By Rob Martin
Last year I ran the inaugural Noosa Ultra Trail 100K.
This year I tackled the 80K Hinterland Traverse, after finding the 20K out & back starting at the 23K point of the 100K course last year not very enjoyable.
Overall, it’s a beautiful course, with many sandy, shady trails, but also some very exposed road sections where the heat can become a major issue if you push too hard.
I learnt my lesson from last year & went out conservatively, which worked well. Running with mates Nick “Irish” Roberts & Mallani Moloney, we ticked off the kilometres through to Checkpoint 2 at 23kms (the first full aid station), & from there hit the road & the only major climbs of the course.
Once you get to the top of Upper Pinbarren Creek Road you turn left onto Hill Road & before long you’re at a water stop with a view & cool breezes at the James M McKane Memorial Lookout, around 37kms in.
From the lookout you head down some nice fast (some steep) downhills towards the Cooran checkpoint which pops up at the 43km mark. This checkpoint at Pioneer Park is shady & well stocked – a great place to cool down & reset.
By this time the heat was intensifying, but pace management & hydration was the key to success. The next stop is Stan Topper Park at Pomona, which was another well set up aid station, with very friendly volunteers. This was around 52kms into the course.
The section after Pomona was tough, with lots of trucks & dust on a dirt road, before we made it on to Kidd Road, heading for the Yurol State Forest & Lake McDonald.
During this section Run Vault Performance athlete Sonya Alba-Miller came flying past us on her way to claiming 5th place in the Pomona Sundowner 30K race.
I found this was the hottest part of the course & it was good to arrive at the MacDonald Lake aid station at around 67kms in, where we could get a cold sponge bath & top up fluids.
From here there’s only 13kms to go, with a fair amount of shade in parts.
There’s a very handy water stop at the 72km mark where you can grab electrolytes & pour cold water over your head, which is highly recommended!
From here there’s a mixture of sandy trails & then road, before you get back to the District Sports Centre at Butler Street Tewantin – a race distance that my Coros Vertix 2 measured as 80.22kms, with 1,859 meters of vertical gain.
I feel my gear & hydration/nutrition choices worked well – I wore Injinji Mini-Crew toesocks, Saucony Xodus Ultra shoes (Version 2 has now been released & is even better) & a Nathan Pinnacle 12L vest with 1.6 litre insulated bladder. I used Tailwind Mandarin Endurance Fuel throughout, topping up with a few Clif gels along the way. My Run Vault Headskin was perfect as a sweat band, worn as a figure 8 around my right wrist & hand. Lastly, complete chafe protection was provided by Gurney Goo.
Overall the day was a very positive experience & it was great to chill at the Run Vault marquee with a beer or two, along with lots of mates who had been there running or spectating.