It really was everything I expected, and so much more! My coach and I had discussed the idea of a multi stage event to help prepare my body to be able to cope with the demands of the World Marathon Challenge. I was scrolling through a running calendar and came across Run Larapinta, and I thought that sounds interesting! Completing a multi-stage event has it challenges, add to that the travel to the Northern Territory, the remote area of the run locations and the fact I was going to be running through a desert - that all creates a whole new level of obstacles. I had an idea of what I was going to encounter, and I was up for the challenge. I could feel my comfort zone sliding away as I clicked the entry button!
I asked a friend to join me as a support crew, and we were off. I flew in a day early to get set up and adjust to the heat. On day one, after the mandatory gear check I begun the journey. Over the next few days I experienced some of the most challenging, most adventurous and most delightful running moments I have ever had. The terrain was tough, like really tough. Lots of rocks, uneven surfaces, more rocks, lots of inclines and more rocks. This really slowed me down so it took so much longer for me to complete each stage then I originally thought. Long hours on my feet really took its toll, both mentally and physically. And the mountains, they were big and with so much heat and no shade they really did feel insurmountable at times. Running through multiple valleys and over many mountains in one day created a lot of emotion, sometimes you never knew how long it would take to get out of the valley and then you felt ecstatic when your reached the next peak. Repeat that a few times and it felt like a bit of a roller coaster!
A few statistics for you to better understand the experience;
Day one - 19.5 kms, 220m of elevation gain - 2.2 hours to complete (partially in the dark as the sun set over Alice Springs)
Day two - 41.5 kms, 1320m of elevation gain - 9.5 hours to complete (and 35 degrees, definitely one of my toughest days!)
Day three - 32 kms, 885m of elevation gain - 7.2 hours to complete
Day four - 45 kms, 1400m of elevation gain - 8 hours to complete
TOTAL - 138 KMS. 3,825M of elevation gain. 27 hours of running.
Run Larapinta was definitely my hardest and best running experience to date. An incredible adventure that was both grueling and spectacular. It really was something else. Upon reflection in the few days afterwards, as my body began to recover I realised that I left part of myself out there on those trails, and I also found a new part of myself that I didn't know existed. It was wildly empowering, and something that I want to continue to pursue, that ever evolving journey of growth. To Larapinta 2019 - I came and a conquered!
Massive kudos to - the race organisers, volunteers, my coach, my support crew, the Bridge Builders Team and you, for sharing the journey and fueling my purpose.