Tuesday, 17 June 2014



What a misleading title.  I didn't run the Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon 2014; but camping and hanging out with a bunch of crazy runners from The Berowra Bush Runners was so enjoyable in 2013 I had to return to just hang around and bludge. I had just run The North Face 100 a month ago and not prepared to run a marathon just yet. I also had some unfinished business from 2013.

Last year the run was cut short and we couldn't run all the way to Glen Davis, so I wanted to complete the last 1km section and have a wander around Glen Davis.  Running a marathon I was a tad busy running, and I couldn't stop and take the time to smell the acacia.  I also had to run on the Sunday in 2013 so it was off to bed early with plenty of red left in the bottle. I planned on rectifying all these situations in 2014.

Waking at 4.30am on a freezing cold Saturday to torrential rain I was undaunted (well, maybe a little).  Nonetheless I jumped in the car and headed off.

The pub at Newnes

I arrived at Newnes while the half marathon was happening.  Found where all the gang was camping, grabbed my gear, and set off up the Pipeline Track.  I quickly found out (the hard way - ouch) that since last year a lot of stinging nettles had grown up.  I ran through some the ruins at Newnes but it was a bit too chilly to stop.  Later.  Then it was time to head up the Pipeline Track.

In 2013 the trip up the trail was frustratingly slow (lots of tired runners do that).  Today was a nice steady constant walk to the top.  I had planned a nice rest in the sun at the lookout, but I was dripping with sweat and the wind was freezing.  Maybe on the return trip.

The huge amount of rain had made things a little slippery, and there was lots of leaf litter, but the track was lovely and clear, and a pleasure to run/ walk along, and so very pretty.

Off in the distance I began getting glimpses of Glen Davis.

There was plenty of time today to stop and smell the acacia - and there was plenty of it.  In patches the smell was magnificent.

NPWS websites had told me the last section was closed, and I had head out along the track quite accepting of finishing short.  After being turned around early in last years Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon, I had asked "why".  I had heard tales of shot gun bearing private land holders wearing tin foil to ward off aliens.  Sadly, no such thing occurred.  I simply wandered on into Glen Davis.  I had expected a ghost town, but found instead a small lonely bunch of houses.  Nothing exciting.  The views however, were MAGNIFICENT ! What a valley.

even though it was midday, there was still mist up in the pass

Coco Street was fabulous.  A long strip cut by a ride on mower through metre high grass.

After a bit of wandering around, it was time to head back.  The Glen Davis end has a good old fashioned sign to start you off.  Nothing like a pointy bit of wood and a can of paint.

and off we go
Setting off it was cold, so I had rugged up in thermal leggings.  ooh, so sexy.  I had happily wandered around Glen Davis without getting beaten up, but soon after heading back, it became blazing hot and I had to stop and strip off a bit.  Then it was back to the uphill climb.  Last year I somehow managed to wander off track on the uphill climb.  This year on the way down to Glen Davis I recognised the point where I had veered off to the west.  Made a mental note "don't go the wrong way on the way back".  It was all clearly marked with pink marker ribbon for Sunday's marathon, so surely I couldn't go wrong this year.  Yet somehow on the way back I found myself standing in the same spot having gone wrong in exactly the same spot.  Again.  Honestly I amaze myself sometimes.
all that nice down hill is now uphill

When I reached the top of the climb at Pagoda Lookout, it was so much warmer than earlier in the day.  Last year I had raced across to the turnaround, quick photo, then back to the marathon.  Today I was happy to wander around and enjoy the views.  Of which there are plenty.

from Pagoda Lookout

looking down onto the Pipeline Track

Looking down onto the Pipeline Track

Walking down the Pipeline Track looking up to the look out

It is called the Pipeline Track because there used to be a pipe line

As some may be aware, last year when I ran the marathon, I encountered a fellow I dubbed "Marathon Man".  He held up a group of about 20 runners as he meandered and struggled his way down.  This year I hit this section and RAN !! It was a moment of turning back time to right a wrong of the past.  It was lovely and liberating.  Yee haaaaaaaa ! 
the lovely downhill section

After a quick descent to the start of the Pipeline Track, I took time to wander around and explore some of the Newnes ruins.  It was so quiet and green and peaceful.  Just beware the stinging nettles.  I have seen photos of old Newnes as a hub of industry and pollution, and it is so hard to reconcile the past with the present.  Now it is so calm and pretty.

all those lovely ferns and nettles

steps up to what must have been a large house

After several hours of walking and running it was back to the camp site - the most spectacular camp site I have ever seen.  Every time I walked a bit, I turned around to be greeted with a totally new set of views.  Exactly why I wanted to come back this year.  An amazing place. 

The Berowra Bush Runners al camped together

The Berowra Bush Runners camp site
As the sun went down we all sat around and chatted.  Kids ran around everywhere.  Food of all kinds was being consumed in all manner of ways.  Flaming, fiery, blazing marshmallows seemed to be a favourite despite the best efforts of parents to get healthier options on board.  Suddenly the kids were gone.  Then suddenly the adults were gone and I was all alone.  Nothing left for me to do but get out my guitar and finish off the red wine and make it a perfect day.  Which I quite happily did.  Maybe next year we will have a camp fire sing a long.

The next morning was fun as I woke at 5.30, brewed coffee, and wandered off to see the early group head out.  The Race Director had (apparently drunkenly at about midnight) set up the course markers right through the camp site.  It was a fabulous sight as the line of head torches silently ran through the pre dawn camp site.  Then a couple of hours later we all sat in camp chairs with our coffees and clapped them on as they reached the half way mark.  The kids had been given cow bells to ring.  Brilliant fun.

Last year it had been a huge challenge to finish the marathon by 2pm, pack up, drive for 3 hours, get home at 7pm.  This year I left at 10am after the winner had come in, and was home by 1pm.  Far more civilized.  Maybe next year a 6am start after a bottle of red wine and a sing a long could work ? Time will tell.  See you in 2015 at Newnes.

1 comment: