The trails around Woodford Dam have been virtually unknown to the public, being locked away as Catchment land beyond public access for many decades until late last year. When the Sydney Catchment Authority far-sightedly opened these areas to the public, word spread slowly through the local running and mountain biking community. Steep trails through quiet valleys appealed as a perfect venue for the new Running Wild series.
The 31st October was warm and muggy with rain forecast, but the conditions did not prevent 82 runners descending upon the quiet burghers of Woodford to run in the first ever competitive event in this area. The main pack was led off by a clear group of four- Six Foot Track course record holder Ben Artup, Fitzroy Falls winner Mick Donges, the metronomic Brendan Davies and super coach Sean Williams. Some route- finding confusion led Brendan astray early but the pack soon reformed. Behind them, Mt Portal female winner Joanne Barton was consolidating her position again.
The course mixed in hills and water- following the edge of the dam and passing several quiet waterfalls with four big hills and corresponding downhills. Ben Artup was the first to round the corner and charge uphill to the finish line in an unexpectedly fast 1.23. Two minutes later Mick Donges narrowly edged out Brendan Davies for second, and Jo Barton was the leading female from start to finish.
Runners continued to come for more than an hour following, pushing up the hill to the line and then dragging themselves off to the waiting BBQ, a cold drink and a good chat before heading off to enjoy the rest of the day.
The first Running Wild race at Mt Portal had exactly 50 runners, so 82 at the second one is extremely encouraging. The next two races are at Wentworth Falls and then the trail marathon at Glenbrook where hopefully the trend continues. Full details of the Running Wild trail series are at www.runningwildnsw.com
Keep an eye on the results page on the website. We will be running an aggregate point score over the whole mountain series. This is open to members only and points will be allocated on a descending scale to all members that compete in every race. Best 4 of 6 results will be counted, so don‟t despair if you miss a race. End of year trophy and prizes awarded for leading male and female. Leaders thus far:
- Ben Artup 88pts
- Mick Donges 88pts
- Brendan Davies 87pts
- Joanne Barton 71pts
- Anne Mackie 46pts
- Gill Fowler 36pts