So July 2015 saw the inaugural Rafferty’s Coastal Run launch out at Lake Macquarie. This race definitely had a more upmarket feel to it. The race hub is in the grounds of the Rafferty’s Resort – a waterfront resort on the shores of Lake Macquarie. With its swimming pool and chalets and real toilets, it’s a far cry from the usual trail race hubs! But if you’re a fan of the “off the beaten tracks” don’t judge this book by its cover. There are some great sections of trail in this run with a stunning cliff side adventure that makes this run worth adding to your list
The race starts with a couple of kms winding through and eventually out of the resort. There’s a decent wee road climb right at the start to get the legs warmed up and the lungs working. Then it’s some wide single trail and a bit of fire-ish tracks weaving through the bush making your way out to the coast.
So full disclosure time, I am writing this a good 6 months after doing the run, see I only decided to start my blog as a bit of New Year’s thing in 2016. And if I’m honest, I’m really struggling to recall what the race was like for the most part running up to the coast. But don’t worry I will be returning to the Rafferty’s trails in 2016 to compete in the 35km run as part of the Triple Challenge 2016. So I’ll do a much more comprehensive report then. But I’m going out on a limb to say that it there wasn’t much excitement or tough times leading up to the coast hence why I’m struggling to recall much of the run!
But there’s one part you’d be hard pushed to forget and that’s the second you start you climb down to the water. Scaling down a rocky cliff takes you to the water’s edge where there’s a serious looking race official making sure you’re not bounding down out of control and straight into the sea.
As an FYI for any keen adventure racers, there’s a Paddy Pallin adventure race out here (Cam’s Wharf) that makes you swim across the inlet here as part of the coasteering leg of the race. I 100% recommend this adventure race to anyone who’s interested, it’s sooooooooo much fun! Remains my favourite adventure race to date! Oh and reminds me to check out the 2016 dates as it’s usually early in the year.
Once you’ve clambered down to the coast there’s a lovely c1km run along the rocky coast and it’s beautiful. Nobody but the runners and a few fishermen and the sea breeze in your face, heavenly! But at this point you’re only 12kms in and there’s 10km more to go so it’s time to get the game face back on as you start a decent climb back into the bush and head for the finish line. A nice thing about this course is that there’s no back tracking, it’s a figure of 8 style course with minimal cross over. The finish line approach is from the other side of the resort which is nice as there’s not as much running around the chalets. There’s a bit of a straight before the finish so the Mrs was able to snap some pictures of me coming across the line.
All and all a fun run, not too tough due to the limited elevation gain. I finished in 2:21:47 and placed 74th out of 223. Again a significant improvement in my placings getting me into the top third finishers. I think that’s more to do with the openness of the race to first timers due to the lack of technicality.
On the gear side, this was the first time I ran a race in my DirtyGal Gaiters! They ROCK! Literally (see my skulls & crossbones design a nod to my inner goth!). They kept all the grit and sand out my shoes but my feet didn’t get too hot either. They’re really easy to get on and off but do require gluing Velcro to your runners. This wasn’t an issue for me and I prefer this to the idea of the straps under the shoes as I can’t see how they don’t get caught / wear through and snap! Also they come in so many cool colours and themes. I got mine from a local shop in Sydney - https://www.trekandtravel.com.au I recommend trail runners (and road runners) to shop locally where they can, it’s important to support the small businesses that specialise in the less mainstream sports. You can get some great advice from these shops and that’s often worth more than a 10-15% saving on the cost of the item. I’ll do a post soon on some of my other recommendations for both gear and shopping locally.