Trail running at ‘Run Forrest’
Sukant Suki review of the 2019 Run Forrest Half Marathon.
According to English dictionary, ‘trail’ means a beaten path through the countryside and if the word ‘running’ is added to it, it becomes an adventurous sporting activity which combines running and hiking on steep gradients and unpaved surface. I wasn’t much aware of trail running, until I experienced one. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to experience 100% pure trail running at the Run Forrest race village situated on the banks of the Barwon River and located roughly an hour drive from regional city of Geelong and nearly two hours drive from Melbourne.
I am so grateful to my two new mates Katryna and Simon, who informed me about this adventure and we decided to do the 21km(Half Marathon) challenge. The race kicked off at 10am which gave us plenty of time to drive from Melbourne to the starting point, where we collected our bibs. It was a cold Sunday morning and I realized that the temperature is even lower than expected by seeing a km long queue to take a leak at the five or six temporary portable toilets set up for the event. While myself and Simon decided to relieve ourselves in the bushes as we couldn’t control for long but Kat (Katryna) patiently waited in the queue and finally her turn came very close to the starting time of the race. In fact, the organizers of the race delayed the start for another 10 minutes observing the queue of people waiting to relieve themselves.
We started the trail run following the Barwon River along the famous Red Carpet to Lake Elizabeth at around 10:10am. It was one of the most magnificent experience of my life. I felt like I was inside a video game or a movie like Jumanji surrounded by fern covered single track and fast downhill corners giving us the feeling of a roller coaster ride. We hiked and jogged to the beautiful fern surrounding the majestic Lake Elizabeth and experienced several cambered turns and fast down hills with great sense of energy. The trails reminded me of the roller coaster marathon I did in Dandenong two years ago, although it was much easier compared to it. There were three water stations along the route one at the 5.5km mark, the next at 8km and the final one at the 16km. I was so glad to see some amazing volunteers at these water stations, who were also there to ensure the safety of all the runners. While trail running sounds very adventurous, it could also turn out to be deadly if the weather is not that great. At around half way mark, I saw a giant tree completely uprooted and blocking the trail perhaps due to heavy wind or rain last night. I was grateful the weather was very pleasant, while we were running and a bit sunny, as we progressed throughout the day. We were roughly able to finish the race in under three hours. Among the three of us Simon was the first who finished the 21km challenge in around 2 hours and 25 minutes, followed by me and Kat. Along the way I met some amazing other runners who also ran the Great Ocean Road Marathon with me last month and some of them will also join me for the Surf Coast Century later this year. Alan, another runner I met during this trail informed me that he really liked my blog on running 60km ultra marathon at the Great Ocean Road. I definitely felt honoured and this kept me motivated to keep running and keep writing. While I have completed roughly 20 marathons till now and every marathon is a lesson not just to be fit and healthy but it teaches me how to live a meaningful life.
Often after every run, I do a simple mistake of eating a lot as I generally starve before the run. It works for me but I do not recommend this for other runners, as all of us have different food habits. This time I had decided not to eat too much but have something light just after the race. Luckily a soup festival coincided with the event and was located at the Forrest Football Oval. The ‘Otway Soup Festival’ featured some homemade soups, pickles, homebrew beers and wines, books, art, clothes and a fresh market stall. In fact in the name of soup, there was almost everything available for sale. We enjoyed the lentil soup and some deep golden fried potatoes in the form of spiral on blurred background. It was a great recreational moment after a wonderful run. I hope to come back for this Soup festival once again in the future if not for the marathon.