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June 1, 2017

I am typing this blog entry in the international terminal of Perth Airport. Never been so scared and excited in equal amounts in my life. Yes I’m a frequent flyer on the verge of attaining platinum status on the Virgin network, yes I’ve flown coast to coast and over big bodies of water in the dark before. But in an hour or so I’m going to be doing something I’ve never done, leave Australia to take on the challenge that 18000 others are taking on. I’d love to be involved in a conversation with 5 other like minded individuals that I can see are on the same flight, so even though I don’t want to intrude at least I won’t be alone when I get to Johannesburg.

All that aside, it’s time to reveal publicly the game plan for this weekend in terms of race day itself. Yes there are all the tours on the Friday so I can see first hand the course. Sure heading straight to the expo may seem strange to some but I know trying to check in at 10AM or so any morning is pointless (just can’t be done). Saturday is a lay day to end all lay days, not doing too much and getting to sleep ultra early the order of the day. What happens afterwards is in the lap of the gods prior to the Tuesday afternoon departure, although I suppose keeping you posted on what happens should be a priority (I’ve said that a few times before).

Knowing there’s at least one other runner (coming from Heathrow) staying in the same motel is an advantage, at least there may be some sort of arrangement made if not with the motel, with others. Hope to get to the start area between 3:30 and 4:00 AM, just to give myself time to get the gear (or the Tog Bag as it’s called) where it’s supposed to go, and get a decent warm-up in which given the weather forecast shouldn’t be a hassle that Canberra was (or for that matter what Melbourne was on Wednesday). What I have to also make sure of is to have a loo break well before standing in the start zone (PEN G) because once I’m in there’s no chance of getting out.

When the race commences what I’ll need to guard against is panic if others pass me. It’s going to be a long day of up to 12 hours on the road, so burning energy in the first hour can only cost me in the end. It will be the usual hydration strategy of waiting until a station around the 8km marker then taking every second station prior to about 30km. After that it will be every station for at least a drink of something, although there is no strategy of what I’m taking whether it be water (likely for Station 1), sports drink or coke (which may come a little later, importantly I’ve trained with it though so it shouldn’t be a hassle). In terms of food if bananas are available I’ll take them gladly, anything else I’m not as confident of taking on board. Having struggled to consume food during the lead in events and training the mind will need to be trained to eat.

The hills generally sort men from the boys, women from the girls, wheat from the chaff and any other combination that you can think of. I have a trio of plans that I may try at some stage that I hope can work out, for a singular plan will obviously come unstuck.

PLAN A: Jog for a minute, then walk for a minute. This is a strategy I used with some success on the early part of the climb up Mt.Wellington in the Point to Pinnacle race in 2014. It may be handier to use this on the less steeper parts.

PLAN B: Refer to the landmarks. Anything will do such as a power pole, a road sign, a drinks station or anything else that may stand out. How often I’ll be able to use this plan will be determined on Friday, I may even have to buy a little notebook much like a golf caddie to work out when and where things are that may help.

PLAN C: Find a group and go with their pace. Usually this is the default for marathons where I’m looking for a time (Gold Coast if fit will be a perfect example in July). There shouldn’t be a problem with finding a group, particularly if about half the field finish in the last hour like I’m anticipating/hoping for.

PLAN D: If all else fails 0r I finish the last climb at Polly Shortts well before the cutoff, BALLS OUT and pray for a miracle.


Hopefully this will give an indication as to what I’m looking to achieve on the weekend. I’m starting to look forward to it, as long as I get across the Indian Ocean in one piece. Now to stay awake on the plane for a couple of hours to try to have some sort of acclimatisation plan as the 5AM landing time over there is closer to a 1PM time on the East Coast of Australia. Hopefully I’ll touch base when I get to Durban!

One Comment
  1. Ridgo permalink

    Great read Mick!

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