This had to be one of my favourite races this season. I just had to share it with you.
I first heard about the Southern Highlands Challenge when April, the race director became a member on RMA. She contacted me and asked if we could share her inaugural race with our members. April is an amazing woman and runner and had a passion to see a trail event that not only was unique and amazing, but that celebrated women running. A lot of trail events are geared towards men and a lot of men seem to take the limelight as they are quite strong on trails and she wanted an event where women felt comfortable and inspired to run along side each other on some gorgeous trails. She also wanted to get the kids involved and there was three distances on offer. A 6km women and kids trail run where men were free to run also, but were not going to receive prizes or as podium finishers…., a half marathon and a 50k ultra.
As my daughter and I were offered to come as guests we entered the 6km trail race. We have been waiting patiently for this run to arrive and we were SO EXCITED. Not only was it Hannah’s first real official trail race, and her second official race it was my first official race WITH her. Let me say that it came at a great time as I had just run the Adelaide marathon the week before so I really needed an excuse not to leave her in my wake! 🙂 I just wanted to carve up those trails I tell you!
But really, I stuck to the plan and my commitment to run with Hannah and she did really really well.
As we started off the air seemed quite thick and we did find it a little harder to breathe, but nothing felt more comforting than looking around to see nature and feeling the crisp air on my lungs and my little girl, all of 10 years old running next to me. Everything just felt right.
She paced herself nicely and had to take a few walk breaks when things got hard. She had only previously run about 5kms so to her this race was further than she had trained for. The amazing and super friendly Brendan Davies from Up Coaching was the kids ambassador and he ran along side us for a while (after already running the half marathon) and he was so encouraging to the kids, pushing them and spurring them on. As we came to the 6km mark on my garmin I said to her, “you have 500mts or so to go, so now I want you to dig deep and give it all you have got” and something inside her just let loose. Off we went and up around the bend towards the finish. We could hear the crowds and I was SO excited for her to go through her first trail finish line.
When we crossed the line I felt like crying. Hannah felt like dying, but she was soon donned with her medal and a huge smile was across her face. I couldn’t have been more proud. Out of all my races, this meant the most to me. To see my daughter doing what I love, to see her feel a sense of accomplishment and pride doing what she loves.
me and fellow RMAer Kellie
The best thing about this race was not only the gorgeous location, but the people who attended were so friendly. You actually don’t always get that feeling on a road race, but there was a real family feel about this event and it was full of down-to-earth people who just love to get out into nature and run.
There was so much to do at the race precinct too, there was fires that kept everyone warm, stalls, an animal farm for the kids, smores and a bbq run by the local school. It was a real community event.
We spent the next hour or so watching the half marathoners come through and even some of the 50k runners, which is just amazing and I really hope that I can be among them next year!
RMAer Mel with her girls who ran the 6km event!
Hannah really wanted to stay to hear if she made a place and I really wasn’t sure, but she did! She was 3rd female under 13s and got the best prizes.
Hannah with legend ultra runner Brendan Davies and Sweat Sydney’s Sean Williams
I fell in love with trails that day, and I fell in love with running once more and I fell in love with my daughter all over again.