Blackall trail runs worthy of the Coast’s bucket list events
THERE is something intoxicating about being in the bush. Traversing mountainous tracks with varying terrain among towering trees combined with a soundtrack of birdlife, it’s easy to see why many fall in love with trail running.
Growing interest in the sport has coincided with the rapid rise of The Blackall 100, which has become the Sunshine Coast’s iconic ultra-running event.
Offering 50km and 100km options, it encompasses parts of the Great Walk. Using a combination of singletrack through dense bushland and open sections of fire trail, the scenery is spectacular.
Various aspects are breathtaking not just because of the view, but the climbing required to reach ascents.
Those tackling the 100km event will climb more than 3300m of vertical – those in the 50km ascend 1500m – with near identical descending.
Quads and calves get a workout, while constant concentration is needed to avoid the challenges Mother Nature throws at you with every step.
There’s a different atmosphere at off-road events.
Camaraderie levels escalate. From volunteers manning the checkpoints to all competitors, there is a constant positive vibe with continual encouragement.
Tempering the effort early is vital as the ups and downs ultimately take their toll in the latter stages.
For newcomers, the 50km is achievable with solid preparation. Walking or hiking the tougher hills ensures saving the legs and making the distance.
Starting with a small group, I had an enjoyable run with eventual women’s second place-getter Kate Child who I trailed for much of the middle section post climbing Gheerulla Bluff.
Her course insights were brilliant in pacing to make the journey.
Proving too strong with about 15km to run, she pushed ahead as the battle with mind and body began. Talking to others post race, most struggled with similar challenges.
Child battled back soreness, while others rode emotional roller-coasters which match the undulations.
Small inclines become mountains. Weaving past branches is a massive effort. The final footpath trek to home base is seemingly endless.
Collectively it’s what makes ringing the Blackall bell at the Mapleton QCCC something special.