It has been a week since the Upper Sturt Park trail run, but I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to write anything about it. Now I just have to try and remember what it was like, which shouldn’t be too hard, because it was stunning.
I got to the trail head at what I deemed an early time, but a rather large group of fellow trail enthusiasts had already gathered. Word must be out. As the time ticked down to 7am, the numbers continued to swell until we reached the half century.
The run started with a nice downhill (in contrast to most other runs) into the park, which was fantastic for warming up the legs. I moved from the very rear of the field to a position about 3/4 of the way back as the group snaked its way down into the valley, slowly spreading out.
Normally we average about 10minutes a kilometer on trail runs and the frequent steep hills keep most of the runners together. Not so today. It turned out to be a super fast trail, where even I averaged sub 7min/k pace.
After 3.5km of running down hill past toilet block after toilet block, we reached what would be the last toilet block. The green survey tape used to mark the course, with great skill I might add, had us deviate from the path most taken and begin what would be a 4km climb.
The worst of the climb was at the start. I am sure even the die hard tough men of SA trail running would have resorted to walking. That section only lasted for 500m and we were soon back into stride, churning our way up the remaining 3.5km.
For some sick, strange, reason, I absolutely loved this bit, not stopping till I got to the top. The trail was my favourite gradient – the one I feel strongest at. Steep enough to keep everyone honest, but not that steep that I can’t punch out a decent pace. I motored up the hill, gathering other runners up as I went.
At the top I had gathered a small group around me and we made our way down to the train line. Apparently someone in the group thought it would be a good idea for Terry C to lead. Big mistake. Luckily they had me at the back of the pack keeping an eye on the trail markers and when I called out to the rest that they had missed the vital turn off (which was extremely well marked and extremely well described in the trail notes), Terry ventured the lame excuse that he was just testing me.
We were soon back at Upper Sturt Rd and I parted company with the small group (who were going on to do the second loop in Mark Oliphant Park) and headed back to the trail head. From all accounts I missed a stunning loop with views out to Scott Creek Conservation Park.
All up the first loop through Upper Sturt Park was 12.5km and I enjoyed every kilometre.