Mackay Mountain (make that - Magic) Marathon
25k that ends up being 28 incorporating less than 2k of bitumen, rugged 4WD bush track, flowy rainforest single trail, shade the whole way, 833m elevation gain and a creek crossing - this is a sensational course!!
Held on the first weekend of August in the spectacular Mackay hinterland know as Eungella (yun-gula) the Mackay Mountain Marathon (MMM) is well worth putting on your to do list. The two day event consists of 15, 38 and 80k mountain bike races as well as 5, 15, 25 and 55k trail runs and a kids mountain bike skills session, they cater for everyone! Check out their website for details: https://www.mackaymountainmarathon.com/
Following a 5 hour road trip (there were road works the entire way) to Mackay from Townsville on Friday afternoon and a relaxing day with family on Saturday, race day had finally arrived. Up early on Sunday morning for a delicious breakfast of sourdough toast (twice cooked - Dane!), crunchy (is there any other kind) peanut butter and strawberries it was then time to dress and make our (yep, I signed my husband up for the 15k mountain bike race - trick!) way through the fog up the range to the start line.
This race has the potential for quite cool conditions, residents experienced a -5deg morning the week prior to the race. However, race day ended up being quite warm with the average temp throughout the race being a very pleasant 20deg. Arriving at event headquarters (the smell of bacon still in the air - there are several options to dine and stay for the weekend at Eungella including bush camping at the diggings for the more intrepid to glamping tents and cabin accommodation) over an hour before the race briefings, us "out of towners" picked up our race packs (locals collect them in the days prior from Corry Cycles). We got ourselves ready, sipping on water throughout the morning to stay hydrated. The late start (8:30am) was different, however I feel it worked in my favour, allowing time for a good breakfast as well as a banana one hour before race start and a gel on the start line. I carried only 1L of water and one gel with me for the run which was sufficient, there were also aid/water stations along the way which I didn't utilise (all runners are different so it's important to practice nutrition in training - the afore mentioned is what worked for me).
55 runners toed the line for the 25k run and after the mountain bikers were on their way it was our turn to hit the well marked course which I can not rate highly enough. Very little bitumen, rugged 4WD bush track and flowy single trail through the rainforest, all in the shade, I was one extremely happy trail runner. Feeling great, thanks to a consistent training block, correct nutrition and hydration I was up and down the hills, splashing through a creek crossing, winding my way through this spectacular part of the world and the race was over in no time (well 2:50:07 according to the results). Overtaking a few mountain bike riders (not my husband - he took out 2nd place - full credit to a loooong taper) on the way also helped maintain a strong mindset. Finishing at the Eungella Chalet with sweeping views of the Pioneer Valley is sure to put a smile on even the weariest competitor.
Job done, it was time to kick back and relax with a cool beverage from the bar and chat to other incredible competitors at this event (food is also available, however we had packed our own picnic). A massive thank you must go to anyone who had a hand in pulling this event together, it was fantastic and I felt welcomed and well looked after from the moment I registered.
Meet Julie: https://www.hungryrunner.net/ourteam