The ANZAC Ultra was to be a one time only, six day event, to celebrate 100 years since Gallipoli, and to raise funds for LEGACY (over $75,000 raised by the event so far). I have been following the unfolding of this event for years as Phil Essam and a team of dedicated souls toiled to ensure the event took place despite the best efforts of bureaucracy. I was so happy to somehow be a part of it. Starting Monday, there were to be 450km , 300km, and 150km events for both solo runners and teams, all finishing about Sunday. There was also a 75km event available any day as long as you started at 8am. I was off to pace and crew Gav in the solo 450km "Lone Pine" event. His wife Bek and their kids were also coming, as well as the cement drinking, rusty nail munching Jeff Hodder. Together we were Team TAILWIND (the calorie + electrolytes drink Gav distributes - “All you need, all day. Really !”). So crack a can of Harden Up and come along for the ride.
ANZAC ULTRA 2015
First a quote from “Heart of Darkness”, a film about the making of the 70's classic “Apocalypse Now”.
"We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane" – Francis Ford Coppolla
|Home sweet home for the next week|
DAY 1 - Monday 5.30 am
The alarm is set for 6, but I am already up by then. It is race morning and I am excited. There are 450kms to be run, but not by me, which makes it even more exciting. It is still dark and freezing, but as I wander about drinking my chocky milk, washed down with two hot coffees, the dawn is breaking and the day looks fine and sunny. Considering the rain yesterday, and the weather predictions, this is good news. I wander about and talk to volunteers who have obviously been up and about long before me. They are unbelievably happy and chatty. As the week unfolded I was discover that these amazing souls were always like this, no matter what the hour.
|The perfect sunrise|
At about 7am, Princess Gav awakes from his slumber and we offer to make him a nice coffee. He smiles and tells us (again) that he is shitting himself. He drinks his coffee, eats some food, and nervously gets ready. Jeff has decided to enter the 75km "Sister Ella Tucker" event as well as crewing. He sits crushing rocks in his bare hands as he awaits the start.
|All smiles as Jeff calmly prepares and Gav quietly shits himself|
|countdown to the start|
Just before 8, there is a gathering of all runners (about fifty hardy souls) and their crew. A few words, and then they set off at a shuffle. Very low key. Quite surreal. We wander back to camp to finish breakfast and get organised for the day.
|Slow down ! You still have 449.5km to go !|
|Jeff off at his own pace|
Off in the bus to Check Point 1 (Tuggeranong Shopping Centre - 23km). This was the first in what was to be many many epic drives back and forth, up and down, around and around Canberra being guided by our trusty map Eric (a Monty Python reference to Eric the Half a Bee – the map had the course in two halves so we constantly had to turn/refold constantly which just added to the fun of navigating in the dark and wet). Jeff and I surely qualified for our taxi licenses during our stay. Being gentlemen off a certain age, matters were complicated by having to constantly put glasses on, take glasses off as we squinted our way around Canberra whilst reading and flipping and refolding Eric. Bek drove her car, and cheated by simply tapping on her phone with GPS and was guided to her destination by a gentleman with a suave voice. No taxi license for her.
Arriving at CP 1 I was confronted by a wall of traffic. Worth mentioning that I was driving Gav's enormous TAILWIND Bus for the first time, and when I found myself trapped and taking a leisurely 15 minute turn around a bumper to bumper car park I was a tad apprehensive. Eventually we emerged and I had to locate a parking space where I could park a bus. By now I was worried about missing Gav totally, so Ryleigh (Gav's daughter) and I loaded up with everything we thought would be needed and tramped everthing over to the CP area.
Jeff arrives he calmly goes through CP1 (possibly a tautology as Jeff is the definition of calm). He says “if Gav comes through less than half hour behind me, tell him to slow down, he is going too fast”.
|Gav entering CP1 all smiley and happy and eager to change his shoes|
Five minutes later Gav arrives. I inform him off Jeff's advice, but he is in a rush. He asks for his shoes. Shoes ? Oh that huge box still back in the van. I offer to run across for them, but he is off in a blur.
Bek is driving her car, and we go through the maps and organise a way point to meet him with the box of shoes. After much confusion and more than a few traffic violations, we meet him along the way. There is a shoe swap, and he is gone.
|Gav heading into our improvised shoe swap area. In another 24 hours the canal on the left would be a raging torrent|
Bek and I head to the CP 2 Gav has marked on the map. There is nothing. An empty street. We wander around, and there is still nothing. We reconsult the course notes, which tells us that CP 2 is about 5km away by the lake at Lennox Gardens. As this race has evolved over several years, the course has changed constantly. Even the last few weeks has seen continuous changes. We are worried that possibly we have an old version of the course map, and if we stay here we will be off the course and will totally miss him altogether. There are no runners anywhere in sight. We head off to the officially designated CP 2 hoping we are right.
|A shameless plug for TAILWIND NUTRITION, but not as shameless as Bek and I nonchalantly lurking behind interviewees|
Upon arrival at CP2 (Lennox Gardens - 50km), there is a distance between parking area and CP. To avoid a repeat of last time, we dutifully lug everything (shoe box included) across to the CP. Folks are amazed as we lay out every possible piece of gear/ food/ drink a runner could possibly desire, like a one man Expo display.
The ABC news crew are present, trying to grab a few words as runners come in. Some relay team runners are good for a chat. Sam Weir (eventual 450km winner) arrives and is interviewed as well. Bek and I in our TAILWIND shirts strategically (and shamelessly) loiter and repeatedly pass by in the background to try sneak into the footage.
|Sam Weir arriving at CP2- eventual 450km winner|
|Kevin Heaton into CP2 - eventual 2nd in 450km event|
|Jeff Hodder arriving at CP2 - knocked off a lazy 75km before crewing duties|
Gav arrives in a blur, then is off again. A tad cranky we weren't at the other CP2. It is warm, so Bek and I drive across the lake to meet Jeff on the other side of the lake and get him a cool drink. As we wait, Kevin Heaton comes trotting by and we offer aid. He would like a drink, hands me his bottle to fill, then keeps walking. By the time I catch up with him I am buggered. The man is relentless.
We head back to Stromlo Forest Park (the start/ finish area). We lay all Gav's night gear out on a chair. Eventually he arrives; one lap done, only five to go. Bek thinks Gav might like company for a while, and she could ride alongside on the bike. Gav is not thrilled by the idea. He is in a rush and I am worried he is going to overlook something. I ask him “are you sure you have all your gear” before Gav and Bek leave. Bek soon returns on the bike. He doesn't have his head torch (because he was sitting on it). Bek heads off, then calls to be picked up down the course. A simple straight line on a bike turns out to be a big loop in the bus and I discover more Canberra streets.
|Jeff finishing his 75km event. Turns out he won the bloody thing as well as crewing all week. Legend|
As darkness descends, we head off to CP1 (Tuggeranong). As we await, the sky is filled with lightning, and thunder rages. A light rain now, but there is so much more heading our way. Gav arrives and Jeff does his best to convince him to layer up, but he is still in a rush and tears off into the night. We plan to meet him at an unmanned water stop (about 43km mark).
Back at Stromlo the storm has arrived, and Bek organises the kids to go out for dinner. Jeff heads off to freshen up (don't forget he has run 75km already today). By now it is pouring rain and freezing cold. Gav calls to say he needs to be met with more gear ASAP. Meet at Jackie Howe Crescent. In fact, I should bring sleeping gear as well. We may be crashing in the bus and stopping for the night so we can start tomorrow. Jeff and Bek can collect the bus next day.
I try to summarise all this into a text message which I send to Jeff and Bek. Then I begin to think through a) what will Gav need tomorrow, b) getting dressed to stay warm, c) camping in a bus all night, d) wake up ready to run tomorrow. As I am leaving, Jeff appears and leaps onboard the bus and we head off to Jackie Howe Crescent (a spot we were to get to know well).
As we navigate through the Canberra night, Gav calls to say he has already passed that point and to keep on going. Meet at another point instead. ”Jeff will know” says Gav. This was a mistake.
What followed was endless driving back and forth along empty roads, beeping horns to try catch Gav's ears, and repeated phone calls from a distressed and increasingly hypothermic runner who was in some underpass we could not find. Eventually another crew found him, wrapped him in blankets and filled him with hot coffee until we eventually got to him. Day 1 was over. We took him back to Stromlo and chucked his shivering body into bed. “Wake me at 6”. No worries you crazy bastard.
Day 2 – Tuesday 5.30am – about 1 ½ laps down
Alarm ringing after a night of wind and rain. Sometime in the night a fox had tried to dismantle the campsite. I vaguely remember lots of voices, and Gav dealing with it. Just what he needed I'm sure. Get out of bed and make coffee. Still dressed from last night, so recheck gear for a long day at the office.
We get Gav back to where we finished, which looks nothing like it did last night. It is warm and sunny now, but the predicted weather is for more absolute hell to descend from the skies. In anticipation of massive rain, I apply copious amounts of vaseline, and as we begin our run to CP 2, I am gliding along smoothly.
We run through bushland, and pass the unmanned water stop we were supposed to meet at last night, a long way from where we actually found him. Suddenly we cross a major road with people dressed for work, and kids off to school. We wander clean suburbia looking like hobos. I tell Gav that the word “pacer” stands for “Persons Arranging Chaotic Emergency Rescues” (although if we do our job well, we can swap “arranging” for “avoiding” and save everyone a lot of trouble). We cross Red Hill where I encounter the red mud Jeff warned about. This muck adds about one kilo per foot. We enter the grounds of Parliament House which are stunningly beautiful. I warn Gav about the spider web, the spider web, the spider web...splat. He seems surprised to have run into a spider web. We enter Lennox Gardens and begin the lake side run to CP 2. From CP 2 I ride the bike around the lake while Gav runs. He races into a public toilet and I worry he has fallen in as he takes so long. He emerges, then I begin pointing out all the pretty girls running by. He asks if I feel guilty riding the bike. I confess that I do a little, then point out some more pretty girls and feel better.
We are set to meet Jeff and Bek on the other side of the lake at the rowing sheds (60km mark), where Bek will pace him the last 16km of the loop through the Arboretum (noun: arboretum ; a botanical garden devoted to trees) to Stromlo. By all accounts this is a lovely section. It may want to be, because Gav appears to be entering world of hurt. When we arrive, he sits in the chair for a while, we set him up to continue, then the two love birds head out for a romantic run in the rain.
|here come Gav and Jeff...|
|... where luxury awaits|
|The Love Birds about to set off to Stromlo. The look of pleasure on their faces...well Bek's anyhow.|
After a while, the pair appear at Stromlo as the rain belts down. Two laps down, four to go. Gav looks smashed, but he manfully prepares for what is obviously going to be a hellacious downpour.
Apologies from this point if my recollection of events are scatty. Things got weird. The weather became insane. At some point Gav and Jeff headed out for lap 3. I drove the bus to CP 1 (Tuggeranong) to meet them. They arrived wet and bedraggled. I stole Jeff's waterproof pants and started out into the night pacing Gav. Jeff was off to park at the unmanned water stop and await our arrival. I had a few sleep bunnies hopping around in my head, but I found walking through the rain and dark quite relaxing and was enjoying myself. Lots of paths, parks, and beautiful tree smells. In contrast, it was clear Gav was hurting. Getting closer to Jackie Howe Crescent (again) Gav decided he needed to stop there, so could I please phone Jeff to meet us.
Many phone calls later, it became clear we had a problem. Jeff wasn't answering. Later he discovered he had somehow managed to set his phone to silent. Gav began ringing as well. No answer. By now the rain was torrential, the temperature was plummeting, and the water we were trudging through was icy. Gav was becoming hypothermic (again). We found an overpass to shelter under, and Gav dug out his space blanket. I had realised that my space blanket was in the bus – a bad pacer mistake I will never ever make again. Gav was hungry, so I dug out a Clif bar. Nothing suss about two blokes huddled in the dark in an under pass making phone calls and swapping small items back and forth. As I tried to call once more, my phone slipped, landed on the ground, popped its case, then bounced into the rushing waters. Oh dear. Miraculously it was still working (for now). Gav had managed to get hold of Bek, who was racing to our aid an awaiting us at Jackie Howe Crescent. We eventually reached Bek at Jackie Howe Crescent, chucked Gav into the car, and drove off to locate Jeff the purple Wiggle. Wake up Jeff ! You're missing all the fun. He had enough energy to feel guilty, but these things happen, it is part of the journey, and we will never forget and will tease him about it for years to come. Bek takes Gav back to the warm hotel room she had booked (the camp site had been majorly trashed by the wind and the rain and no place for their kids). I returned to Stromlo with Jeff. The tent was flooded, my mattress and sleeping bag were damp, but I slept like a baby. I have no idea what time the day ended.
DAY 3 – Wednesday 6am - about 2 ½ laps down
I awake in my running shorts/ jocks from yesterday. Keep them on and apply more vaseline. A fresh shirt, dry socks, drink coffee, eat something, back to Jackie Howe. Set off over the Waniassa Hills pacing Gav at about 7.15. Gav tells me about how good his ten minute shower was last night. Top bloke. I find an unopened neurofen tablet on the ground and joke about some poor hypothermic runner with shaking hands probably dropping it in the dark. “Open it” says Gav. “What ?” “Open it, I want it”. A new low. Probably be eating road kill next. Another trip through suburbia looking (and smelling) even more like homeless guys than yesterday. As we shuffled through the grounds of Parliament I'm sure the AFP guys were getting ready to taser us. At CP2, Jeff gets on the bike to pace Gav, while I drive to the rowing sheds where Bek is waiting. I begin eating to try get some solid calories in. I silently thank Jeff for bringing his small stove along, and several cup of soups and wholemeal wraps and assorted nibblies later, I feel better. I boil the kettle for Gav's arrival. Gav arrives, sits in the chair, we set him up to continue, and the two love birds set off again. This is becoming very deja vu.
Back at Stromlo I eat some more. If Gav is up for it, we may be going all night. I gear up again in anticipation. I will pace Gav 10km on the bike from Stromlo, Bek take over for 13km to CP2. Gav arrives and gets ready for lap 3.
This is an awesome section if you are on a bike and haven't run a million kms. The views over Canberra are fabulous. The highlight for Gav was beating me to the top of a hill (I was pushing the bike and he just wouldn't help at all the lazy bastard) but I was able to zip down the other side like a lunatic and wait for him to finish hobbling to the bottom. By now it was becoming hard to tell whether his legs or the walking poles were more inflexible, and which ones were making the clacking sound, but he was somehow managing to get along at a good pace. I ride ahead to call the lovely Cait, the tolerant wife patiently waiting at home for me to finish. I tell her it may take longer than planned. She asks if it is fun. Not sure to be honest. Definitely a bit different. We exchange sweet endearments, then I tell her I have to ride on and catch up with some crazy bloke who has passed me and is limping furiously off into the distance. How can he hobble so fast ?
We hit the road section where Bek is trying to arrange a surprise early swap over with me, but Gav is not stopping and we eventually reconnect as planned (don't try and surprise a tired ultra runner - they don't have enough brain space to cope). As we approach the swap over point, Gav tells me to ride ahead with a list of requests. He wants his red Salomon pack. His red pack ? “Yes, like the one you are wearing Rob”. I ride on and tell Bek and Jeff he wants his “red Salomon pack”. They are as confused as me. When he arrives we hold up his two white packs. “Yes, that one” he says. Mmm, our man is getting very fuzzy. The love birds set off along the single trail along the mighty Murrumbidgee to CP1. As I have been told repeatedly, this is the most stunning and beautiful part of the course and I haven't seen it. The pair remind me of this fact once more before setting off.
Jeff and I do the math as to when to expect them at CP1. However, Gav gets on a roll and they pass through the CP as we are preparing to set off to meet them. Oops ! Awkward. We arrange to meet at Jackie Howe Crescent (again), and to continue on from there. As I drive to JHC, Jeff patiently navigates with Eric the half a map. I say patiently, because I somehow repeatedly miss left turn after left turn along the way, resulting in many long loops around the circular roads of Canberra. We eventually arrive at JHC slightly dizzy. As we wait at JHC, a fellow is setting up an aid station. Table, chair, food, drinks, the works. I wander over and ask why the organisers are setting up an aid station here. Turns out he is just crewing for a 300km runner. The runner (Martin Fryer) arrives, has a quick nibble and a drink, then heads off. All is packed silently away, and the fellow drives off. Amazing.
Gav arrives, but is going to stop for the night. As he sits at the rear of the bus, Sam Weir (eventual 450km race winner) trots past like he is on a 5km fun run, a quick “hi” then runs up the hill without slowing at all. I start looking in the bus for some more salt to rub into Gav's wounds. Jeff and Gav decide to sleep in the bus, whilst I return to the hotel where Bek has parked their kids. It is now after midnight. We pop two cushions under a table and I pass out.
DAY 4 – Thursday 6am – about 3 ½ laps down
Alarm rings. I lay in my little table cubby house until Bek appears, then back in the car to Jackie Howe Crescent. The smell from the bus is rather funky. We make all kinds off amazing plans for the day, and Jeff sets off to wander the Wanniassa Hills with Gav.
However, all the amazing plans quickly come crashing down. We need to collect Gav at the spot we finished day 1. This time he may not be hypothermic, but his knee has begun to swell like a soccer ball, and even after this brief sunny morning stroll, he can't walk. We pack him into the bus, and head back to Stromlo to seek out Danny the Medic.
As Gav consults with Danny, Jeff quietly mutters “if he was a horse...” So true. However, the pair discuss options, and Gav settles back in the bus with legs raised hoping for a miracle. He is facing a perfect storm. His knee is bung and causing swelling. His stiff legs aren't flexing and hence the lymphatic system isn't working (increasing the swelling). His calf compression socks have been acting as a blockage point, adding even more to the swelling. His feet are enormous. At this point he begins mentioning that it is over, Bek should head back to Sydney. I call Cait and say we may be done here. I'm sure I heard a little happy squeal of joy. As old Football Feet Markey lays motionless in the bus, we go our ways eating, cleaning, showering. Now it is just a camping trip.
Suddenly Gav sits up like living dead rising from the grave. His knee has just gone “pop” and clicked back into place and he thinks he is good to go. We begin to make tentative plans. If the knee stays good, he would like to finish his fourth lap and make it to 300km. He has roughly a marathon to go to do this. He would also like to complete it by 8am the next morning to come in under the cut off time. He talks about an 8pm start, but we suggest that as much as he seems to enjoy hypothermia, maybe sooner while it is warm and sunny, rather than later in the cold would be better. He agrees. At this point I discover that it takes 250km to get Gav to listen to advice. This is a little kernel of knowledge I will store away for future reference. We have already begun joking about “next time we do this”. I call Cait and inform her that we are changing plans again. I refrain from sharing the joke about “next time we do this” as I am afraid the humour may be lost in translation.
I drop the boys off, but we plan numerous meeting points along the way. Of course what looks good on a map is different in reality, but after several more traffic violations I manage to meet them at all the spots marked (Eric the map was beginning to disintegrate after a wet week of constant flipping and refolding, adding a new element to navigating). After several km, Gav is chuffing along at a steady pace and all looks good, especially as he has knocked over the tough middle hilly section. At one point they appear with Karen Chan, another competitor in the 450km event. She has been quietly and humbly working her way through the laps. She tells us of her midnight adventures of being lost in the dark in the Arboretum, climbing through blackberry bushes to distant lights to find the highway for an emergency pick up. She is like a tiny super hero and should have her own action figure. She could go much faster, but wants to hang with us to avoid being lost again. I jump ahead and buy some more solid food. Gav has been told by Danny the Medic to stop all electrolytes to alleviate the swelling. As he has been fuelling on TAILWIND (a calories / electrolytes drink), he now has to stop drinking this. All calories must come from other foods and sources.
At this time, a note from our sponsor....
I would like to male it clear that TAILWIND wasn't causing Gav's swelling; that was simply the result of his knee blowing up, and the general physical battering his body had sustained. In further later correspondence with the awesome Danny the Medic, he took pains to point out (at great and extremely detailed length) that this was a specific one off assessment based on one person only and a certain specific circumstances unique to Gav, and NOT to extrapolate his advice onto others. Point taken Danny. Our story continues...
At CP2, Jeff takes the bus and walks with Gav and Karen for a while. Jeff and I do a few swaps as we head to the rowing sheds, to keep ourselves awake. It's going to be a long night. When we reach the rowing sheds, there is only 16km to go. Barring severe misfortune, Gav will make the cut off, and get his 300km.
However, before we set off, we encourage Gav to eat. No, not hungry. Please eat. No, later, not hungry. At this point we suggest that “later” may be too late, he needs to get the calories in him NOW, so when “later” arrives he will have enough energy to deal with the cold. I tell him that whilst I appreciate that whilst he seems to enjoy hypothermia, I am really tired of arranging emergency late night rescues so just eat the sandwich. The man is a great runner but apparently knows bugger all about cold and exposure (and the little possum is understandably a bit tired). Thankfully he eats the sandwich and we set off.
I was unfamiliar with this part of the course, and hadn't appreciated how hilly it is. Gav was doing it tough, but was somehow keeping those inflexible legs and those walking poles of his moving somehow. Karen was worth her weight in gold as she continued to chat happily and buzz Gav with endless questions. If I had been doing it, I suspect he would have skewered me with a walking stick – but he couldn't with Karen so he just had to stay focussed and awake and answer her questions. Priceless. She is helping us far more than we are helping her. At one point she asks “Gavin, what is your favourite part of the course ?”. Of course he begins describing the oh so beautiful stretch of trail down by the Murrumbidgee that leads to CP 1, so beautiful, the bit that Rob hasn't seen...”. Karen enthusiastically agrees that yes, it is definitely so beautiful, which cheers Gav up immensely. I keep offering him food, but he isn't keen. I offer him chocolate repeatedly, but he isn't at all interested. He has been refusing it constantly all week. He is not a chocolate eater. Eventually I eat it. Yes, of course that is when he asks “could I have that chocolate now ?” Sorry, I ate it. Bad pacer. He has to instead settle for a Clif Bar and the last of my home cooked anzac slice (I have an awesome wife don't I) as he slumps wearily on a gate. I would give him a cuddle, but he smells bad, and he would probably fall over and not be able to get up again.
It is the definitive death march by the time we finally leave the Arboretum and meet Jeff with the bus. We decide it is time to dig out the caffeinated TAILWIND, wake ourselves up, then trudge the last few km of our all day, all night, 15 hour pain filled marathon. Jeff drives the bus to Stromlo, then walks out to meet us. I have no idea how powerful Gav's feelings are with the end in sight. Eventually we round the last bend, walk slowly towards the lights, and in a moment of massive understatement, simply stop. It is done. Seriously, no one becomes an ultra runner for the glory. Gav has just done something astoundingly, mind boggingly painful, and it is just...done. Such a strange feeling. We all embrace in the stinkiest group hug ever seen, then Gav and Bek have a teary cuddle. Gav wanders over to hand in his race number to indicate he has finished. He seems disappointed, but after 300km he shouldn't be. I can't even conceive going that far. It hurts to even think about. Then we seek out Danny the medic. Danny confirms Gav is definitely done before he will dispense any magic pills. Bek stands in the shadows with a baseball bat in case he changes his mind. He takes his pills, and we help the big fella get comfy in the bus, making sure his feet aren't sticking out before we slam the door shut, then leave him to begin his rest and recovery.
DAY 5 – Friday 5.30 am – 4 laps completed, 300km - finally bed time
BUT WAIT !!
Day 5 – Friday 7.30 am – not done yet !!
Jeff, Bek, and I had just spent a week following Gav around while he participated in the ANZAC Ultra. From 8am Monday until 5.30am Friday, for 300km, we had paced and crewed him around four 75km loops of Canberra. We had covered trails, roads, hills, mud. We had survived days and nights of howling winds and massive downpours of rain. We were all tired, hungry, dirty, smelly and massively sleep deprived. So what to do when it is all finished...go for a run of course.
...to be continued.... (this tale of running while sleep deprived not posted yet because it is being saved for the Berowra Bush Runners Newsletter - sorry folks. At a later date). However, there is still the;
This was my first, and I strongly suspect my last (hello lovely wife), experience of a six day event. It was like entering another world. I met mere mortals who are really super humans. Runners who just somehow kept on going despite incredible pain to the point of obvious suffering. I also met runners who seem to do it effortlessly (however, when they took their shoes off it was disturbingly horrific stuff). I met family and friends who were there to crew and pace, who survived on minimal food and sleep, who awoke at a moments notice to drove half way across a city to save a life or to drop off a band aid to some cranky person who would have changed their mind by the time they got there. They even went out of their way to do the same for other crews and runners. We did all this as rain hammered down and cold winds howled. We awoke one morning to see snow on the distant ranges which meant that hell was actually freezing over. Time became meaningless. Emotions became frayed. Everything was interesting. I learned that talking to funny old blokes around the course would inevitably leads to stories about the last time they ran in a six day event (a month ago) and how they are doing it again next week after crewing here. Never judge a book by its wrinkly old cover. For six days I kept seeing the same volunteers constantly at all odd hours and wondered if anyone ever slept around here. It wasn't an event, it was an EXPERIENCE ! I would like to think we would have made those ANZACs proud. I may never, ever do this kind of thing again, but that is ok because I will never ever forget this one. It still haunts my dreams, and I suspect it will do so for years to come.