The Milers posted a great collection of individual and team performances in the Two Bays 28km, 2024 edition. Our brave group of runners placed second out of eight teams in the 28km mixed team competition. Antony Rickards took 2nd M50 in 2:05; Bruce Davie was first M60 in 2:22 followed by Mark Willetts (2nd M60) in 2:35; Ingrid Morrison rounded out our mixed team, returning from illness to run 3:32; Stefan Vizzari ran 2:55 and Zeb Phoenix ran 3:38.
As the photo above illustrates, Bruce got a bit closer to the course with his face than he had intended. His full report follows.
My fifth 2 Bays race is in the books, and it was a great day, albeit a tougher challenge than any of my prior efforts.
tl;dr–I set a new personal worst time of 2:22:55, but managed to snag the M60 title. I also fell three times, including a pretty hard face plant just before the Stairs of Spontaneous Poetry. And I finally met race director Rohan Day in person–he greeted me like an old friend at the finish! At least, I think it was him…
The full story…
My last 2 Bays was 2021. I missed 2022 and 2023 due to injury. I have been dealing with repeated calf muscle tears–a known hazard for ageing runners. After collecting advice from three different physios, I have slowly built up my calf and hamstring strength, and I finally managed a decent training block in late 2023, peaking at 24km for my longest run, enough to qualify for 2 Bays again. My goal throughout this block was to get to the starting line in one piece, so I limited my exposure to hills–a safe strategy but one that would come back to haunt me in the race.
On race day I was lucky to be in Wave 1 (a generous reading of my 2021 results by the Judge I guess) but I knew I had to be a bit conservative given the relative lack of training. I felt I was pretty cautious up and over Arthur’s seat, knowing that was the place a calf was most likely to blow. When I got to Goolgowie street (picture below) I was all smiles because I now gave myself a good chance to finish intact. I was about 2 minutes slower than my previous time to this point.
Everything went pretty smoothly through 15k, although I was certainly nervous about the level of fatigue I was feeling with a lot of running left. At 17k I got my first small cramp in the arch of my foot, and from there on it would be a constant battle to avoid cramps. Around 20k my left leg cramped and I lost balance, falling off the side of the trail, where my right leg promptly joined the cramp party. With my hands on the trail and the rest of my body below it on a slope, I did some stretching and was able to climb back up and resume.
At Boneo Rd I grabbed a jelly snake and some sports drink and prepared for the final 5k which I know is always tough. Shortly before the Stairs of Spontaneous poetry, the woman in front of me was literally run off the trail by some (IMHO) clueless walkers. I yelled at them to offer her help, wondering if I should stop myself, but my mind was very focussed on getting to the end. (She passed me later and we met up in the medical tent – all good!) About 30 seconds later I ran down a step and my left leg buckled so fast that I slammed into the ground, hitting my face and shoulder. Both legs cramped again. I did a push-up to allow me to stretch and was able to resume jogging. At this point I was all about getting to the end without further incident so it was a slow jog and great caution on all steps from here. Even so I tripped once more on a step before the finish. After the longest 2k of my life the finish arrived and I ran across to what I thought were generous cheers and a hearty handshake from Rohan. Given the look of me (face plastered in mud and blood) I can see why there was some enthusiasm. Off to the medical tent for a clean-up and concussion check (all good!) and then joined some of my Midday Miler friends for a debrief.
Conclusions: wow I was better trained when I ran this the previous four times. But running at age 60 is different than running at age 57, and there is a reason there are fewer of us in this age-group. I am so happy to be back racing on this trail and to feel like I have a path forward to keep tackling these sorts of events. Huge thanks to the race organisers and all the volunteers who make this my favourite race in the world.