Yesterday Mrs RunDave and I walked 61km in the southern charity challenge, an event to raise money for oxfam. The course started at Goolwa, followed a bike track all the way to the bluff at Encounter Bay, over the bluff and around Petrel Cove, inland to Back Valley, and around a 23km loop to Mt Robinson and back to Back Valley hall. We started at 9am and finished 10 hours 15 minutes later. We somehow finished first, although there were only five other teams doing the 61km event and I'm not sure how many of those teams actually finished.
Other teams or individuals chose to do 15, 21 or 35 km events, with a total of around 180 people taking part. At the start, all of those running the 15 and half marathon, and one couple who were aiming to run the 61km took off into the distance, while we kept pace with most of the other walkers. At 15 and 21 km we walked past many walkers who had just finished who showed great surprise that we were continuing on to 60km at that pace.
The day was really warming up, and as we reached the 35km checkpoint, we found out that the couple who were running the 60 had to pull out due to the heat. With 25km to go we were feeling very good, but that changed as our feet started to get sore from walking over the rough roads on the 23km loop around Back Valley. A couple of Neurofens and the realisation that we were near the finish helped us to get through the last 12 or so km. We walked the last 3km along bitumen to the finish in 24 minutes! So happy were we to be just about to finish.
I must say how proud I am of Mrs RunDave to not only finish this event, but also how she powered through it oblivious to the pain in her legs and feet. Being more accustomed to running long distances, I found walking 61km very tough, and my legs were extremely sore at the end (plus a few blisters in odd places). I can't wait to do some more long distance events with her - maybe with some running next time!
Finally, thanks to the organiser of the event, Brad Butler. He does a great job putting this event together largely by himself. The run/walk has a fairly casual feel to it but it is extremely well organised. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to participate in this type of event, and I reckon it would be even better with a larger field. I think it will be on April 8 next year (to coincide with the full moon).