- 6 miles/10K
- Trail Race
This was my first trail race and I couldn't have picked a better one! While this was first advertised as a 10K (the race also has 22K/35K options), the organisers let everyone know closer to the day that it was going to change to an 11K run, but on the day I clocked 12K exactly.
The race itself is held at Raffertys Resort at Cam's Wharf, about halfway between the Central Coast and Newcastle on the NSW Coast.
Expo: There was a small village atmosphere on the lakefront of Raffertys Resort, with a couple of food stalls, thermatech (sponsor) and registration. It was easy to pick up my bib prior to the race. There was a line of portaloos near the village.
Parking: The area is inside a holiday resort, so parking is limited. I ended up seeing all the cars parked in the nearby roads and found a spot in a public park carpark. Ended up walking about 1km to the start line, I had 10mins spare to the pre-race briefing!
Course: I wasn't too sure about the trail course prior to running, a look the night before showed a massive hill quite early on. The beginning of the course is a mix of trail and pedestrian path, then complete trail followed by trail/road at the end. I made sure that I had kept the energy levels at a right level while everyone left the start area like a bull out of the gate knowing that there were hills coming up. Overall the trails were quite enjoyable, nothing too hard (with the exception of the makeshift ladder and ropes to pull yourself up near the aid station) and nothing that a beginner couldn't handle! The only negative was a rude dirtbike riders who sprayed a fellow runner with debris as she said something to him, we reported it to the aid station and then I reported it to the solutions tent at the finish. It was nothing to do with the organisers of the race, but really brings it back how it's just yourself and your surroundings out there. Luckily the runner was ok, a bit shaken but she did finish.
The course was well marked with pink tape and arrows (crosses where you weren't meant to go). Volunteers were placed at areas such as roads and where the other courses continued and the 11KM course headed back. A few people seemed to get off track, but they came back easy. I was concerned that I'd get lost but didn't feel at any time that I was not on the right course.
Aid stations: Ok, so I've heard all about the aid stations at trail races and I may have been too conservative in taking some goodies when I first passed through - since I started to feel like I needed sugar a little up the road. I had my Orange Mud pack so was able to top up my drink bottles (no cups), there was also Tailwind available as well as a selection of fruit, lollies and potato chips. I tell you, those chips tasted amazing when I came through the second time.
Swag: Nothing at the beginning, but you ended up with a nice medal and a finisher's bag (including a bottle of local beer!) with a whole bunch of goodies which was nice.
I would definitely do this race again, it was completely enjoyable and I didn't feel that it was a stretch of my trail running experience. I'd be interested to hear about the extra km, but when you think about it - I paid for 10 and ended up with 12!