This weekend was the first race of the newly expanded Adelaide Trail Runners Summer Series – technically it is still Spring, but this weekend we were treated to some lovely weather in Adelaide, so maybe Summer isn’t too far away!
Traditionally the series spans the Summer months, plus March, which is Summer-adjacent, with 4 events making up the series. After the first year of Adelaide Trail Runners taking on the series, an extra race was added, bringing it to a 5-race series and starting in November.
I ran the whole series last summer, for the first time (I’d done bits and pieces in previous years but had never been able to commit to the whole series) and I hadn’t planned to do it again this time around, especially with it starting so early – and only 4 weeks after Heysen! However I recovered very quickly from Heysen so looked at my calendar, put all the dates in and promptly signed up for the series. I was given some grief for entering the short course series again, it was seen by some to be somewhat of a ‘soft option’ but I was comfortable with my decision! Plus, the short course started a full hour after the long course, so why would I get up an hour earlier on a Sunday than I have to?
The first race looked to be the most ‘iffy’ of all of the dates in the series, with a friend’s bridal shower (in other words, day drinking!) the day before. This also ruled me out of attending the launch of the new Copper Trail parkrun, (temporarily) losing my newly-earned Statesman status in the process. (Last weekend at Naracoorte this was being discussed and I mentioned that I couldn’t go to Copper Trail because I had a bridal shower that day. Someone said (with great surprise) “You’re getting married?????”. I thought this was pretty hilarious because a) Nope, just nope!!! and b) As IF I would agree to have a bridal shower on the day of a new parkrun launch!
The way the series works, you have to run 4 out of the 5 events (previously it was 3 out of 4) to be eligible for an age group placing in the overall series. I figured if I was going to miss one it would be this one, and then I’d be all good for the rest of the series. However, I certainly did intend to run this one!
I didn’t do a lot of preparation for this one because it kind of snuck up on me, I tried to get a course map to put on my phone but I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I decided to just rely on my usual navigation skills, dangerous as that may be! I did read the briefing – I knew where to go (it was the same location as the newish South Para Reservoir parkrun) and I knew it was (approximately) 8.2km. That was enough!
On race morning I was putting something in the green bin outside and did that stupid thing that I think we’ve all done at one time or another, where you’re in a hurry and you scrape the back of your heel with the bottom of the screen door. There was blood, so I thought I’d better put a dressing on it otherwise peeling off my sock afterwards might result in tears! I made sure I didn’t put the tape on so tight as to restrict movement.
It was about a 45 minute drive to South Para Reservoir – it seemed a long way to go for what could potentially be a less-than-45-minute run, but then I remembered all my parkrun adventures this year and thought this was entirely reasonable!
The parking was easy – I got there just before the medium course set off at 8:00, as I thought maybe I might have to park a long way away with the long and medium course runners already taking up a lot of the parking spaces. It wasn’t too bad (although I will admit that when it came time to get a post-run coffee, I could not be arsed walking all the way back to my car to get my reusable coffee cup so I went straight to Neil at the Stir coffee van and got my coffee in a disposable cup. *hangs head in shame*)
It was slightly chilly in the morning but I decided to go with just shorts and a T-shirt, and leave the arm warmers in the car, as the sun was out and it looked like it might be a pretty nice running morning. I did wear my gloves for hand protection – they did little to warm up my hands (they were pretty much numb at the start, and started tingling towards the end) but they were my insurance policy against potential falls!
This year we only had one wave start (last season there were 2 waves for each distance – presumably for COVID reasons) and no-one seemed to want to be at the front – we were lined up quite a long way back from the timing mat! We were to look out for the green signs (matching our bib colour – each course had signs matching their bib, to make it easier to follow) as well as the generic blue and white ones. I didn’t have any trouble following the course on this occasion, I know a few people who had some issues but somehow I managed to stay on course for a change!
Early on in the run I was passed by a girl (Isabelle) who looked to be quite young (15 as it turned out) and decided to try to keep her in sight. I saw her walk a couple of times up one of the hills so I figured if she’s doing it, so will I! The second time I saw her walk I decided to keep running, and somewhere around maybe the 5km mark, maybe a little later, I caught up with her and we chatted for a couple of minutes. Then she took off, I was able to keep her in sight but never quite managed to catch her again (she ended up beating me by about 20 seconds – way too much for me to even attempt a sprint finish!) My main thought was, “at least she’s not in my age group!”
The course was really nice, I had only run there once before (parkrun) so it was still relatively new to me. The scenery was magnificent and the weather was glorious – I couldn’t believe how lucky we got with the weather, especially since a lot of rain was in the forecast for Saturday which would have made it very wet underfoot (that rain ended up bypassing Adelaide which was very nice of it!). There were a few hills in there but as far as trail courses go it was a pretty fast one. The only part I had a bit of trouble with was the rocky section especially going downhill – a previous issue with my foot which generally does not cause me any problems, meant that I needed to be careful about how I stepped on rocks. Luckily not much of the course was like that so I was able to run comfortably for almost all of it!
I managed to sneak into 2nd place for the females behind Isabelle, and Vicky, who I had run with a lot of times before and who also volunteered as a car parking attendant before running (thanks Vicky!) came in for a well deserved 3rd place. Knowing that Isabelle was 15, for a moment I thought maybe just maybe the bottle of wine that the winners all got, might come my way – but in the end she got it to give to her parents! So close…
I was really glad to have run this event, it’s always nice to try out a new course and the weather certainly helped! Thanks as always to Adelaide Trail Runners for putting on this fantastic event, and to all the volunteers who made it happen! Congratulations to all the runners out there, hope you had as enjoyable a morning as I did!
See you at Anstey Hill in December for the next one!