieved the goal. The motel people let me shower in the caravan park amenities and we then drove back to Launceston and did the hop to Melbourne. I was anxious about the walk from T1 to T4 in Melbourne as it’s about 1km, but with a glass of champagne and some Panadol I managed!
I emailed the Marathon Maniacs people in the next days and they increased my achievement level to Ruthenium – 13 marathons in 13 different states and/or countries in 365 days! Honestly, who thinks of these things? ?
Ross Marathon was number 19.