Mark J. Keenan
What’s more stressful than writing your first ever race report?
Writing your first race report for an event that you didn’t attend!
On Sunday 10th December 2017, nearly 350 runners lined up before the orange start line gantry for the Perth Trail Series ‘Stay Puft’ event.
I was supposed to be one of them. So was my son. Unfortunately, he wasn’t feeling well, and neither of us made it across the timing mat. Never one to shirk my responsibilities however, I headed back to course, some nine hours later and did the course as a solo run.
So, this report is brought to you courtesy of the kangaroos that bounded along beside me as I ran the perimeter of the lake, and the ghostly tracks left in the sand by the morning runners.
As the first run of the Summer Series, Stay Puft is well known as the ‘easy’ course. An introductory trail, with no hills to climb; it’s the one you invite your road running friends along to, so they catch the ‘bug’, and there were quite a few ‘newbies’ at the event on the weekend.
It was a warm day for a trail run. The temperature climbed from 24C to 33C over the duration of the race. And while the strands of tuart and marri provide some shade, there are plenty of sections where you can’t escape the sun. In fact, I’m reliably informed the race was a scorcher; hot enough to bake crispy chicken or even a Christmas turkey. Now that’s an opportunity for a new approach to your race nutrition.
As we all know, running trail events is about the vibe. Old friends and new friends; runners and support crew. It’s what keeps you going, even when your legs are tired, it’s hotter than hell, and you wished an air-conditioned Uber would arrive to whisk you home. And while I didn’t get to personally experience the awesome feeling this time, and apparently missed out on a sponge bath, I had plenty of time on the course to reflect on the community aspects of these runs. That feeling of camaraderie and kinship really is something special. It’s what gets us out of bed, early on a Sunday morning, when most of Perth is still fast asleep.
There was no blue tape to follow by the time I arrived. But it’s a simple route and I managed to stay on track. Not so for everyone it seems. I’m told some runners did not listen to the race briefing and, instead of following the flags, they followed Gregory; resulting in some bonus distance.
Minimising the impact on the environment is something trail runners take seriously. The course was clean when I ran it. I didn’t spot any litter at all. Frankly, you wouldn’t have known anyone had been there. Even the runners who had passed out from the heat were already removed from the trail.
This Stay Puft was the biggest event that PTS has run yet. If that’s a reflection of what’s to come then it should be a thumping Summer Series - one that my son and I look forward to being a part of from here on. See you on the trails!