The dust has settled on the hard dry trails,
Many of us are counting our damaged toe nails,
The wind has cooled down the warm autumn air,
Each one of the 1000’s of runners never want to see another stair,
But they will all return,
As their desires continue to burn,
Ultra-Trail Australia is a great event,
But it is a shame how quickly the weekend went,
We have run the race, showed our game face,
And everyone has walked away with a wonderful Blue Mountains grace.
Dave King is truly a great mountains man, he shares his proud culture, passion and love for country with each runner, always telling a story or two along the way. This is why he gets along with Tom Landon Smith so well, they love a story and love the chance to tell their stories. And for many a runner, both of these men are a part of their UTA story in some way or another. Another reason why UTA is such a great event, it brings a unique story for every single runner that takes the start line.
When Gina and Amanda crossed the line together late on Friday afternoon after sharing 22km of trails, tests and challenges with each other I could not be more proud. They placed their trust in me during the lead up to their UTA journey and knowing that they had achieved what they set out to do is humbling as a coach. I get as much from seeing them complete the 22 as I did from watching another client, James, gritting his teeth and pushing on into the twilight after 70km of running already done. Why I coach is simple, to give back for what I was given, to help where needed and to share the journey with those who join me on the ride.
The boys ran across the line smiling and puffing after their 3rd successive 1km dash around Scenic World. Charley and Beau arrived on Saturday and well they had 2 things on their minds, racing the Kid’s race and playing with our good friend Scott’s daughter Chloe. Scott, in his third attempt at UTA, successfully navigated the 100km course in tick over 14hrs, smashing a huge PB and inspiring me to run the 100 again (well maybe anyway), all the way he was followed by Chloe, his wife and his mother. This optimises the UTA journey, it takes families, friends and training buddies to finish, these people offer support, motivation and comfort for the tired runner. Without them, UTA would not be such an important part our community. And for the record, both the boys and Chloe enjoyed quite a good playtime while we shared a beer after Scotty finished back at Scenic World.
My mates were there too, both racing and supporting. Dave Byrne is “Mr. Everywhere” at UTA, from the cocktail party to the finishing shute, Dave always offers an honest and supportive chat when I see him. Blair Hurst tackled the 50 and while he didn’t quite break a smile I know he deep down inside enjoyed the weekend with his family and a nice quick break from the tools. It is being able to share moments with people like this that add to the experience of a UTA trip, you always have someone to chat with, a story to hear and a memory to remember.
The way I look at UTA has continued to evolve over time;
I enjoy expo, but always spend way too much time there;
I love chatting to other runners, yet seem to let time get away from me when I should be resting;
I try not to overdo things, but social media would say otherwise;
I try to relax, but I sure am hyped up too!
With another year behind me I cannot wait until 2019 – As a competitor to see if I can improve and strive for more – As a husband to see if I can continue to support Kellie in her running goals – As a Dad to see if I can continue to inspire and make my boys proud – As a coach to share my knowledge, experience and skills with runners approaching UTA in their own unique way – As a spectator to encourage those who are doing what they dare dream of.
|Future UTA stars Charley and Beau|
|Dave Byrne, Michael Milton and I|
Kurt Matthews Photography
Ultra-Trail Australia Facebook
Blue Mountains Gazette