It is nearly upon us – the wonderful Anaconda Adventure Race in Lorne. I first found out about this race in 2009, when a group of trainers at my gym came in wearing race t-shirts. I’d only lived in Melbourne for a little while at that stage, and I was missing my adventure races in Hong Kong. Seeing their shirts, seeing the words “Adventure Race” – my pulse lifted. I babbled some questions at the trainers, learning something that brought me great dismay.
“Adventure Race” in Australia didn’t mean the same thing as it did in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, the Action Sprint Series Adventure Races were flat-out trail running, interspersed with coastal rocks, climbing up waterfalls, swimming in reservoirs, jumping into the sea fully clothed and swimming ashore. In Australia, more disciplines were added – mountain biking, kayaking, ocean swimming – and these were not my thing. I was (am) a runner with a thirst for adventure.
Still, I gave it a go. I took a kayaking lesson. I bought a mountain bike. I signed up for races that included orienteering and all the other disciplines. But the Anaconda was elusive; I wasn’t strong enough to do all the disciplines myself (without dying), and I didn’t know enough athletes to field a team. I watched the event go by, year after year, trying to find a way in.
Last year, the way in found me. A friend I’d run with was chatted up by a team looking for a runner. She hated trails but knew I loved them, and suggested me. Oh the joy! Though we left at 4 am, though we had never met before, though our kayaker was knocked out and we had a DNF though we really did finish, it was amazing (in 2011, the waves were huge, and most kayakers had trouble). I drove home with my team, having just spend ten hours with them, elated, thrilled that I’d finally got to do this great adventure.
Then 2012 came. We formed Team Inspiration for the Surfcoast Century Ultramarathon. I was finally getting contacts, forming friendships. Way back in May, I harassed a swimmer dad from my son’s soccer team until I got him to commit to the race. I talked up kayakers, mentioned the race on Facebook, and everywhere else. Ben from Team Inspiration finally gave in (thanks Ben!) and agreed to do the mountain bike; Martin (also Team Inspiration) would kayak. All was in place, way back in September.
Then our swimmer got sick. Martin decided to put in a pool, so wouldn’t have time to train. He put Warren from Team Inspiration forward (thanks Warren!). We were back to almost a full team. I spent the next months chatting up all the swimmers I met, emailing swimming groups, doing all I could to get back out there. Finally, at the eleventh hour, Mick, a friend of our original swimmer, put his hand up and said he’d swim for us (thanks Mick!).
So we are finally set. I’ve got my gels and my Camelbak, my first aid kit. My race gear is on the drying rack, and my Garmin is charging.
But wow, it has been a long, long journey to get here. So now, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the fact that we’re in, we’re ready (relatively), and I’ve been really training for a 28km race in January, so hopefully 15km of trail running won’t feel too bad at all. I can picture the course from last year, the coastal rocks, the river crossing, the gorgeous uphill trail. I do believe there was a rope to climb up too, which will add a little adventure to my adventure race.
So joy…the Anaconda Adventure Race in Lorne, 2012, is nearly upon us. I can’t wait to get back to that glorious beach. Thanks Team Inspiration, and Mick, for making it happen!
- The biggest One Day Adventure Race on the planet (banzaiadventurer.wordpress.com)