5 February 2024
Beerwah@Night Half Marathon – A review

I kicked off my 2024 running campaign with Run Queensland’s Beerwah@Night, a fantastic event set in the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland.

This was my first trail half marathon, and I went into this event with a lot of excitement and confidence having had few more trail runs under my belt prior to the event. However, training is one thing and race day is always a bit different. I went into the event without any experience running in the Glasshouse Mountains, so it was a new adventure from start to finish.

 

 

Beerwah@Night has the option of marathon, half marathon and 10km distances around the base of Mount Beerwah. The half marathon sets off at 6pm, which was a new and really surreal experience to be literally running off into the sunset, knowing at some point I was going to be running in the dark, with only my headlamp to guide the way.

While I was out running the event, Chloe-May and the little one headed over to the Sweeney Runners 10km checkpoint, to help at the water station for the runners. It was a nice feeling to know that I would see my friends and family at the halfway point.

The start of the run was the usual struggle to find a spot amongst the crowd in which I could settle into my pace. Thankfully we reached a puddle and a tree on the path early on that everyone was trying to avoid, so I just ran through the puddle knowing it was only the first of many and this allowed me to have some free space to run at my own pace. Thankfully it was a mild temperature for a Queensland run and the humidity was a lot nicer than some of my training runs.

I ran most of the event close to one of our local Sweeney Runners, while also finding plenty of other friendly people out on the course to have a chat with. It seemed kind of funny at the time to be bounding along in the bush whilst also chatting about life with people I have never met before, but then again trail runners are some of the nicest and friendliest people you will ever meet.

The first 10km was really fun and not too challenging when compared to the last 11km. I managed to reach the first checkpoint in under an hour and was feeling really good. It was really awesome to reach the checkopint and get to see not only my friends but my family as well. I got to get a hug from my daughter, (who seemed rather confused on what dad was doing) before heading back out into the unknown. Not long after the checkpoint it was time to put on the handlamp as it was starting to get dark.

The next section was tough but lots of fun. We headed further into the Glasshouse Mountains National Park and down some steep sections. This part was really fun and quite challenging as it was bit loose underfoot. The only trouble is, once you go down you have to come back up the other side and definitely added a bit more challenge on the legs.

Around the 16km mark I found the next checkpoint; the best part was they had ice cold water. It was like a new burst of energy (probably as the rest of my water was starting to get a bit warm). At this point I was feeling pretty good and just wanted to have snacks so was happy to see chips and lollies at this checkpoint, so I stuffed some lollies into my pack and headed off down the track.

Leaving the check point I knew one of friends was only 2-3 minutes ahead of me and I really wanted to see if I could keep close to him. I was tracking well and feeling good and then with about 4km to go at the the bottom of a descent I came across a chap who needed a bit of assistance with quad cramps. So at this point it was either help him get back to the last check point which meant climbing back up the hill we just came down or seeing if there was any way he could get to the end on his own. Thankfully trail runners are all lovely and lots stopped to help and provided him with some salt tablets and more water and I spent a few minutes with him massaging out his quads so that he could make it to the end and then I set off again.

I had about 4km to go after this and most of it was up hill. I ran from here on out mostly by myself only seeing a few people here and there. Around the 18km mark I started to cramp in my right quad, which was annoying, but I was able to manage, but a few minutes later both my calves decided they would join in the party. Despite the hills, running through cramp was definitely one of the harder experiences I faced while out on the trail, but I knew that I didn’t have long to go and that if I could just keep my legs ticking over I would be at the end soon. Thankfully at some point the cramp passed, I can’t really remember when, I was so focused on finishing I guess I just blocked it out.

I was so glad to see the sign with an arrow that said finish, except for the fact that finish was up the hill and I still had around 600m to go, but I knew I had come this far and I wasn’t giving up so I pushed on and once I saw the lights at the finish on the horizon I pushed with everything I had left to sprint through to the end. Turns out the sprint finish was so quick, Chloe-May didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of me coming through the finish line!!

All in all, it was a great event and one I would do again. I started out running some hills, finished with a mix of walking, and running the hills. Splashed in some puddles, met some new people, and got to sprint into the finish and be meet my daughter and my loving and supporting wife.

My new friend I found at the bottom of a descent with cramping did eventually finish which was awesome to see that he had made it through.  

The highlight of my race was reaching the checkpoint and getting to hug my daughter before I carried on again through the course. And getting zooper doopers and chocolate milk at the end of the race!

I ran this event in a pair of Altra Lone Peak 6’s, which I have been doing all my summer trail running training in. They felt comfortable throughout the race, but have had plenty of mileage put through them and are not as grippy as they used to be, so they are being retired now and I’ll be replacing them with a brand-new pair of Lone Peaks. I like wearing Altra’s as my trail shoes because my toes don’t feel cramped with the natural foot shaped toe box, and I enjoy the flexibility in the sole that helps my foot adapt to the uneven surface of trail runs.

Finishing stats:
Overall: 44/185
Category: 12/29
Gender: 36/105
Official Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Watch time: 2 hours 36 minutes 10 seconds (paused the watch, to massage my new friends’ quads).