At last ... an event I was adequately prepared for. One that I had actually done some form of training for!! Huzzah! This was in the form of the Runningworks Lark Hill Dusk 'til Dawn Ultra 2020 and is organised by David Kennedy. There are different distances in this event including a kid’s event (45 min), 25km, 50km and a 100km. Set on a hard limestone trail, this 3km loop has a 200m soft sand section, small hills that get bigger and bigger with each lap and a punishing climb into the aid station.
This event is held annually, starting in 2012. The 50km and 100km ultras both share a 13-hour cut off making it possible for walkers to join in on the 50km. The start time is 7pm. As the name suggests it is a night run, so a headlamp is an essential piece of kit, however it is possible to turn the lamp off for a few laps and enjoy the moonlit serenity.
Set in bushland adjacent to the Lark Hill Sportsplex in Port Kennedy, W.A this a favourite for locals and visitors and one that the Runnovation team have enjoyed for several years. This is the third time I’ve ran it and I have to admit that I find it a difficult run. It’s solid enough to run with a bit of speed but those hills and sand really make you work for it.
This year I competed in the 25km event and had an awesome experience. I met up with a couple of friends along the way and we ended up running it together with an average pace of 6:25/km and completing it in 2:40:06. Thanks so much for the company Ilze and Darryl. The atmosphere here is what you’d expect from trail events. Runners coming together to volunteer, support and encourage fellow runners, even well into the night. The buzz and excitement is always refreshing when running through the aid station and you certainly feel the love with cheers, high fives and people eager to help in any way they can.
The first year I competed in this event I entered the 50km ultra. It was really tough and I remember doing a lot more walking than I’d planned. As is common within the running community, when a runner is need of help there is usually someone there willing to give it and this came in the form of my friends Darryl and Khalid. Darryl and Khalid found me in that event and realising I was struggling helped me along and gave me the company, distraction and motivation that I needed at the time. Even after they had finished their own events, they did the extra few laps to get me over the line. It was and still is very much appreciated.
"Minutes later I was staring at a registration email with a confused, scared look on my face and a poo threatening to come out unannounced and unplanned."
The next year was a frightful tale. A cautionary tale if you will. About a week prior I saw the event pop up on my newsfeed and mentioned to my beautiful partner Nicola that I wished I was doing that event. What I didn’t say was that because I hadn’t been running much that year it would be stupid to even think about attempting it. What she heard was that I really, really, really wanted to do it but hadn’t yet registered and thought that this would make a great surprise. Minutes later I was staring at a registration email with a confused, scared look on my face and a poo threatening to come out unannounced and unplanned.
Needless to say, I didn’t finish that 50km. Also, at the time I was getting sick a lot. We hadn’t figured out why at the time but later realised it was because of allergies to wheat, dairy, nuts and soy. So, the carb loading on the day of the event and all the nutrition I was putting into my body during was having a counterproductive effect on me. And if that wasn’t enough, we had spent hours in an emergency room with a 4-month-old with a temperature just hours before.
So glad to say that this year was so much easier. The loops can get a little monotonous when doing a solo 50km (that’s 17 laps) but you hardly even notice them on a 25km (8 laps) with good friends. It would be really nice to see walkers embrace this event, particularly since the field thins out once the 25km runners finish. The energy and enthusiasm from the aid station however never waivers and because of this it has become one of my favourites.
A lot of good results were seen on the night but I’m only going to mention one. Readers can look up the results on the event’s pages if they want more. My good friend Michael set a new 100km course record with an unbelievable time of 7:54:27. It was both a pleasure and an opportunity for self-hatred every time he lapped us. Congratulations also to our very own Sian (Nic’s mum) for running her very first 25km event, she is a regular running buddy of ours and it was so amazing to see her go from a beginner runner to completing that distance in less than a year!