Back in Townsville and resting the legs after being part of the epic Three Marathons in Three Days endurance challenge near Cairns, Phil Copp and Linda Davis report back after the exhilarating and exhausting experience. Phil did the three marathons while Linda was dedicated support crew for husband Adrian and the other seven Townsville runners. Their daily summaries offer a good insight if you are thinking about doing something crazy like this next year…
“After three days of torturous hills and many kilometres in the legs, it was not an easy run!” – Phil Copp
Day 1 – Kuranda to Cedar Park Rainforest Resort
Phil Copp: Nervous and excited runners from all over Australia, and some parts of the world, gathered in the main street of Kuranda for marathon one. Eight runners from Townsville made the journey and — for most — it was their first time doing back-to-back marathon events. Only one of the Townsville contingent, Bernie Norris, had run the courses before; so most of us didn’t know what to expect.
The first part of the course was through Kuranda’s streets and parks alongside the Barron River with some nice scenic views before entering the rainforest, which made up about two-thirds of the race. The rainforest trails were very technical and difficult to run along with protruding tree roots and some slippery mossy rocks and mud. There were also various creek crossings with slippery rocks.
The course then broke out onto the road where runners encountered some steep bitumen hill climbs and undulating roads before re-entering the rainforest about 30km in. The final part of the course was on dirt roads leading into Cedar Park Rainforest Resort. One marathon down — two to go!
“She got picked up by the SES, returned to her ‘detour point’ (that the organisers have now renamed ‘Toni’s Corner’) and then finished the last 6km on the right route to avoid a DNF — tough lady!” – Linda Davis
Linda Davis: A very chilly and rainy start greeted the runners — this made for a slippery time on the technical single tracks with the tree roots causing a bit of havoc all the way to the 33km mark, then it was a nice fire trail run home through some decent creeks — not a chance of any dry feet in the house today!
Toni Ferguson (Kiwi) decided to cause a little excitement by taking a detour on the track and ended up not only doing an extra 11km up a huge hill, but she got picked up by the SES, returned to her ‘detour point’ (that the organisers have now renamed ‘Toni’s Corner’) and then finished the last 6km on the right route to avoid a DNF — tough lady!
Tony Gordon also had a great day coming home near the top of the pack and leading the Townsvillians’ enthusiasm. All Townsvillians finished to fight another day!
Total distance covered – 42.2km
Day 2 – Cedar Park Rainforest Resort
Phil Copp: Marathon two was an out-and-back loop course in the scenic Barron Gorge National Park. The initial terrain was dirt roads and single trail, some of which was quite overgrown and difficult to run along as you couldn’t see where your feet were going to land — an important aspect of trail running!
There were two main hills on this course. The first had many washed-out trails on both ascent and descent and the second was an unrelenting ascent along power line tracks, which were very steep in some places, and had a steep rainforest descent on the other side. The final parts of the course traversed through some spectacular rainforest and then back along open rainforest tracks with many creek crossings before returning along the same dirt roads back to the resort.
“We watched as people who had become mates over the three days, running together, cheered at the finish line. It became a task of making sure that everyone finished the race, encouraging, cheering and finally succeeding!” – Linda Davis
Linda Davis: The Cedar Creek lappie saw even more creek crossings, and even steeper hills, but less technical running. Phil Copp showed his road running dominance over the last 11km on the decent tracks and left the Townsville crew (and most other runners) in his wake. Adrian Garnett did his best to keep up, but it just wasn’t to be.
Mad mountain biker Billy Guy didn’t learn from riding (and taking out almost every tree) on day one’s course and decided to ride again — madness at its best! But he did impress us with no day two busters. Good job Billy… and NO, this is NOT a mountain bike race. Rest and recovery were definitely needed now runners were two thirds down.
Total distance covered – 84.4km
Day 3 – Cedar Park Rainforest Resort to Cairns
Phil Copp: Marathon three is also the Cairns Marathon, so day three saw additional runners pitting themselves against the 3M3D runners. This course did not have as many big hills, but was still demanding with plenty of undulating tracks and a couple of steep descents. The first two thirds was on open tracks/roads with many creek crossings to wet the runners’ feet.
Following a climb to one of the highest parts of the event, runners descended into the scenic Copperlode Dam where they could have a much-needed refuel before the second steep descent down the bitumen road from the dam into Cairns and to the finish line.
After three days of torturous hills and many kilometres in the legs, it was not an easy run! The final two kilometres were along a path leading to Goomboora Park in Cairns where the finish was a welcome relief for all runners. An amazing sense of personal achievement and an awesome 3M3D medal awaited them. The park had a beautiful flowing freshwater creek running through it as well, which was an instantly refreshing relief for sore and fatigued legs.
Linda Davis: The end was in sight — Cedar Creek to Cairns — no technical tracks on the final day; just decent fire trails with another (seemingly) 5,000 creek crossings, a nice climb up to Copperlode Dam and then, when the runners thought it couldn’t get any worse, a nasty quad-exploding 15km downhill bitumen run to the finish line. The general look of exhaustion at the start line was replaced by sheer amazement and excitement at the finish line as they sprinted (yes they all sprinted; although some of the sprinting would probably not generally be considered sprinting!) over the line — true champions!
Not only did they have to run their third marathon, but they also had all the extra one-day competitors (‘freshies’ we nicknamed them) to content with… arrgghh — how psychologically disturbing! By day three this was a race against their sore legs and their brains, not other people. We watched as people who had become mates over the three days, running together, cheered at the finish line. It became a task of making sure that everyone finished the race, encouraging, cheering and finally succeeding! Only one busted knee didn’t make the full three marathons… not a bad effort I say!
Total distance covered – 126.6kms
Three marathons in three days completed!
Townsville Athlete Results 3M3D 2015
Well done to everyone who took part!
To find out more about the Three Marathons in Three Days event, see here: http://3marathonsin3days.com. Want to get started on your running journey or set your next goal? It’s not too late to sign-up for the Townsville Running Festival on Sunday, August 2. Check out the range of events and register here: http://www.townsvillerunningfestival.com/