Race Recap – Sydney Trail Series (Summer)

Many of our runners took part in the Sydney Trail Series over Spring & Summer 2017-2018. One of them, Kathy, talks us through her experiences over the Summer events and her delightful win!

The Sydney Trail Series (STS) is a set of three runs held over three consecutive months in Summer (January, February and March) and Spring (September, October and November). The 2018 Summer series which has just finished was held this year at Manly Dam. Event distances included 10, 12 and 22km with a 30 km extra long run available in event 3. The bonus of events at Manly Dam is the opportunity to cool off and start your leg recovery by having a dip in the dam afterwards.

I first heard of the STS a year or so ago (when trail runs were only very new to me and a little daunting), but the past 12 months have seen me step up to the challenges and joys of trails as I head towards UTA22 2018.

The beauty of running this three run series includes –

  • Running and revisiting a set trail under event conditions, professionally timed;
  • Challenging yourself to better your last run – weather permitting! This was not something I was able to do with run 3, as it was incredibly hot, but I did show a significant improvement from runs 1 to 2 which helped me to see the improvements I had made over four weeks of trail-focused training;
  • If you choose to enter the series you only pay the price of two runs making the third run free (got to love a bargain!);
  • Also when you enter the series you have flexibility to go up or down a distance should you wish to challenge yourself further as you improve as one of our team mates Jodi did this year, completing 2 x 12km events and then finishing the series with the 22km event;
  • Seeing the same area over three months gives you a chance to see the changes that occur with varying weather conditions, including rain, sun and more sun!
  • There are rewards for consistency. In each series runners accumulate their times for their events in their age categories. To my surprise, across this series I managed to pull off first in age category! All achieved through consistency and perseverance. My times were not ranking me first in any of the series runs but I was consistent and completed all three events in the series.

Course Description

So what are you in for?

The Manly Dam 12km course provides a 1.5km – 2km road start which undulates through the park area and then goes up- straight up – rock steps to the trail. This can be a slow section of the trail but it also provides a chance to keep your heart rate in check. The next 1-2km heads through single trail leading you to yet another upward section which leads you to the Manly pipeline which you can go under or over. This is the highest point of the trail and a chance to hydrate at the aid station before you head off along the pipeline and under the pipe again (watch out for sand!). From here the decline starts – although there are some more little hills to be had!

Like all trails it is important to keep your wits about you and be mindful of your running technique but that is the beauty of trail running you get the chance to run, march and walk as you need to and if fatigue sets in you just pull back, focus and keep going.

Something I really enjoyed about completing all three events in the series was learning to recognise sections of the run, Some came up quicker than the previous event and some took what seemed like an eternity and despite running the course three times there were sections that seemed brand new, even on the third run.

Throughout this series I have had the pleasure of being supported by and running with Jodi, Richard, Jan, Hollee, Tina, Orsi, Elaine and my super speedy hubby Brett – all members of our RR team. Another of the great advantages to running trails is that you often manage to meet people along the way on your run and you begin to support each other and push each other through the tough sections – the camaraderie is great.

The Spring series for this year (2018) is to be held on the stunning coastal trails of Kamay National Park in Kurnell, Sydney. It’s a great way to get into trail runs.

So who is signing up? 😉


Some of Team RR at STS

About Rachel Allworth (113 Articles)
Owner & Coach - Rachel's Runners

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