Tried something different and opted for a minimalist approach carrying only handhelds and a brick phone (everyone else had a pack) to meet the 1L requirements + 2 clif blocks. Also wanted to see how strength in my arms were post-surgery. Started with a 1.5km road out-and-back and sussed out no guns were here so stuck in the lead pack of 4 headed by ginger marathon man, clunky backpack guy and beard dude.
Surprised how good the trails around Manly Dam were despite a lot of ducking and weaving. In hindsight the pace here was a bit too hot for me but stayed at the back of the train and wanted to see how long i could hold on. Near the aquatic center where the pipeline is we all went over the top because that was what was marked but clunky backpack guy went under and created a 20 sec gap. We all agreed it was a bit of a dog move. We hunted him down through some wiggly fun mtb tracks and i pushed down Timbergetters to catch him. 2:40 ginger marathon man dropped off and never saw him again.
Hadn't been on the Bay Track before and was doing my best not to stack it. At 13km there was a steep bit and after that beard dude (who ended up crushing it in 3:30) and clunky backpack guy put on a surge and dropped me :( Legs were getting heavy after the grind up Killarney Dr, right knee getting a bit funny and signs of a queeze lurking. I had thoughts of ditching to Chatswood then decided to just hold a consistent UTA100 pace to the end and enjoy it more.
Knee got better along Lyrebird firetrail bit and had a blast along Middle Harbour track but very cautious on creek crossings and technical sections. Filled up 1L at Cascades 30km in, smashed a coke and some watermelon. Instantly regretting filling that much though, only ended up using 500ml to the end (1.5L for whole run). Felt good grinding up Bare Creek then a tough slog up what i mentally labelled "Bitchener" St. Hadn't seen anyone for 2hrs so surprised to see clunky backpack guy hiking up the road. I ran the whole of it, timing the traffic lights perfectly, and caught him going down. He looked completely stuffed so did the 'accelerate-hard-and-look-strong' tactic. It worked.
Sweet. 2nd place with 4km to go. Then came to a volunteer who directed me left along the Mueller Track. There were tonnes of 12km and 25km runners so i didn't argue but looking at the map i went the wrong way - cost maybe 3-5mins? I mean come on, you literally had one job. Not that it mattered though. I was plodding along comfy about 37km in when out of nowhere 2 guys i hadn't seen before came charging past before i could react. Well shit. Tried to put on a kick and a small push up the climb but they were running hard rotating turns up the front (Tommy and Justin finished equal 2nd - great guys to chat to afterwards). Ended up dawdling to the finish 1min or so behind but super happy with the effort i put in. Results