Sealers Cove - photo credit: Ian Fellowes

2018 Prom 60 km Race

05 May 2018

On the way to the Prom
On the way to the Prom

It was pissing with rain as we were driving to the Prom on this Friday afternoon. The colours were amazing: the dark grey against the brilliant green of the pastures. Then there was the rainbow!! As we were getting “underneath” it, I was thinking this must be good…

Otto was tense all the way, he’s always like this when we drive to a race, no matter how many times I tell him everything will be okay, no need to worry about me. Got a message from my best friend with mixed news, but I was happy to hear from her – she always goes silent when things are not going well. We messaged for a while, then I thought stuff it, better call her. Viber is a bitch sometimes, cuts out when you least want it, but we still had a few good laughs.

Stopped in Leongatha to fuel up, then in Yanakie to buy a few more things (fresh eggs, yayy!) before heading down Foley Rd towards our accommodation. This year I booked a cottage at Tidal Dreaming Seaview Cottages. It’s on Dalgeish Rd, just off Foley, the view over Corner Inlet is just stunning. Unloaded the car then I headed down to Tidal River for registration and gear check. Otto asked me to try to get back before dark, he’ll get the dinner ready by then. I made the fresh pasta the day before, he made up the essence  –  the taste.

In spite of the strong wind that felt like it’s going to pick up the car like a feather, I enjoyed the drive and was looking forward to see the faces of fellow ultrarunners I only see at these races. Normally there are not many campers, but this time of the year Tidal River comes alive with all the runners and their families, walking with purpose. Said hello to some of them on the way to HQ then walked into the cabin, where the registration was happening. Paul greeted me with a “Babbbiii!!” then asked “Where is Otto?”. Told him what was going on, then the first thing he said was “show me your gloves!” – because I asked the other day if they are really necessary… I was very happy to see Duncan there. He is kind of “piece of mind” when he’s present.

Went to the registration desk, told Helen my name and bib number, then she asked me for my snake bandage and space blanket. Showed them both then chatted some more with Paul, saying hello to the fellow runners and the volunteers before heading back to the car. I thought that was OK, I’ll be back before it gets dark… then I saw this hair style. There is only one person I know who has it – Jacqui Hansen! Pulled over and got out to say hello to Jacqui and Darren. It turned out that none of us (Jacqui or I) should be running this weekend – doctor’s orders! Jacqui downgraded to the 44 km, I thought I’d just stick it out, que serra – serra!!

We wished each other all the best for next morning, then I headed off, driving carefully as the wombats and kangaroos were supposed to be along the road at this time. Called Otto to let him know I am just leaving.

Dinner was great and so was the red wine I washed it down with, too. Prepared the food and drinks for next morning, had a shower and went to bed. The wind was blowing so strong there and it was raining like there’s no tomorrow… didn’t sleep much.

Alarm went off at 3:45. Nothing unusual, this is the time I normally wake up when I head down to the Prom for a training run. Had my coffee, breakfast, had a shower, Otto woke up too, then we headed to Tidal River. It was pitch dark and windy. Otto worried. We saw a deer and there were others coming that way, too. In the Visitors Centre car park we pulled next to a white X-Trail, its passengers were getting out and realised they are our cottage neighbours, the man [Sam] is running, too. Felt a bit sorry for the two little girls being awake so early, both in their pjs.

At the start line
At the start line

We walked to HQ greeting other runners on the way. Paul was really happy to see Otto, then as we walked out I nearly bumped into Dan. Big hug, haven’t seen him since Razorback, then he went to register. Greeted Sean, the man I saw a few times on my Prom training runs. He just did the Marathon des Sables and didn’t expect a fast time today, but wanted to do this race for the UTMB points. Otto chatted with him some more while I said hello to a few more familiar faces. I was looking for David, he said he’ll be at the start in the morning, but couldn’t find him in the dark. Saw Gabor, Otto took a photo of us as we usually do before races. Roll call 100 km runners, then the 60, countdown then start!! Otto gave me another kiss and told me to go well as I was heading off.

I though I’d just go by feel, will try to get as close to the 10 hr mark as possible (beers were waiting at the end!!) and see what happens. The majority of the field took off, I was somewhere towards the tail end, waiting for someone to have a similar pace as mine to stick with for a while. Didn’t have to wait too long, this tall guy, who introduced himself as Hamish said he can’t run fast because he has a knee injury. It was his first 60 km at the Prom (he already did the 44 before) and he wasn’t sure about the course – although he had it loaded onto his watch. Described it to him in a short version, then Otto drove past, taking a photo. When we got to the Mt Oberon turnoff I saw Duncan –  he was marshalling at that point. Went to give him a big hug, which felt great then caught up with Hamish again. We ran/walked this concrete uphill, talking while the wind was helping us from behind, then soon arrived to Telegraph Saddle car park, where Otto was cheering everyone who ran. I already switched off my head torch and put it away – could see the track well (should be able to do it with my eyes closed). Another hug and kiss and he waved a good bye with “No swimming, please!”. I saw the shock on Hamish’s face, then on the downhill I told him why Otto said that – he laughed.

We ran together until we reached Windy Saddle talking and saying hello to the runners we passed and the ones who passed us. I saw Caz [Donovan], we greeted each other and she said that she’s so happy to finally be here when I am here (we’ve been trying to get the 60 km training run in for a while, pity it didn’t work out, it would’ve made a huge difference to her race) then she told me “go and do your magic, Babi!” – I said magic starts at Windy Saddle and I was really sorry about not sticking with her.

There were a few runners at Windy Saddle, I said hello, told Hamish that I’ll step on it from here, it’s my favourite part. I also told him that he’ll surely catch up with me on the uphills (which happened pretty much all the way to the Lighthouse: him going strong on the hills and me “flying” down on the downhills).

Sealers looked different today
Sealers looked different today

I really enjoy this part, even in the mud! This year was far away from what it was like last year and the year before; in fact it was just perfect – the track was soft enough for a good grip, but not muddy enough to slip in every direction. I’ve passed quite a few people here and the hikers were nice to get out of the way, probably thinking how crazy this bunch is. There was a runner who was close behind me, keeping the same pace as I did. I offered to let him pass, but he said he’s happy with this tempo. He lasted nearly to the board walk, then I lost him. I ran alone to Sealers, the colours of the water always amaze me. Now there were heavy clouds hovering over the water, making it look way darker than it was.

Refuge Cove Nth
Refuge Cove Nth

Ian was at the creek crossing shooting us as we approached. He said “you are the second person who takes their shoes off today!”. I told him why I was doing this, crossed the water, then went aside to put my shoes back on. Had an awful cramp somewhere under the lungs as I hunched to lift the right shoe. Stood there for a few moments until it went away, then finished with the socks and shoes and headed back to the track, saying good bye and thanking Ian for being there. In the mean time quite a few runners have crossed the creek and headed up towards the camp site. Hamish was back on as my running buddy. We ran/hiked together for a while, then he went ahead.

Hamish and Celeste at the Refuge Cove Nth exit
Hamish and Celeste at the Refuge Cove Nth exit

Celeste [Botton] took me over too before reaching Refuge Bay Nth. I took a few shots of them (not all clear, though) before I got there. The beach wasn’t as clean as it used to be, you can tell there was previously a storm from the debris scattered all over the sand. Refuge Cove came next. Didn’t need water this time, I had enough with me and only planned to refuel at the Lighthouse.

As soon as we started climbing out of Refuge Cove Hamish took off, then further in I could hear “Hey Babi, you are an animal!!” it was Steve Rennick, with two other runners. I looked back and was really happy to see them. Told him right now I wish I was a goat!! Gave him a hug, congratulated them  and wished them all the best. As the third runner passed me, I’ve noticed he is so familiar… he was Ash[ley Bennett], the fast kid, doing his first Prom run!!

Otto messaged me asking how far I was from Waterloo Bay. Sent him back “22”, then it clicked this is not exactly clear, so I sent another text with “I am at 22 km mark”.

Near the Kersops Junction
Near the Kersops Junction

As I was getting closer to the Kersops Junction I remembered how much different it was being here the previous two times… I stopped, looked back and pulled out the phone to take a picture, then Brett Godden popped up, so I took a few shots of him. He kindly returned the favour and took a few shots of me, then we wished each other all the best and he took off.

So far I’ve been eating and drinking well, tripped quite a few times (should’ve worn the Pro Max instead of the Sense Pro 2, the low drop is really a disadvantage here) and had some cramps which were manageable. Slipped and landed on my bum at the rock just after the junction (this is where Julie used to slip), but hey, it’s in the package!

Hamish on the tree
Hamish on the tree

On the way down to Waterloo Bay Nth I caught up with Hamish again, took a shot of him sitting on a tree that was across the track. It looked so funny! We walked along the beach admiring the water, when we caught up with a runner that (again) looked so familiar!! It was Ash, limping with the jacket’s hood on, he must have been very cold. I double checked and when I was sure it was him, gave him a big hug and told him that I was sorry I didn’t recognised him earlier with the top on. Hamish looked at Ash, then me with a strange look on his face. Had to clarify this, so I told him this is Ashley Ramond Bennett, the one who runs without a top. We all laughed, when Hamish said that he thought that I couldn’t recognise Ash with my top on! It was hilarious in that setting! Asked Ash if I could help him in any way, if he needs bandage or anything. He said he’s OK, he just needs to walk all the way to the finish and asked if that was far away – told him there is quite a fair bit to go (we must have been at around 24 kms), then wished him all the best and walked off.

We got to the big trees that were fallen across the track, climbed over, then hill was coming up, which meant Hamish lengthened his steps while I was dragging my butt. I stepped aside every time a faster runner approached. Saw Caroline [Gavin] somewhere earlier (can’t remember where exactly), congratulated her, gave her a hug and told her she’s the first lady, then wished her all the best. I was having cramps at some of the weirdest spots during this race – right now the vastus lateralis (I’m not that clever to remember that, had to look it up). I already had the piece of banana I brought with me on the way up to Kersops – as a remedy for calf cramps – so had to keep drinking the sports drinks…

I could feel someone approaching. When I looked back it was David. I was really happy to see him, he was travelling so fast. He gave me a hug and asked if I was OK. I said I was OK (cramp suddenly went away – thank you David) and asked if he was OK, too. We ran together for a very short portion, then told him to step on it, agreeing we’ll have beers at the finish!

Lt Waterloo Bay
Lt Waterloo Bay

Caught up with Hamish again, we yo-yoed to Lt Waterloo Bay, then to Waterloo Bay. Tried to run along the beautiful beach, but Hamish’s knee was really hurting so I stuck with him, speed walking all the way to the exit. I kept looking at the water… it was so inviting! If I was there alone I would’ve surely gone for a dip, even in that – not so hot – weather.

 

 

Waterloo Bay
Waterloo Bay

As soon as we got to the beach exit, the track goes steep up. Told Hamish to go ahead, will catch up on one of the downhills. Started the climb, which sometimes feels like it will never end. Every now and then I looked back over the beach (it’s so beautiful!), where others were running. It started to rain and I started to trip more often which was a bit of a worry, because it meant more chances to cramp, as well. Gosh, how lucky I was to avoid cramps for years!! Otto’s message came through “bummer, I left Waterloo Bay about 30 minutes ago!!” – meaning we just missed each other! For years I’ve been trying to convince him to do one of the loops with me – he MUST see Waterloo Bay… and now he’s seen it and I wasn’t there to witness it all.

Still Waterloo Bay
Still Waterloo Bay

I was already on the other side of the mountain, when I tripped and fell on my side. I lied there on the ground for a while (it felt like eternity), unable to stand up and watched my right calf moving around uncontrollably, thinking “hope no one is coming, I don’t want anyone to see me like this”. It was very painful! Surely Peter Coady and Heidi Gratton appears… they asked if I was OK, or I needed any help. Told them it’s a cramp and as soon as it goes away I’ll stand up and continue. Peter asked if I had any salt tablets. Told him I have one better: I have the real thing – salt!! Then told them to go ahead, I’ll be fine. As soon as I could, I stood up, walked a little, tried to clean up the mud – at least my hands. Glad I always carry that sanitizer, put some on the wound on my hand and my legs, it stung! Then picked up the pace and went as fast as I could, catching up with Hamish on a downhill. I was surprised I didn’t pick up any leeches…

In one of the corners (the ferny and mossy kind) Suzie rang. She has a knack for calling me during races (or training runs for that matter), casually asking “so how are you Mum?!” When she hears I am panting and telling her I am running, only then she realises that “ah! You are running!! Everything OK?! Take care, we’ll talk later!”

At the Lighthouse
At the Lighthouse

As I was getting closer to the Lighthouse I thought the fast 100 kms should be close by; I was really looking forward to greeting them, when about 2 kms from the Lighthouse Junction I spotted Dan. He was so fast and fresh as a daisy. Gave me a hug, then ran off. The next runner was very close behind him, then Shane Wheeler in third position. I realised too late it was Shane, otherwise I would’ve given him a hug, too. Got to the junction, headed left towards the Lighthouse. You could tell there is something going on here, usually not that many people get this far. I saw two hiker ladies going up, took them over – they both looked impressed. And tired. Then I saw Jenny [Rickards] and her friend Veronica coming down the concrete hill. Gave Jenny a big hug, asked her how she likes the course, then wished them all the best and headed up to the Lighthouse. Celeste was already filling her bladder, asked if she has finished – she said yes, but she’ll ask for more at Telegraph Junction.

I didn’t know who she was, we’ve never met in person before, but we were supposed to sweep Langfords to Hotham in January… I know one thing – she is a strong uphill runner and she’s got great legs!!

Lighthouse selfie

I filled my flasks and poured some in the bladder, then headed to take the Lighthouse selfie and then to the toilet. By this time my migraine that started somewhere around Waterloo Bay was becoming a nuisance (I only get them 3-4 times a year, this one was really badly timed) so I thought I’d just take two Panadols with the ginger beer I carried for “emergencies” – this was one of those emergencies! It was freezing up there!!! My fingers were a bit numb and my sweaty body was shivering underneath the Bonatti. I considered putting on the thermal, but the thought of having to take off the jacket and being exposed to that chilly wind didn’t sit well… as quick as possible I pulled out the Panadols and the ginger beer, took them, then headed out of the cover. Hamish has just gotten there, reminded him to take the selfie (otherwise it doesn’t count 😉 ), then kept walking/running downhill pondering over pulling out those mandatory gloves. Figured I should be out of this wind chill soon, not worth stopping for them.

I had some food and saw a few runners. Then at the Junction I bumped into Shane Winzar, who was doing the 100 km. Gave him a big hug, wished him all the best and headed out. I saw quite a few 100 km runners coming and was waiting to see Richard North, but I guess he must have been on the South Point out and back.

Otto took this shot on his way to Lt Oberon Bay
Otto took this shot on his way to Lt Oberon Bay

I have tried to run as much as I could (which was way more than other times), had cramps, then walked a bit. Around Roaring Meg I caught up with Celeste on the downhill. Asked her how she was, then told her she will surely take me over on the following uphill… pushed as hard as I could and on Telegraph Tk I called Otto as it was easier than typing a message. He told me I was travelling well and asked me what I would like him to bring. Told him a ginger beer would do wonders and I was already looking forward to catching up with him around Lt Oberon Bay… I don’t think I’ve ever pushed this much on Telegraph Tk, yet two runners I’ve ran from the start and then saw a few times during the day, have stepped on it and passed me on the 4WD tk (that’s pretty much downhill).

I was happy to see the veterans at the Junction. I’ve told them my name and number, they offered me sweets, water and chips. I reached for the chips (normally don’t, but now I craved the salty stuff), but when I heard they were salt and vinegar, my hand quickly stopped – can’t do vinegar. I said hello to David Shuterland, gave him a hug and wished him all the best as he took off, then I followed already dreading the sandy 4WD track to Oberon Bay. On this portion I was overtaken by Peter Coady and Heidi Gratton as I was shuffling along. Somehow I found energy and pushed to Oberon Bay wondering how high the tide would be here… I noticed Peter and Heidi were already there. It was windy, very windy, but runnable. Peter was tired, he slowed down to walking. We talked a little, then I told him I will try to go faster as my husband is waiting for me somewhere. Heidi was in a better shape, but she kept checking on Peter.

I got to the creek, walked through (the cold water felt really good), then started the climb thinking of that ginger beer and imagining how I am going to run through the finish and have proper beer with Karen, David and Otto. Heidi caught up with me and said something about Peter being slow as she passed me, then I saw her waiting just before Lt Oberon Bay. I was hoping to see Velta here, but all I saw was a girl sitting in a yoga pose on the top of the rock on the right and a few hiker boys arriving happily from the track. They were nice enough to let me get up the damn sand hill first, which I thanked them for. They also wished me luck – that was very nice, too.

See what a little ginger beer can do?!
See what a little ginger beer can do?!

That ginger beer!!! Where is Otto?!…

He appeared soon, very happy. Got the beer out, I drank almost the whole bottle and that gave me a boost. He asked me how I was, how IT was and told me how he got to Waterloo Bay. I like that he’s getting into this!! He also told me that the photographers are at the end of this track, then asked if I wanted to go along the beach or inland. Told him the tide is not that bad, still some sand to run on, let’s go via the beach – that’s the official course anyway.

I was very happy to see Ian and Velta when we got onto Norman Beach. They must have taken photos of us, but I haven’t seen any in the collection. The colours were striking here as the sun was setting and the clouds were so dark behind us. Otto took a few shots, then we ran/walked to the turnoff.

With the Boss of Organising
With the Boss of Organising

I could see someone familiar in a high-vis jacket – I recognised Duncan’s partner, Noreen from Bogong to Langfords last year, when Duncan and her were minding the Cope Hut checkpoint (and gave me as many orange slices as I wanted).  We greeted each other and then Otto and I climbed out of this last beach. Otto took off so he could take a shot when I finish and catch me (so I don’t run anyone over 😃 ).

As I was running through the first parking lot, I remembered the BBQ my friend Miri and I had two years ago, when Otto couldn’t make it. We forgot to bring glasses and had red wine (quite a nice drop, too) from plastic containers… all this while it was pissing with rain around us. It was hilarious!

 

The finish is getting closer…

I wish I could see the clock earlier, I would’ve stepped on it from further. There were people cheering, which felt really nice. Paul let a big “Babiiiii!” out and said well done. Then Otto caught me which was great, because there were people behind him. Paul gave me the Caramello Freddo. I looked around then David and Karen came to say well done with a hug, both holding a beer…

I said thank you to Paul and the volunteers before walking to the car for the beers as we agreed. It was nice to meet Karen and to share our stories of the day (and many more) while enjoying Otto’s home brew.

I didn’t have a shower at Tidal River this time. Otto and I drove back to the cottage where I could finally wash off all the mud and dirt I’ve collected during the day, then had a nice steak and red wine before going to bed. Body was burning, keeping me awake for most of the night. I guess the muscles were working hard on rebuilding themselves. As I moved my feet, I sensed that tingling itch and then I realised – damn suckers!!! They got me again!! Had two bites on both ankles, which by next day got inflamed, swollen and even more itchy…

Next morning we had breakfast, packed up, cleaned the cottage and headed home.

I was so undercooked for this race with around 108 km total training in the month leading up to it (two Prom 44s, two 7ish and a slow 4.5 km) I just winged it, ridiculously still hoping to finish around the 10 hr mark. I nearly did – 10.05.55. This time the planets aligned, it wasn’t that hot, I could eat and had energy for most of the time. The hugs and kind words I received and gave to others have overpowered the cramps hands down. There is so much love and camaraderie on those trails and I feel privileged to be a part of it!

Gear

  • Lululemon crop, top, socks
  • Bonatti jacket
  • Red Lenser 5 in the morning
  • Salomon S-lab 12 l vest
  • Salomon Sense Pro 2 – not the best choice, tripped too much in them
  • plus the rest of the mandatory gear

Food and hydration

  • 6 rice paper rolls with slices of meetballs, smoked cheese, lettuce, mint, coriander, red, yellow and green paprika and hommus
  • 1 small mandarin
  • 1 half banana
  • Clif Shot Bloks
  • A few pieces of uncrystallised ginger
  • A couple of pieces of dark chocolate and chocolate with filling
  • 2 dates
  • 330 ml of ginger beer at the Lighthouse and a bottle after Lt Oberon bay
  • GU Tri-Berry hydration tabs in about 1.5 l water

 

Strava Activity

Feel free to study this activity.

 

Total distance: 60.75 km
Max elevation: 341 m
Min elevation: -16 m
Total climbing: 2494 m
Total descent: -2519 m
Total time: 10:05:59
Download file: 2018_Prom_60_km_PB.gpx

 

 

David looking towards Refuge Cove

Wilsons Prom 44 km with David – amazing day out

09 April 2018

David picked me up at around 5:38, it was still dark but a pleasant Monday morning. We headed down to the Prom for his longest run to date and a recce of the 44 km course. The conversation was so engaging, that I hardly noticed the transition between night and day – the sun was already rising, fog in some places… We stopped for a photo of the boulder that looks like a goat’s head somewhere between Whisky Bay and Squeaky Beach. Told David it will be much nicer in the afternoon sun, we agreed we’ll stop on the way back, too.

On Sealers Tk
On Sealers Tk

After we pulled into the Visitor Centre car park, toilet, a few bites, gear up and got started. In spite of the cloudy sky the views from the road heading up to Telegraph Saddle car park were really nice. We stopped to take a few shots, got out of the way of the passing cars and were soon up at the parking. David took a few photos at the lookout (someone has put some bushes there since I’ve been here 😃), then we headed down Sealers Tk.

We agreed on taking it easy – it takes as long as it takes. David’s reaction to the trails at the Prom was exactly how I’d imagine it to be for every trail runner who hasn’t been there before. At Windy Saddle we had a quick chat with two girls, then I told David to go ahead and enjoy this part, fly down on it if he wishes – it’s my favourite track, that’s what I would do, too. Well, he certainly didn’t have the breaks on, I could hardly keep up with him. We bumped into some hikers a few times, stopped to take a few photos in a few nice spots (like that stone that marks a corner, haha!!) and soon reached the board walk. That was again a portion that we both enjoyed. By this time it was nice and sunny and humid.

The look on David's face at Sealers Cove
This pic is priceless

I was really excited to see (and capture) David’s face when he gets the first glimpse of Sealers Cove, so I headed ahead and took a few shots – I think I got it! We talked about what it is like when it’s high tide here and the creek can be up to waist when crossing. There were people walking closer to the water, in the quite compact sand. We took our shoes off to cross the less than knee deep water, then met Louise, a lady older than us, putting her hiking shoes on. We asked her where is she heading. She was from Fish Creek and decided to hike the Prom; she was amazed by us doing that loop in one day, then she took off saying, no doubt, we’ll catch up with her at some point.

We went through the camping ground, stopping to take a photo of a curious wallaby, then headed up the hill, chatting away and David being amazed by the beautiful, rolling trail, the everchanging vegetation and the stunning views.

This is the shot Louise took
This is the shot Louise took

We caught up with Louise on the boulder overlooking Sealers Cove. Asked her if she wanted a photo. First she said no, but then gave me her phone to take a shot. She asked if we wanted a photo, as well so we lined up for the picture 😊. Louise still couldn’t get over us doing all this distance in such a short time, then she asked how old we were – told her I was 50 and David said he’s 43. She looked very impressed and wished us all the best as we took off.

We soon got to Refuge Cove Nth, where there were a few boats in the water. We even wondered if one of them was picking a few persons up, then a trail runner looking guy started to walk towards us. We asked him where is he going and where is he coming from, then at the introductions found out that he is Tom, and David and Tom went to the same school… it goes to show how small this world is! Tom ran into a branch earlier and cut the skin on his head open. David looked at it and told him there is nothing we could do about it, just keep it covered. We said good bye, then headed in opposite directions.

Refuge Cove
Refuge Cove

Refuge Cove was next and boy, it didn’t disappoint! David walked onto the beach to take some pictures while I went to the toilet (it was surprisingly clean), then we headed towards the camping ground. I showed him the tap, filled our soft flasks with water then headed back to the track. A solo hiker we’ve seen earlier with a big pack, and hiking quite fast was already setting up his tent. Pretty much everything he was wearing and carrying was green and he was very efficient. You can tell it was school holiday, there were families with children and some youngsters in most camping grounds.

 

 

On the boulder overlooking Refuge Cove
On the boulder overlooking Refuge Cove

As we passed the sign that said “Kersops Peak 2.6 km” we agreed to go up to Kersops Peak for a peek. This sounded so funny. I could sense that David was itching to go a bit faster. Told him to go ahead and enjoy it, then watched him hop away with such an ease as I only saw Chris Roberts and Dan Beard go up one of the Dandenongs hills during the night run Gabor organised a while ago. It was getting warmer and I felt a bit sluggish. Took a quick spot check on my going so far: food was ok, I was also drinking the water with electrolytes, the hip was ok, didn’t hurt. Then it must be one of these: no training, sleep deprivation, the food and drinks I’ve been carrying on my bum since Easter or I didn’t totally recover from Razorback. I wasn’t looking for excuses, but wanted to know the WHY.

We ran together chatting for a little while, then told David to go ahead and have fun. We ended up doing this a few times: running together, him going ahead then waiting for me patiently. I really admire this about him. On the downhills we stepped on it and it was a lot of fun flying through the ferns and hopping over roots and rocks. I don’t think I ever ran this fast on these downhills when I was solo or even during one of the races.

Before going up on Kersops Peak
Before the Kersops Peak Junction

At the Kersops Peak junction we stopped and looked around amazed by the views. Took a few pictures, then headed up to the Kersops Peak summit for more. The track going up there is a tad steep and rooty and rocky with sudden switchbacks in some spots but if one stops every now and then to check the views, it’s an incredible sight. We took a few shots on the top, pointed out the Lighthouse (seemed so far, far away), Waterloo Bay, Waterloo Bay Nth with its crystal clear water… we had a date (each), then headed down, talking about the Sunset Tk run at Lysty we both did a while ago.

 

 

 

What a backdropThe track is steep, tricky and very technical down to Waterloo Bay Nth, but before reaching the beach there is a spot where one is presented with some of the most brilliant colours nature can produce. It’s only a small patch of the turquoise water powerfully contrasting the dark greens and browns of the trees. David shot ahead on the fun-run downhill, so I was hoping he’ll notice it. And he sure did. Furthermore, as I was turning a corner, I’ve realised he is sitting off the track waiting for me with the phone ready. He managed to take one of the best shots I have on these trails, with the previous beach as background.

There was a family scattered on Waterloo Nth beach, we said hello and kept going while admiring the rusty rocks ahead, then we started climbing towards the “Decision Rock”. It’s a big boulder where hikers usually sit down for a rest and marvel at the sight of Waterloo Bay. Told the story about the time we planned to do the 68 km with Julie and the weather forecast looked less than promising, so we had to make a decision here.

Little Waterloo Bay was next with its squeaky white sand and brownish creek. There were a few youngsters on the beach. We said hello, then kept on going towards the camp ground. I was hoping there is water flowing here. Campers were minding their business while we filled up our storages with the brownish water. I took some big gulps of water here, which proved to be a bad move. Need to slap myself every time I even THINK of doing this in the future!

As we were walking through the camp ground I told David about the times when after rain the sites are all under water – they are ponds. Literally. I also pointed out the sign that says something like  “Lighthouse Tk 6.3 km”.

Mt Boulder
Mt Boulder

From here we pretty much rolled down to Waterloo Bay, hopping over the big rocks to get to the beach. That blindingly white sand and the constantly inviting water, that changes its colours with the movement of the clouds and brightness of the sun! Can’t get enough of it.

We headed towards the track, admiring the stones (that look like they were imported from Easter Island) on Mt Boulder. Striking sight against the dark green foliage. The sun was setting down on the other end of the peninsula casting some beautiful shadows.

On Telegraph Tk - overlooking Oberon Bay
On Telegraph Tk – overlooking Oberon Bay

David stopped to take pictures, then we ran-walked this portion (those big gulps of water must have messed up my system – again) and we soon hit Telegraph Junction. Told him about the veterans who come to support the run; they sit there, take our numbers, offer us food and water and are very nice. We walked to the turnoff, then headed West on the dreaded 4WD track.

At first it’s not that bad, but when the sand gets deeper, it’s not easy to move, so we ended up pretty much walking all this portion, pondering which 4WD would be best on this terrain. At least the company and conversation was great. At Oberon Bay the tank was completely dry, the tap turned upwards. We walked onto the beach in the deep sand and soon saw Oberon Bay at low tide.

The beach was runnable, but we walked it while I told David about the night when I did the 68 km and finished in the dark. The end of Oberon Bay was all covered with the moving water and there was such a thick mist, that I couldn’t see the beach exit.

We took our shoes off when crossing the small creek, the water was nice and cold for the feet, then sat down on a rock close to the track to put them back on. I watched how he meticulously cleaned the sole of his feet and in hindsight, I wish I did the same – ended up with a bloody blister (there is blood in it) on my left toe. There were about two tablespoons of sand in my shoes (these are the ones that apparently drain well).

We hiked, walked, ran the portion to Lt Waterloo Bay, chatting away and really looking forward to that beer. At least I was – couldn’t shut up about it.

Cheers
You can tell who was thirstier

Not sure if anyone noticed this – from Telegraph Junction the signs are getting closer and closer: there is one at Oberon Bay beach entry, another one at the exit; same at Lt Oberon Bay, giving the hikers/runners a “you are getting closer” sense.

When we arrived to Lt Oberon Bay, I pointed out the small pole that signals the beach track. There used to be a sign there long time ago. The sand is soft here, we walked along the short beach which other times seems like eternity, then climbed out on the sandy track. You make a painful step upwards, then slide back a little… As always, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Just had to capture this
Just had to capture this

The sun was setting down and the colours were amazing as we kept walk/hike/running towards Norman Bay. I think Otto called as we were getting closer and asked how we are travelling. From Norman Bay we took the short cut to the Visitors Centre – the beer was getting closer. Once we arrived, called our spouses, then pulled out the tall glasses and opened the Nut Brown Ale. Those two glasses received a lot of attention on social media 😃

We had a shower and headed home. It was a great day and I am happy I could share the Prom with a friend who appreciates it.

Gear

The usual, from mandatory didn’t carry the long johns and overpants (had them with me, though).

Food and hydration

  • 1 l of GU Tri-Berry Hydration Drink in the bladder
  • 500 ml GU Hydration Drink Mix – Watermelon; re-filled at Lt Waterloo Bay
  • 250 ml tap water; re-filled at Refuge Cove and Lt Waterloo Bay
  • 6 rice paper rolls with red, yellow and green pepper, coriander, mint, a thin slice of steak—only had 4
  • Dark chocolate and ginger
  • Dates
  • Clif Blok Shots

How to get there

This is the route we took from Leongatha to Tidal River. Click the More options link on the map to enlarge it.

 

 

Strava Activity

Feel free to study this activity.

 

Total distance: 45.87 km
Max elevation: 335 m
Min elevation: 4 m
Total climbing: 1723 m
Total descent: -1723 m
Total time: 08:43:18
Download file: Wilsons_Prom_44_km_with_David_amazing_day_out.gpx

Amenities

There are several toilets in Tidal River, we parked in the main parking area just opposite the Information Center

Friendly advice

Here are some thoughts that might be useful before heading out on an adventure like this:

  1. Always check the weather, and the tides at Refuge Cove as the creek at Sealers Cove could be quite deep to cross. This is where I usually look this up https://tides.willyweather.com.au/vic/gippsland/refuge-cove.html
  2. Carry enough food and water. After Little Waterloo Bay there is no water until maybe Oberon Bay. There is a tank there, but there is only water in it when there was enough rain.
  3. Get the Wilsons Promontory – Spacial Vision Map
  4. Carry a PLB, alternatively keep someone updated about your progress. Garmin has LiveTrack, Strava has Beacon. If you have a smart watch, these can work together very well wherever there is network coverage

Hope all this info has helped.

Refuge Cove

Wilsons Prom 60 – didn’t go to plan but the dip was worth it

28 December 2017

On Sealers Track
On Sealers Track

Originally I planned to go to the mountains and do Langfords Gap – Mt Hotham return (58 km). I was supposed to catch up with Paul somewhere on the trails there.
Last minute plan change resulted in me not being prepared for THIS run.

Woke up at 2.45 after a tossing-and-turning kinda night, only had one coffee (usually have a double and a single espresso), watched the uneventful sunrise on the way to the Prom. Before Fish Creek I had a near miss with a koala. Yes, ABS works as it’s supposed to. By the time I’ve reached for the phone to take a close up, the koala has waltzed into the bush. Showers on the way to Tidal River and as I started the watch. The camping was full, I’ve never been here before NYE.

I wasn’t in a rush – wanted to make the most of my last trip to the Prom this year. Gosh, I missed this place!!! It was a warm, humid morning. Had goose bumps as the cold rain drops were hitting my skin. Quite a few cars at Telegraph Saddle, but haven’t seen anyone there. At Windy Saddle there was a man fiddling with his pack and a boy wetting the bushes. His face was covered by the leaves, could see everything else, though. He ran sheepishly to his dad when I said hello.

Sealers Beach
Sealers Beach at high tide

Sealers Tk was quite dry, very few muddy patches to hop over and the board walk was nicely cleaned – thanks Parks Victoria!! Saw a tent and a bivvy at the start of the board walk, then a few hikers before reaching Sealers Cove. Thought I’d use the toilet there, but the smell as I opened the door was revolting, so I gave that a miss. Sealers was at high tide – I knew it, because I’ve checked the tides, but have never seen it like this before. There was blue bottle on the beach – no wonder no one is in the water. Took my shoes off and jogged a little until I saw a guy walking in the water… I was thinking maybe he is trying to avoid the deep bit… Then I saw someone in a Two Bays t-shirt and asked him if I could take a picture of him with the high tide. By the time he said yes, I pretty much took the shot. Then we started talking about the tide, Two Bays and stuff like that… in the mean time the other guy arrived, we introduced each other. Tim [Baldwin] already knew who I was (I was convinced he is Tim Woods… what a mistake!). Him and his brother Kingsley were about to head back to Tidal River.

Sealers Creek at high tide
Crossing Sealers Creek at high tide

We said goodbye and I headed into the above waist water, then turned around and asked Tim to take a photo, which he did. Thanks Tim!!

On the other side there was a lady and many kids. We had a quick chat while I was putting my shoes back, then I got going. The camp was full, I sloshed (wet pants and all) across and off on the track. Water was trickling down from my clothes, straight into my shoes… not sure how effective taking my shoes was.

I’ve bumped into many hikers on my way – won’t get into details. Some of them were nice, others were indifferent and just said “Hi”. I chatted with a few (the nice ones) – they kept popping up in the most unexpected places.

One of my favourite beaches
One of my favourite beaches

So far I’ve been eating every half hour – a biteful or two, not too much, just to keep my energy levels up. My plan was to carry 1 l of liquid (500 ml of water and 500 ml of sour cherry juice) until Refuge Cove and fuel up with water there, while trying to pace the sour cherry juice to last to the Lighthouse. When I finally got to Refuge Cove, the first thing I’ve noticed the 5 boats in the bay. “How good is that?!” – I thought. Then I saw a family with a dog on the beach… the sign clearly says no cats, dogs or firearms in the National Park. I thought what kind of example that man shows to his kids… at the camp ground I headed straight to the tap. There were lots of tents there and the smell of the toilets hit me from quite a distance. There was a young lady filling up her flask at the hardly trickling tap. I stood there with my 500 ml soft flask for a minute or two, then I turned around and headed back to the track. There was no way I’d spend 10 minutes there to fill up my flask. I was hoping I’ll find water at Lt Waterloo Camp. When I had reception I’d message Otto (that I am at x km and doing OK), then had a quick fb chat with Evgeni… didn’t move while this was happening so the thing sends.

I started to get worried about this whole water thing, because I was sipping on the sour cherry juice – which was very nice by the way – just not such a good idea, as I didn’t feel like eating anything. A bit like having a dessert before lunch.

Decision Rock
Waterloo Bay from the Decision Rock

The tap at Lt Waterloo was dry. Saw people with yellow water in their plastic bottles, probably waiting for it to clean. I had two purifying tablets but the thought of filling the soft flask with that not-so-healthy-looking water and then drinking the chlorine tasting result somehow didn’t appeal. Of course, as a last resort, I’d do it.

I decided to have a dip at Waterloo Beach and that kept me positive and going. There was a group of youngsters playing cards when I got there, said hello, I took my shoes off and started jogging, eyeing a spot where I could stop for the dip. A couple was coming from the opposite direction, the girl was limping a little, her knee was bandaged. Asked her if she needed anything, maybe more bandage. She said she’s OK. Asked them where they are heading to – they said Refuge Cove and asked whether it was far and whether it was straight forward getting there. I assured them it’s not that far and the track is easy to find – they can’t get lost.

Then I took my clothes off and went for that long awaited dip. Water felt really good and I wished I could stay longer. Managed to delay the starting migraine with a bit of cold water on the back of my head, but I knew that’s not over, yet. Putting the already wet clothes onto wet skin was like trying to get into a wetsuit. Jogged nearly to the beach exit (gosh they need to fix that sign – can’t see it from the distance), changed socks, then turned to start the climb, when I saw a few kids taking pictures. Then the parents… they asked me how far the turnoff to Telegraph Tk is and if it’s easy to see.

Didn’t find the hike out that bad this time, perhaps because compared to the Alps this was not a big deal, but can’t say it was easy, either. I was really thirsty, had the sour cherry juice and the little vitamin juice from the Virgin lounge (150 ml??), still hoping I’ll find water in that creek I always filled up from. I was pretty much walking like a zombie. Could hear water flowing in the valley, but didn’t feel like bush bashing… then I finally got to that creek with plenty of water. Climbed down and somehow filled up the flask (a bit like doing push ups), had the half of it, then filled it up again. I decided to fill up everything at the Lighthouse and rather carry extra than run out of water again. Saw a few hikers with water bottles in their hand – told them to be careful with the water, there’s not much along the way.

The obligatory Lighthouse door touch

At the junction I saw a backpack on the ground. Its owner obviously didn’t want to lug it up to the Lighthouse. I soon saw him and chatted with him a bit about water – of course. He said that if the tap at Lt Waterloo is not working I could go further up and get water from there. He also said there is plenty at Roaring Meg (which I knew). I asked him which way he’s going, he said he’s heading to Moaring Reg and will camp there. We had a laugh. Told him I’ll probably catch up with him on the way there.
I promptly filled up the flask at the Lighthouse and had half on the spot, then headed to the toilet (after checking all the corners for snakes, of course). There was soap!!! How nice?! It was a strong, cold wind – had to put the Bonatti on, then I took the customary selfie at the door.

When I was about to go back to the tap, I saw a boy and thought I know him… fair enough Renata (the ranger lady) appeared and was really happy to see me as was I to see her. She greeted me like an old friend – it felt really good. Then asked me if I was OK. Told her not 100% and she asked if she could get me anything. Told her if she had anything fizzy, that would be great. She brought a blue Hydralite and a glass and mixed it for me – such a beautiful gesture!!! Then Sean appeared – the guy I saw at the Prom a few other times with his son. He is training for the Marathon des Sables. We had a chat, then I thanked them and said good bye and headed down.

I was getting warm and took the Bonatti off, then thought I MUST eat something and take two Panadols, otherwise the migraine will make it way harder than it already is. I somehow swallowed two bites of one of the sandwiches and had two tomatoes, then took the Panadols. The two hikers coming towards me didn’t know what was happening and looked at me very strangely.

I tripped many times and hit my toes today. There was a bit of cursing happening… realised the Sense Pro 2 is definitely not the best shoe for the Prom. Should’ve worn the Sense Pro Max for this – next time!!

Otto called me once I was on Telegraph Tk and back in Reception World. Told him what the situation is – can’t run but walk as fast as I can and not to worry.

Tried to jog, but every time I gave it a go, I felt nauseous, forcing me to speed walk instead. At Roaring Meg – there was plenty of water – saw the hiker I spoke to at the Lighthouse earlier. He just got there. He asked me about where I came from and where I am heading. When I told him he seemed shocked. Like others before, he asked if I do this in one day. Told him yes, and my best time is 10:17 and that’s not a big deal, others can do it in about 6 hours, I am a back of pack runner. Told him about the Prom Run and the other two distances – you never know!!

I was at about 46 kms when Otto rang again, worried because he lost the signal. Told him not to worry, still can’t run, but will walk as fast as I can.

The flies!!! Gosh, they are a nightmare!! Stopped at Half Way Hut (first time) and got some water in the flask I’ve been drinking from. It was rain water and a bit luke warm, so maybe the tap water from the Lighthouse is a better choice. At least it’s cleaner.

Don’t know how I did the sandy 4WD track to Oberon Bay – just wanted to get over it. At Oberon Bay, there were quite a few people on the beach – they looked at me strangely when I appeared, waving the flies away with my white triangle bandage. The beach brought on some more pain – the March flies!!! I hit a few, but two managed to bit me, so my arm is now not so pretty with the red marks… couldn’t wait to get out of there. It was low tide but had to step through the flowing creek, so sloshing was on the cards on the way up. 5.7 km to Tidal River!! Let’s do it!

I was hoping the big flies go away once I get off the beach… I was wrong. One of them kept following me until I hit it. I was also hoping for that thunderstorm – didn’t happen. Could see Lt Oberon Bay and was already dreading that climb out. Imagined the flies making it worse, too. I tripped a few times in those rocks and that really hurt. The crows were flying across kind of laughing at me.
At Lt Oberon Bay I thought I’d just go crazy, the flies were like in a horror movie. Sand got into my shoes, didn’t care, just stepped as fast as I could. When I got to the climb out, a couple was about to set their picnic basket and rug onto the rock, they were having a great time. They looked at me like I was some alien, didn’t even say hello. Once I was on the bridge, I took a deep breath and kept thinking of that beer… it should be cold enough. Imagined how I’d open it and pour it into the tall glass I brought with me… another 3.7 km to Tidal River (which felt like eternity).

Did the few climbs, grinding my teeth, then passed the track to Norman Point (300 m), then called Otto, told him I was nearly back at Tidal River. Looked over Norman Beach – people were walking leisurely, probably with full tummies. I honestly don’t know how I did that 1.3 km from the beach to the car, all I remember is that I could smell steak, juicy steak and I wished I could have a bite; then I had to let two cars pass at the pedestrian crossing – they didn’t think it would be nice to let that crazy woman pass.

First things first: opened the boot, then the car. Got the house key out (there is a bottle opener on it), got the tall glass out of the kitchen towel (it was nice and cool from the ice pack), then opened the beer and poured it into the glass just like I imagined all the way from the Lighthouse. Had a big sip, then two smaller ones. Then put my gear down, took the shoes off, grabbed my stuff and went to have a shower. Forgot to stop the watch – only realised in the shower.

Then hobbled back to the car, tried to reach Lucinda and Steven, but facebook was overloaded, couldn’t post anything and couldn’t message. I drove around a bit, looking for their caravan; couldn’t see it and I was afraid I’d run over the kids playing on the road, so I headed home.

Food and drink

  • Toasted sandwich quarters (two bites each, really) some with butter, cheese salami and sliced cornichons, others with Philadelphia mashed with cornichons and salted capers and turkey breast. Packed grape tomatoes with them. I think I had 8 of these mini sandwiches (and tomatoes), but only had 3-4
  • VFuel gel – had one salted caramel apple
  • Clif Blok Shots – packed about 12 pieces, but only had about 6
  • Chocolate and ginger
  • 500 ml Sour Cherry Juice
  • 150 ml Fly Healthy (??) Vitamin Juice
  • Water – not sure how much I had all up, was sweating a lot. Carried the bladder and the tube in the pack to fill it up at the Lighthouse and thought refilling the soft flasks will get me there. Not on a hot day!!!

Gear

  • Didn’t take all the mandatory gear with me this time – had the Bonatti, a head torch, the PLB, snake bandage, other first aid stuff (first time I had the Panadol). Used the Bonatti at the Lighthouse – it’s always windy and cold
  • Usual Lululemon gear
  • Salomon Sense Pro 2 – the Sense Pro Max would’ve been a wiser choice here. I’ve noticed at Alpine Challenge that I wasn’t tripping that much in them
  • Salomon agile 250 belt – perfect for carrying gels, blok shots and the like
  • Triangle bandage – seems like that is an essential item in the summer, too