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2011 Race reports

Great report by Trevour Pitt here: http://tttrails.blogspot.com/

And report here from Ed Garnett:

Bogong to Hotham - The Rooftop Run - 2011

It was a pleasant drive from Canberra to Tawonga on the Saturday afternoon with highway temperatures in the low 30's.  I'd been watching the weather forecast all week for Falls Creek and Mt Hotham and the predicted range of 11 - 16deg suggested good running conditions up high, but also with a chance of rain.  The Bogong Hotel had the air of a typical country pub, with the registration and pre-race gear check being a low key and informal affair although Andy (race director) was making sure runners met the mandatory gear requirements.  After getting my pub accommodation sorted I decided to do a quick trip out to the race start at Mountain Creek just to get the lay of the land before Sunday morning.  A few folks were setting up camp sites and the air at Mountain Creek was a little cooler and more moist than in town, I checked this away for future reference as looking like a nice camp site.

The race briefing Saturday afternoon saw a room full of very fit looking runners, for a moment I thought I'd come to the wrong briefing and that perhaps I should be at a pub down the road, but this is the Bogong to Hotham after all.  I introduced myself to Phil sitting across the table who asked how I was feeling about the race tomorrow.  My immediate response to Phil was that ignorance is bliss, the fact was I had absolutely no idea what to expect.  Throughout the briefing the race director kept making a point of cut-off times and helping injured runners and safety, I was suddenly beginning to think I'd bitten off more than I could chew with this event.  Oh well, I'm committed now so get a good nights sleep and make sure I put my best foot forward tomorrow morning.

I was surprised at the number of runners lining up for the early start, Andy decided to included a 15 minute delay to allow for better light so the early start time turned out to be 5:30am which suited me fine.  I've walked big hills before, well 25 years before, but the climb up Bogong was pretty unrelenting.  Never the less I tagged the summit in just over 2hrs which I was happy with considering the splits from previous years suggested I was on time for a lower order runner.  I enjoyed being able to start running and descending past Cleve Cole Hut and even the quite steep descent to Big River crossing in around 3:21hrs, again I was pleased with my time thus far although the lead runners from the late start had already passed me on T Spur and going like freight trains.

So if the quads aren't hammered by the climb up Bogong and the subsequent descent to Big River then the climb up Duane Spur is guaranteed to drive the nail in.  Coming up Duane Spur I was starting to have thoughts of calling it quits at the half way mark at Langford and getting the bus home from there, however by the time I reached Ropers Hut in around 4:45hrs I was starting to recover when someone suggested to me that it still may be possible to make the cut-off time at Langford Gap.  Cool I thought, that's what I'm here for so better get onto it.  The running through Warby Corner wasn't too bad, I kept a reasonable run pace up and interspersed it with walk periods along the undulating vehicle trail.  Already the details are fast fading in my memory I did manage Langford Gap and the cut-off with about 8 minutes to spare, this was now a whole new ball game.  Without hanging about too much I headed out along the aqueduct towards Bogong High Plains Road and the next checkpoint running with various other runners and reaching High Plains Road in plenty of time.

The comraderie of the groups of runners was just great.  Crossing Bogong High Plains I ran and walked with various runners, everyone working to get through to Mt Hotham as best they could.  Wild brumbies were grazing just off the checkpoint at Pole 333 and a group of us stopped to take pictures, the whole time a faint mist swirled across the high plains keeping the air cool which was good for us runners but a little on the cool side for the checkpoint crews I expect.  It didn't take long to warm up heading down past Cobungra Gap to Dibbin's Hut, but not quite as warm as it was climbing Swindlers Spur which was the last big climb on the course.  Swindlers was the icing on the cake for my quads and I was pleased to stop and pass the time of day with the checkpoint crew at Derrick Hut, it was now a struggle for me to run much at all.  With only 6km to go I was reminded by the Derrick crew that Stu Gibson had covered this final leg in only 29 minutes, well that was something to aim for - sure.

I ran/walked most of the last leg to Mt Hotham with Katherine and Arnie, they were also very pleased to get through the cut-off time and we made sure we ran the last couple of hundred metres to the Hotham summit with race director Andy and crew cheering the late finishers, three more runners came in behind us with the course sweeps closing the race and our finishing time around 11:44hrs.  Well what more can I say except that the Bogong to Hotham is just gruelling, start to finish.  The atmosphere of the event is fantastic in a low key style but always with an air of seriousness, as it deserves.  I think we learn a lot from each of these runs and I'm quite sure this will be good preparation for the Overland Track run in about four weeks time.

To Andy and Brett the race organisers for this year a big thank you.  Also to the support crew and radio operators who make this possible and such a fantastic day out, well done folks.