Gold Coast Marathon- July 2014

I am fundraising for Motor Neurone Disease (Million Metres for MND) at this event. Please give generously to this very worthy cause.

I will match any donation $ for $ and double it if I do a negative split!



The North Face 100- A Race Report. In verse.

Here is an easy challenge for you, do all this stuff in a day, no make it 19 odd hours…… do half in the dark and enjoy the view along the way.


Let’s start simple friend, this is a chomping feat, we can’t go far unless we remember just how much to eat!

Suck down some gels, 36 will do,  High5 Mojito, a brand that can’t be beat.

14 sticky Torq bars and a couple of Cliff ones too?

20 Amaze Balls from Tara’s Runner’s Kitchen,  throw down a dozen pieces of juicy watermelon.

A cup of coffee and a hot choc too, 40 Hammar salt pills as well for you.

Make sure you swallow some vomit on the way, consider dirty creek water when you your bladder’s dry as hay.

Yes, don’t forget the drink, ten litters plus of water, not cold or fizzy, that’s easy, this is slaughter.

Make is warm and salty too, suck it through a filthy straw attached to you.


Now that you’ve eaten, lets run a little way, let’s make it a hundred kilometres mate, Okay?

No, not flat or smooth but hilly, rocky and rough.

Let’s find some stairs, a million’s not enough.

Run up a cliff-side, hewn from rock, do it for an hour, then restart the clock.

Make it 10 or 12 hours on and off, time will stop ticktock.

The stairs should be loony, made by a drunken sadistic madman, uneven and unsure,

Take away some of the rails, add a compelling vista for distraction.

Now in between there is rocky single track and steep fire trail action.

Don’t forget the muddy creeks, slimy forest stuff, or cliff edge grottos, and classic bush that’s rough.


Make sure the day is long and goes from cool to warm to cold.

Wear a warm top and beanie, take it off and don a singlet job,

Put on a long top, beanie, headlight for running in the night.

Freeze and thank the bosses for the fleece, and Brendan for advising copious grease.

If you have some shame left, don a fluoro top, loose, ungainly, reflective, a ridiculous clowning smock.

You will look and feel a right cock. (but safe :)).


Now pain is on the menu, not a knock or strain to suffer.

No, lets refer to the belly and its gassy misery sister and brother,

Take a stop above, below? Dry or Wet, I forget, but hurry,

Dig with your toe and whip them daks dow, there’s a vile slurry.

Do it often in the dark, turn off your head lamp friend,

No one wants to see you squatting. coming round the bend.


Oh, it’s dark, the phone is dead, the watch stopped too, no bother.

You’re in a strange place, without others, closer to the end?

Oh damn you Petzel for your electrons have also come to an end.

There is hope though, careful planning made you bring another, two is good but three is best,

Now tip toe to the final test.


After all the gruesome food, and glorious country miles

980 awkward steps lay wait in the dark,  before you crack some smiles,

Some felt bad, others flew, it isn’t all that grim.

Grovel up and reach the top you are almost free to stop.

It’s over, wow, you did it, it’s 2 am and cold.

Hmmm, find a bus, none, family? In bed.

Walk it! Yes, Off with you, but maybe hail that bus instead.


The Hotel is close and now you’re in, a shower, then pain, ache add anxiety sets in.

Lucky if your gorgeous wife doses you up and puffs a pillow for the legs,

A 3-year-old is in the middle and now its time to rest.


That’s enough verse, I am a crap runner and worse poet. I had the best day running of my life. It all came together. The guts gave up though at km 80-something. That’s ok. It was a walk-a-thon from there anyway. We all ground up those last fire trails in a slow march of the dead. I just went off track a few times.


I managed this only through the help of other people. My gorgeous and wonderful wife/partner Lesley and daughter/support crew Gigi. My mentor and Guru Mike who sent me texts along the way, ‘You’re on a golf course.’, thanks mate, a big help! He was the catalyst for this folly. My staff who put up with me running and running late every day. And my coach, Hanny who I have never met. She wrote the program that allowed a man my age only able to train 5-7, maximum 10 hours a week to run a hundred k’s. Most of all, I remember this, I stopped and picked some flowers on the way.


Gigi and wildflowers (weeds?).

Gigi and wildflowers (weeds?).

Here is a Gallery of Images from aurora images, also taken along the way.

Here are a few pics I took and some the wonderful Lesley took as well. Adios!


Newton Distance- Weird Science.

I enrolled to be a Lab Rat. The University of Newcastle are doing a study on shoes and injury. I volunteered.

After 4 weeks of logging a diary I was enrolled and randomised. This was dangerous, some God awful shoes were on offer. I am talking Hoka One One here and things with springs in them. Brands I had never heard of, 10mm plus heel drops. I was lucky enough to get the Newtons.


My main shoes for 12 long months.


Heel looks big but is relatively low.


4 lugs. I think they now have 5.



They are a lowish trainer, 2mm drop but no advertised stack height, I think it’s about 12mm. They are pretty standard fare but for one thing. They call it POP or ‘action reaction’, it is one of those energy return ideas. If it worked we would all use it. Energy for free! Yay! Any way there are 4 big lugs in the fore foot that go in and out with your foot strike, it is meant to bounce you into the next stride.


Well, it might do that but what it mostly does is feel weird. You have to strike in the forefoot or you are going to fall over. I do, more so than the shoe would want so it is easy for me to adjust. I have no pain, they are fine to run in even if I feel a bit like I am wearing Japannese flood clogs. They fit well and have a very ‘look at me’ colour scheme, Fluoro everything.


What more can i say? They are gizmo shoes. I hope the feeling of stepping on a rubber square goes with time and they disappear like I desire. Skora shoes are the very opposite of this, the Newtons are talking the same talk but not walking the same walk. You can’t walk in these things anyway.


I suggest Newton do away with the rubber lozenge, or minimise it. Focus on low, fast design and they will go on. It is a question of finding your niche in a thick pile of shoes hence the lozenge will stay and I wont. Come the end of the study I am GONE! at 9.98 m/s/s.

Newton Home page.

The Pinnacles Trail Classic 2014- Upper Brookfield.

How can I write a race report without disaster? What went wrong? What was interesting?

Well, my dog and daughter kept me up the night before, leading to an evaporation of the lift I was promised. Young Harman tried to eat my race vest as I stumbled out the door in the dark. Not very impressive???

Beagle sabotage.

Beagle sabotage

The race description sounded tough, a real brute. Starting at the Gold Creek Reserve it takes an 18km loop around the reservoir. Clockwise this year. I don’t know if that makes it easier or not. It was not easy. The signature feature of the race is the short sharp climbs, 18 in all. A mini Ronde Van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders for the cyclists out there. Not a lot of climbing in all, 900m or so in 18km but the rapidity/frequency and grade of these beasts was telling.


Wave 1.












About 120 starters took off in waves from 6-30. After a pretty low-key address from race director Peter Holles you knew it was a TRAQ race, friendly, informal, relaxed.


Sensible shoes.

Sensible shoes.

I took the final group as I was late after parking a way down the road, I was not carpooling and have a conspicuous vehicle. Best not alienate myself further with my fellow trail runners. It all went ok from the gun, I was soon passed by almost everyone and overtook one sole runner requesting a ‘new leg’ due to cramp. Up and down we went, I ran most this time. Walking to the crest of only half a dozen. The scenery was stunning, wide eucalyptus forest with spots of grass trees and a quaint hippy/yuppy house made of stone along the way. This is mountainous country and I knew it well from past adventures on the MTB.

I was wearing some sensible shoes, New Balance numbers designed by Anton Krupicka, they are not available anymore but are low, fast and very minimal BUT with a rock plate! Wow, this course needed it.

After a while a question did come up. There are 18 climbs right? I had lost count and was starting to swear. The colourful signs along the way didn’t give a number, was ‘The Beast’ 8 or 9??? Still, the km were coming down and I knew the last 3-4 km had to be down hill. At this point, Ms New Leg came past me, bummer. I caught her up again going down the penultimate hill but debated the chivalry of this sort of thing. This internal monologue lasted all the way to the final dash when I made a run for home. chivalry be damned!

Rough trails.

Rough trails.

Standard steep fare......

Standard steep fare……

It all went well. There is no way I could have gone any harder. I was not last and had a great time. The family were there to greet me, even the Beagle (No domestic pets allowed). The organisation was as always perfect and the winners awesome. A great local race. I will be back! I even donated my massage to Lesley, who looked like she needed it more. A beagle pup can do that to you!

A big thank you to TRAQ for putting on another great race and to all the volunteers who make these things happen.

Support crew.

Support crew.


TRAQ- Link to results.

Skora Form- A Review.

It is obvious I love this shoe.

Why, is a good topic and also what I would want to improve in my favourite shoe?


In limited edition blue CAMO.

I first saw this shoe online at the beginning of my minimalist adventure. It fit the bill, zero drop, low stack height and with a focus on natural running. What I noticed most was the look. How cool could it be? Goat leather and sheep lining, hello! I was a keen cyclist still at the time and Rapha make gloves from the same material, I knew it was good.

I read a few reviews and it was obviously a premium product from a fledgling company. Even better. The cost was steep for running shoes but nothing on anything in the cycling world and I am not easily put off by cost.

The order was placed.

Of the three Forms I have bought since, none have disappointed me.

I love the supple leather, the design and the very natural feel they give. You are essentially running with no gizmos and the shoe is just protecting your feet from abrasions and a little impact.

This is not an insult, but it’s like running in Dunlop Volleys, except they are flexible, fit and wont give you blisters.

Who else has sheep skin lining??? Huh???

Who else has sheep skin lining??? Huh???

The tongue and lacing is very cool, off to the side and one of those design features that ‘disappear’. A good thing.

The sole rubber is  long wearing and even a person like me gets at least 400km before I start to think about a worry, they can be worn some more, 400km more! Some others get 1000+ km a pair. I have a nasty habit of scuffing the lateral aspect of all my shoes.

Sole matters.

Sole matters.

There is a round heel just like your foot, sensible.

Round heel and adjusting straps.

Round heel and adjusting straps.

You can use them for anything, road, grass, trails (only  very rough trails will be too much as there is no rock plate) the 13mm stack earns big all rounder points.

So the cons? Skora have a long lace fetish, it is in every review, they are always too long. Way too long. This is made up for in part by the neat logo on the ends, a nice touch but please, make them shorter!!!!

A nice detail touch.

A nice detail touch.

There is a tab at the heel to adjust the fit at the rear? I don’t know, it is sort of useful making the shoe 1/4 of a size in each direction but it could either be more effective or deleted.

The sole was not very well glued in earlier models. The toe can peel off. I have glued one toe cap back on. Easy and I think it’s my trail running that does this. It is brutal on all shoes and at the time I was in New Caledonia running of VERY rough stuff.

I think the rear heel area is over done, too much material and could safely  be pared back.

While leather is snug, long lasting and pretty, it is not mesh. So, as a Queenslander who does some sandal running too, these are my hottest shoes.

Small niggles for such a stylish, sensible, multi purpose shoe. They even look cool enough for casual wear, bugger that, Form-al wear!

I will keep buying these suckers, I love them. You could do much much worse than owning a couple of pairs of Forms and nothing else.

Do your self a favour, check out Skora’s web page.

Inov8 Race Ultra Vest 2014-Update.

Further use of the Inov8 Race Ultra Vest has given me moderate grief.

The loop holding my bladder tube has broken, I can fix this myself but should I have too? It is unfortunately too small (UTMB/TNF100 etc NO WAY). If you see some one wearing one at an event with any mandatory gear, ask them where their sherpa is. If you use the bladder the back compartment is too compromised. You can squish, squeeze a lot in (not all I am afraid) but the rear compartment then goes round and it is now NOT easy to wear. Also, good luck filling the bladder and then getting it back in.

Busted bunge.

Busted bunge.

This may not be what the thing is for. It is what I bought it for though.

So, the vest is a winner on many fronts, just can’t handle a big load. It is great if only part filled, treated very gently and you are 10km to the next checkpoint.

The clips still suck.


Trail training in the city. Spring Hill trails.

Trail running is in many ways, a privilege. We run in the bush, often in National Parks or State Forests. Most of us have jobs or study so can’t always make it to the nearest mountain for an adventure. This is where we have to use our imagination.

Albert park, incline and soft grass.

Albert park, incline and soft grass.

The Windmill, historic top of Spring Hill.

The Windmill, historic top of Spring Hill.


Steps, good training for TNF100.

In my job I have a park over the road. Apart from being littered with hobos and the occasional unfortunate murder victim, it offers good training. There are steep slopes, scrub, dirt, steps, rocks, pine needles and all sorts stuff. You might find it a bit repetitive but you can have a very good time running around in Wickham Park and then skip back to work a regular urban warrior.

Get in the lift and go run.

Get in the lift and go run.

Rock hopping in Roma Street Parklands.

Rock hopping in Roma Street Parklands.

You can swim at lunch too!

You can swim at lunch too!