rogaining race (Hallett Cove Twilight) 4:00:00  24.0 km (10:00 / km)
shoes: Asics 2000-4
Even before I'd seen the map, I knew this course was going to be a bit too big for 4 hours, given that the coastal section stretched all the way from Hallett Cove CP to Kingston Park with a control on Marino lighthouse and then in recent weeks permission had been given to use Glenthorne Farm, the CSIRO land between Main South Rd and the Southern Expressway.
Planning time went by all too quickly (we should have started half an hour earlier but had been at the winner's birthday brunch, and then it always takes me forever to tape my ankles) and we just couldn't come to a conclusion about which way to go. From the HH @Hallett Cove Schools, Zara was keen on starting out via Hallett Cove CP and the coast but I was concerned that just on running time alone, the stair section would take at least 40 min without hunting for any controls - and also I felt dimly, although I couldn't articulate it, that it wouldn't be right to be looking for a control in the same place on Waterfall Creek where someone had a fatal fall last week.
I was curious about the Field River valley, not ever having been in there, but suspected it would be fairly slow going and that the SE Reynella East section might be better. And of course, this might be our only opportunity to get into Glenthorne, but I wasn't sure that all of the above sections would fit into 4hr, not if we were going to go via Marino even if we left out the control on the lighthouse, because coming/going through O'Halloran Hill Recreation Park could take a while.
Don't think either of us was really feeling physically or mentally up for racing hard on a warm afternoon, as evidenced by the fact that even walking teams were out the school gate ahead of us. We'd eventually decided to get an 80-pointer in Field River then head west to the coast, but once down in the valley it seemed simpler to stay where it was cooler but not necessarily more lucrative and so we stood debating our options for about 5 min while teams streamed past us. In the end novelty value won out, but after an hour we'd only got 5 controls by meandering along the river valley, and I wasn't convinced that we'd have time to make it all the way around the north end of the OOB quarry to Marino and back along the stairs, especially since the next few legs through Glenthorne were going to be cross-country (only one entry and one exit point, and high fences all around), so suggested quietly that we leave the controls to the west of there just in case we needed them for later...
5 more controls in the next hour got us to the northeasternmost 70pts near the Victory Hotel on Main South Rd at the top of O'Halloran Hill after some difficulty with high fences, and since the next few were in prickly snakey long grassed scrub on the hills face zone, I anticipated that we'd again only get 5 controls in the next hour (a self-fulfilling prophecy, not helped by my overshooting a track and going too far downhill) and suggested to Z that if she really wanted to run the coastal stairs, we could come back to do this another day! Therefore we turned south from OHH Recreation Park and spent the last hour running through the suburbs picking off 7 controls at a slightly more rapid rate (although annoyingly lost 5 min due to 2 controls which were misplaced in relation to the centre of the circle) and thought we had just managed to sneak in with 2 seconds to spare but also annoyingly, the clock on display turned out to be 10 sec behind the Navlight punches and we lost 10 points for being 8 sec late (something similar happened to me & AK last year when we were sure we'd been back with 15 sec to spare).
So, we didn't feel as though this had been a great run, either on pace or points, but it turned out that 1210pts was enough for 4th place with 3 men's teams above us. 3rd place were running way faster than us and had done everything in the south & east, but had been at the bottom of OHH with 50 min left and had then bailed on the Marino/stairs plan and run back south all the way up Lonsdale Hwy, getting only one extra control because they'd already been through those suburbs. 2nd place were older and wiser than us and had done our original clockwise plan heading north up the coast, meaning that later on they made the decision to leave out Glenthorne Farm as their time grew tight. And 1st place was well-earned by John/Stefano, who went the whole way around anticlockwise, finishing off with the stairs but having trouble finding a control in the conservation park & ending up 10 min late.
And I threw out my old, now itchy prickly scratchy seedy, long socks before I even left the event!