Last Saturday we saw the 4th running of the Rollercoaster run settled in the hills of the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria.
It is a combination of three challenging courses from 10km, 21.5km and my event the 43km Rollercoaster marathon.
We joined hundreds of competitors on the start line and took off on an early trail run in the hills which was sure to challenge even the strongest of runners.
The Rollercoaster Run as the names suggest is a race of up and downs, twists and turns, some stomach turning moments and in the end, a truly rewarding experience.
And as recognition of the founder of this event Rohan has been allocated the number 1 bib for life.
It is a challenging course that combines steep descents, meandering trails and steep ascents.
The trail is dusty, uneven and sometimes slippy underfoot which adds to technical nature of the course.
It allows you to practice your fast descents as well as you power hiking skills. Not many would have reached “mountain goat” status and run the full course start to finis
One of the great things about this event, it brings together a huge variety of competitors.
The winner of the 43km Matthew Murphy came in at an impressive new course record time of 3 hours 46mins and the first women across the line Kylee Woods at 4hours 35mins.
The 21km was taken out by Ben Derrick in 1 hour 47 min in the men’s and Cheryl Martin in 2 hours for the women.
This year saw the first running of the 10km course and Chris Adams took the chocolates at 53 mins and Lorraine Aitken at 57 min, first male/female respectively.
They must have been going at some pace to achieve these fantastic results in such a challenging course.
While some are there challenging themselves for the first time on a trail event.
It is an eye opener for anyone that has not run here before.
The hills are significant but the support you receive along the way is fantastic.
You don’t have to run far to hear the shouting and cheering of the volunteers and fellow runners pushing you on.
Due to it being a looped event you are often passing runners who provide a high five or encouraging word to keep you going.
Imagine being passed by this man (David Hughes) who was competing in the double loop 43km while raising money for the Oxfam Australia charity.
Some of the climbs, especially the infamous Dodds tracks are relentless and challenging, to say the least.
But the sense of achievement when you get to the top outweighs the effort taken to achieve it.
And that to me is one of the great gifts of Trail running.
It allows you to challenge yourself and proves time after time that with concentrated effort and a willingness to keep moving forward you can overcome any obstacle.
It may just take a while.
But with beautiful scenery like this and a wonderful atmosphere, it is hard not to have a smile on your face at some point, even when the legs are screaming out to stop.
No matter the ups and downs of the race.
Or when the field spreads out, as it did on the second loop, and you have only your thoughts to keep you going.
It is all smiles at the end when you cross that finish line.
For me, the Rollercoaster runs epitomise all that is good in the sport.
It challenges you, places you in diverse landscape and surrounds you with like-minded people in a friendly atmosphere.
As I sit and reflect on another Rollercoaster Run, I am happy in the knowledge that our sport, our passion is growing and with it the community around it is vibrant and most of all healthy.
For all information on this great event.
Go to their website: rollercoasterrun.com
Until next time.