Manly Dam Trail RunBRS Australia ChapterBy Spiderweb62 Right, where do I start… This was an interesting experience for me, at different levels, and even though it was my second trail, I learned so much more than the Port Stephens run, which was great, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely enjoyed that run, but I think I had the luck of the beginner, finishing in a great time, and not having any issues. So I came home, confident of my trail running skills, where really, I should have been a bit more humble, I did not come to Manly with enough respect for trail running. So, back to Manly ! J…We met with Kali, Murls and George at the start, which was delayed by half an hour, so we would not have to run in the dark (well more like dawn darkness). About 500 people gathered along the dam for the race start We had a bit of a giggle about why they would make us start in waves, with so few people, but there was a good reason! The first 2-3km were all going uphill a very narrow trail, lots of rocks and tree roots, very difficult to overtake everyone, but I felt good and was happy to follow slowly. After that section came the first downhill (well, if we can call it that). But at some point we needed to cross a massive flat stone, which was still a bit wet from the morning dew (and the rain the night before). And whoops! I slipped a couple of meters and fell on my bum. I did not realize it straight away, but I also hurt my lower thigh (just above my kneecap), I have a nice bruise today! After that we continued uphill with much of the same terrain before arriving to the first station, just after going under a water pipe. Funny, during the brief, they told us ‘you can go either under or over the pipe’, I was imagining a pipe with a size of max 1m diameter, but this thing was massive, and I cannot see who would want to go over that !! The next section (Which was supposed to be only a few hundred meters along that pipe, then back under it, and on the trail. It was on a rocky road (quite sharp and about the size of a golf ball, but some sections were better than others, so I had some respite). Anyway, I decided to stick with another runner, she was having a good pace for me, we were alone, just another runner about a hundred meters in front of us… We talked a bit, and we continued on that horrible road (all uphill) and we realized we missed the marker when we joined a nice road, so we turned back and that’s when my nightmare started. Downhill on the same rocky road, trying to stay behind her, so as to not miss the marker again…anyway, the result is that we did an extra 1.3km on that stretch and that was a killer!!! Back on the trail was heaven for me, but that was short lived….During the downhill section that followed, I started getting really tired, and made some rookie mistake, like drinking while running on technically difficult sections, and the inevitable happened…I hit my big toe on a very sharp rock, and got a very nasty cut. That did not stop me, but it slowed me down, as I was getting too cautious now (after being reckless!) The last few km’s were torture, even though it was a really nice setting, the area is wonderful, and I’ll probably come back for training To finish off the race, we had to cross a metal bridge. While running on it was not that painful, you just could not run fast (metal grid plates) , and the 200m seemed like an eternity! Crossing the line I was cheered by George, murls and Kali, finishing the 10km in about 90’, but happy to finish, and a few lessons learnt: · Stop to drink, you cannot drink while running on a trail (unless you are very experienced, or know the trail very well) · Slow down when downhill, and getting tired (sounds obvious, but I did not seem to have learnt that lesson) · You cannot just stick behind someone and follow blindly. Just keep your eyes open, and check for the markers! So, overall, despite the time, and pain, it was very positive, and even though my feet are killing me today, I will want to do more of that, as it is a really fun way of running, you just need to get more prepared. A real eye opener for me!