Oxfam Trail Walker 2012 No Roads Expeditions Andrew Lee

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 St Ives to Davidson Reserve

by Shona Stephenson on September 4, 2012

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012

We ran into St Ives Showground Check Point 4 hot and bothered. I was feeling relaxed knowing that that hard effort we put in on the climb has paid off. I spotted my hubby Mikey taking photos and I waved to my mates Michael, Gordi and Tom at the checkpoint. As a team we quickly checked in and out and I ran over to Beth who had my gear organized for me. I quickly swopped over my Hammer Gels and my Hammer Fizz water bottles over and I was ready to run. Mikey informed me that the Gu Nathan Team was only 2 minutes behind us at the 50km mark. I started to get antsy.

Andy was injured. He was so strong not to complain once about his knee. He needed some pain relief. I found him some voltaren gel and nureofen was given to him with some food. I started to get edgy knowing that we were losing time at the check point. I had no idea how far behind the Gu Nathan team was and I wanted to get moving. I started walking out of the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney check point.

Paul soon followed me. We started to chat.

“Man we have made some time on the Gu Nathan Team. How much do you think?” He asked.

“About 10 minutes I think. All that hard work  on the climb did not go to waste. Hard work and effort never does. It’s paying off. We are going to run down this hill feeling fresh and they are going to be climbing and hurting”. I said pretty happy so what with what we’ve been able to achieve.

I posed for a few pictures with Paul for Mikey and when Andy and Jono caught up we started to run down the hill. I love this section of the course. It just gets easier now. We regrouped and ran down the hill together. We spotted the Gu Nathan team climbing up and they’d looked like one of their team members was dropping off the back and really struggling. We greeted them and wished them good luck and cheered them on. But it looked like their team was falling apart.

We soon ran past the Orange Whips. They too had lost one of their team mates. This made us feel really safe knowing that they were out of the overall running. You must finish as a complete team of four to get an official placing. We soon past the Oasis Property team. They still had their 4 team members but one of them looked injured.

We ran along the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 trail and turned left and continued on for about 30 seconds and Jono realized that we were heading in the wrong direction. We quickly turned around and realized our mistake.

“We only lost 30 seconds”. Assured the Andy the legend.

With this we all relaxed and rolled down the remainder of the hill. I was loving it. I pushed on ahead of the boys knowing a climb was coming. Jono soon came up next to me and asked how I was going.

“I’m just starting to feel tired, but the worse is over. We will drop down to the cooler side of the ridge and we will all feel heaps better soon”. I encouraged.

I ate another Gel and pushed on up the hill. We power walked as a team to the top of the street and waited for the pedestrian lights to change at Mona Vale Road. I was pumped. I started to get excited. There was no one behind us to be seen and we were about to gain more time by crossing over this main road. The lights changed and we were cleared to cross. We all thanked the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 volunteers and I was off and running again down a massive descent. I had a ball. I was also busting to pee, so I needed to get some time between me and the boys so I can pee discretely. I found a bush and I was able to conceal myself before they caught up to me. Every time I did this ritual was making the boys laugh.

They kicked on. Andy was starting to find his legs. The track was really run-able and I was having trouble keeping up with him and Jono. I started to fall off the back. I had to dig deep to stay with them refusing to make them slow down for me. Before long I had the assistance of another descent and I was soon flying past them again.

“Shona don’t run off too far through here. I know you know the way but the others don’t and we don’t want them to get lost”. Jono wisely warned me.

“Cool”. Was all I could reply. My asthma was starting to play up again as the temperature dropped and I was probably due for more ventolin. I had some and relaxed for a few minutes and waited for it to work. We ran on and I had to stop. I was unsure of the way and I waited for Jono to confirm it for our group. We moved on together as a group and I started to get excited knowing the check point was getting closer and I was just ecstatic that I was running through this section in day light unlike the two year previous.

We crossed the French’s Creek and I started to get really pumped.

“Okay guys we have another long in and out in to the check point almost 4kms in total. We just need to make it to the top of the climb and we are on the home stretch.” I encouraged.

The boys got away on me again. Jono and Paul leading and Andy and I bringing up the back. We ran out onto the street and Andy and I ran along side each other. I was so stoked that I’d made it onto the team with Andy. He is a running legend and I have at most respect for his ability. He is a champion and I was having to try my hardest to keep up with him, even when he was injured.

We turned the corner and started the climb. I spotted the local kids who volunteer every year and I waved and cheered and smiled thinking how cool it was to be in the lead of the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012. I rolled down the hill, jumped down the stairs and ran into the check point. 73km in 8 hours and 41 minutes and it was 3:41pm. We checked in and out and we ran to our support crew.

Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 No Roads Expeditions Shona Stephenson

“You guys are doing so well. You are still on record pace and you’ve gained 15 minutes on the Gu Nathan Team”. Garry informed us.

I had some serotide for my asthma that was returning hoping that the long lasting ventolin would get me to the end of the race (ventolin only last for two hours, not much help when you are racing for twelve). I swopped over my Gels and electrolytes. I was so happy. We were doing what we set out to do and it felt bloody amazing. We posed for a photo for the Sponsors No Roads Expeditions and Hammer Sports Nutrition and we started to get out of the check point.

I began to walk out of the check point, Paul soon followed and when I got to the top of the stairs Jono and Andy were up and running. Cool we were moving. I was loving it.

We rolled down the streets and ran back into the Garigal National Park. I released the breaks and hooned down the descent knowing that the Gu Nathan or the Orange Whips would be on our tails.  I just wanted to make it through the “Out and Back” before the other teams could see how far ahead we were.

At French’s Creek we re-grouped and gave a cheer as we had ran the whole “Out and Back” of the Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 checkpoint with out seeing any of the other teams. Yes. That will gain us about 40 minutes I thought. With this positive thought in my head I let Paul lead but I could tell he was starting to hurt. He thought he was losing toe nails. Paul started to hobble and tighten up in his hamstrings. Paul and I kicked on but soon had to stop and wait for Jono and Andy. I think Andy’s guts were giving him grief from using the nureofen.

As soon as Andy and Jono caught up. I offered them a my burping tablet.

“Fruit tingle anyone?”. I offered the boys one of my secret weapons. They make you burp up and lactic acid you have in your stomach. With this the boys were all burping and I was giggling.

Now my guts were needing to be emptied but there was no where I could go. There was a cliff and the harbour on one side of the track and a sand stone wall on the other. There was not where to hide from the boys. I just had to pray that the check point would come to me in time.

We came across a fallen tree and poor Andy got my butt in his face when I backed up and bent down to crawl under the branches. Jono went around the tree and almost ended up falling off a cliff into the harbour and Paul was smart and followed Andy.

We kicked on and I could tell Andy was feeling better. Paul was starting to drop back and I heard Jono spurring him on. Trying to get him to run faster.

The minute the track flattened Andy started to run and run fast. Sh1t. This is the Andy Lee everyone knows so well. He is just showing his strength after 80kms. Far out, how am I going to stay with him. He just took off. Jono soon followed. Even Paul was able to jump ahead of me.

I was starting to feel a bit crap. My guts needed to be relieved. Andy ran out of sight, so did Jono. Paul was 10 meters ahead of me and I did my best to catch him. I checked my watch and we were running 5:20 pace after 80kms. Jesus, where is that check point so I can have a dump!

I ran out of the fire trail, onto the grass and I yelled out to Andy who was taking the wrong route. I was happy that I managed to catch up with Paul and we were soon at the check point. I ran across the wooden bridge and I spotted the Port-a-loos. I gave my back pack to my support crew and headed into the Port-a-loo. Ahhhhhhhh. It was so clean. I would be the first one to christen it for the night and I enjoyed it.

After reducing my body weight by about a kilo I returned to my support crew feeling much fresher. We checked in and out of Oxfam Trailwalker Sydney 2012 Davidson Check Point 83km at 5:02pm. We had been running for 10 hours and 2 minutes.