Mt Glorious 1/2 Marathon

Shona Stephenson Running Into First Place at the Mt Glorious 1/2 Marathon
Shona Stephenson Running Into First Place at the Mt Glorious 1/2 Marathon

Mount Glorious 1/2 Marathon 2017


I live up the mountains in the Brisbane Hinterland just 10 or so Ks from Mount Glorious so it seems crazy not to run this iconic climbing local Mount Glorious 1/2 Marathon 2017. It was a great opportunity to shake out the cobwebs from the Christmas Summer Break and to really see how my pre-season training had made a difference to my racing ability.


In the past I had raced Tarawera Ultra in NZ instead of running The Mount Glorious 1/2 Marathon. Mount Glorious 1/2 Marathon does not suit my strengths at all. It has 1200m of climbing and only 650m descending. I’m a descender not a climber when the net gain is more than the net loss I am put at a disadvantage, my legs just love doing split leaps down mountains rather than a grind of a climb up. Climbing is always a focus in my training, it is my weakness and always the key area of my racing that I can improve on.


I really made the most of the hot conditions post Blackall 100 in Queensland. I love to train in the heat. It is where I feel comfortable. I purposely trained on hot 35 degree days having my own adventures just like when I started trail running. I went out with a map in my hands and got lost, stumbled, stacked, injured myself, almost lost my knee cap and eye training for long hard days in the Connonale National Park on the extremely untamed Great Walks 57km route. I also made sure I was running out the back from my house on my favourite Township Break and of course on the course from Red Cedar up to Northbrook Mountain and return. I also made an effort to get on my bike before the event. I now have a rule that if my car is in for a service (I use my car as a mobile PT/Coach a fair bit) I ride Mount Nebo Rd to my house. I have a pit stop then ride back down again. I have considerably noticed the strength develop in my legs and my power to weight ratio increase. I kept up my Bikram Yoga and I also added in Inferno Pilates too to keep the intensity high whilst training without so much stress on my body.


I’m so lucky that my job allows me to get extra ks on my legs while I work. My Marathon Running group was going strong over summer and I was banking easy flat ks for my leg speed with my running coaching clients. Most days I was averaging 35000 plus steps a day. I don’t count ks, I’ve never found it beneficial to me. I go for key, quality runs over the week and whatever else I do is a bonus.


I was single for the first time in almost 18 years and the amount of freedom I felt was amazing. I’d pushed through a fair amount of fear of dating and just got out there and started to really enjoy myself again. I was in control of my own life and the liberation I felt was outstanding. I could just run, train and race for myself and it felt so good.


I lined up on the start line feeling amazing. Light on my feet and ready to race. I knew I had to be smart from the start line if I had a chance of pulling this win off.


The count down went off and we were off and running. I decided that I had to run from the start all the way. It was how my legs are set up, it was my race plan. I find it less impact on my body to run than to walk up the steep climbs. Off we all went up the fire trail from the White Cedar Picnic Ground, I went out just chilling and seeing who else had decided to come to race. A few girls looked incredibly strong from the start. They raced ahead of me. I was blown away with how strong triathlete Emily Davis and Irish born, Kelly-Anne Speight were. Shit! Maybe all the sprinters are here today. It’s a 1/2 Marathon Shona, maybe you are too old and slow to win it today. Just run your own race and let them go and see what happens.


My watch battery went flat on the start line! I could not tell how fast I was running. I just had to run by feel and trust my body and the training I’d completed over the Christmas Break.


On the climb up to Northbrook Mountain, Emily was gone, never to me see again and I could just keep Kelly-Anne in my sights. I noticed she had to walk where I could run. I just kept my legs turning over, cadence high and slowly reeled her in. By the time I hit the first turn off I’d just managed to pass her. Cool, I’ve passed Kelly-Anne, now try and catch Emily. There is a descent, get her on this section down to the cabbage creek.


I pushed and pushed, flying along, split leaping down the descent with Emily nowhere in sight. Far out! She can descend as well as climb and I was equally impressed with Kelly-Anne too! She was not letting me out of her sight! I could here her chasing me down England Creek Track. With Kelly-Anne pushing me from behind and the thought of Emily ahead I hit the bottom creek and let my flat marathon training legs go. I pushed hard for 800m and lost Kelly-Anne. I turned left and started to head up the 9km climb on Joiners Rd. I caught a few of my friends Chris and Andrew, had a quick catch up chat and I marvelled at the strength of Emily who was ahead of me and nowhere to be seen. I’d basically decided to be content with being beaten by such an amazing athlete and decided to have a chat to these two trail buddies.


I cruised on up the climb, running all the way while Chris and Andrew ran and walked next to me, I looked to the left ad enjoyed the view back to Northbrook Mountain and just relished in the freedom I was feeling out racing on my own and not having to worry about a partner who was racing too. We spotted a pack of runners ahead of us and Chris took off. I did my best to stay with him but Chis is always stronger than me on the climbs.


Lee soon came up next to me, punching out a great pace. I decided that he had the best outfit on of all the trail runners for the day. We ran along encouraging each other for about 5ks, with Lee towards the top of the climb edging ahead of me by about 100m.  Slowly the trail foliage turned from Eucalypts to lush green palms of the Mount Glorious Rainforest, I could hear motorcycle traffic from the road. I new I was almost at the top of Mount Glorious, the hard part was almost over.


I looked up ahead, feeling tired, then suddenly very awake. I couldn’t believe my eyes. 500m ahead of me I spotted a purple outfit and a ponytail. Is that Emily? I picked up my pace. All of a sudden I was racing again. My legs took over like they had the will and the power all of their own and they (my legs)  started sprinting. I bounded up behind Lee, using him as a visual held between myself and Emily. I realised she was walking and cramping badly. I overtook Lee and just at the cameraman I over took Emily, asking her if she was okay and needed anything from me. She said she was fine, cramping badly.


I pushed onwards, turned left onto the stunning, fern lined single trail and power walked up the stairs. I then went to run after this walking and my calf began to spasm. SHIT! Not now, not so close to the finish line. I cracked a Hammer Endurolyte Cap into my mouth, hoping that the salt would take away the cramping for the next 800m until I crossed the finish line. I’d been without water for 5 ks now. I ran along, managing my calf, making sure I didn’t tear it, hoping that I’d done enough to stay ahead of Emily and Kelly-Anne. I pushed in around the last few turns, crossed the finish line and fell to my knees with my calves going crazy. FARK that hurt! Man it felt so good! What a way t spend a Sunday Morning.


I had no idea what time I’d raced it in or even if it was a good time as I am always a bit clueless about results , in the end what ever your body is capable of doing on the day is enough.  I checked the results and I race the 21.1km with 1600m vert gain and 650 loss in 2:17:24. I was 6th fastest time with only 4 women faster than me over the history of the event including the great Hubertein Wichers who has represented Australia for Mountain Running events. I was so pleased with myself as it really isn’t my distance or my kind of course.

The Mount Glorious Podium  Marathon Women's 2nd Emily, 1st Shona and 3rd Kelly-Anne
The Mount Glorious Podium
Marathon Women’s 2nd Emily, 1st Shona and 3rd Kelly-Anne


Inov8 Race Kit

Inov8 Trail Talon 250

Inov8 Race Ultra Elite Vest

Inov8 Aus Racing Singlet

Hammer Visor



Hammer Nutrition

Water 500ml every hour, 500ml more if I am suffering from asthma

2 Hammer gels every hour watered down 50% I like the Banana Gel the Most

Hammer Enduroyltes 1 cap every 30 minutes

Hammer Race Caps Supremes



I was also taking Tissue Rejuvenator, eating Vegan Recovery Bars post training sessions.




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