Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Great Train Race 2010

After last year's abysmal showing (by the train - not me) it was kind of inevitable that old Puffing Billy would this year show what she was capable of and rip out a fast one. But crikey, 51.49mins for the 13.2km journey up and down some big hills. That seems hardly fair!

Not that it mattered to me. I was glad just to be there having a go. No aspirations (delusions?) of grandeur as this time I set out to have a fun run in the countryside and shoot some video before returning on the train with Brooke (Miss 5y.o.) who had looked forward to this for a long time - like since last year's race.

It was another perfect day weather wise for the race - about 10deg.C. with no wind or rain in sight. (We've had a few of these in a row now so we'll be due for another shocker soon!)

The race begins with the runners heading in one direction and the train driver in the other as we begin our respective journeys. After about 1.5k of solid downhill the first "meeting" occurs as runners go under the famous Trestle Bridge and you get your first sense of whether you or the train are having a good day. Normally at this point I see the train either just in front or just behind me. This time it had gone ... completely. The driver was obviously on a mission.

From here it is uphill through to the lovely hillside town of Selby before turning right down a narrow winding tree-lined road (lane?) for the next few k's. This section of the course is just magnificent running country and I love it.

Then it gets hard. Really hard. First is a steep uphill that goes on for 2km and this is almost immediately followed by one of the nastiest downhill sections you will ever run. Then a short up and down hill followed by another 2km of uphill. This is not an easy course! My blog post from last year has a graphic of the hills.

But this year all of that stuff was pretty easy really. I ran quite slowly (for me) and enjoyed it immensely. Normally where I am ready to puke (or worse) I was this time running along enjoying the scenery, the crowd and the free boiled lollies being handed out by some kids along the route. (I guess no one told them that runners find it hard to eat that stuff during a race!)

It was only when I was in the last kilometre that I heard and saw the second train (which is the designated one for the ladies to race against) so I sped up a little to make sure I at least beat *something* on the day.

My final time of about 1:12hrs was very modest and some 12-minutes slower than last year. But I felt great and have recovered beautifully. It was a great day - especially for my eldest daughter Brooke who got to ride the train and eat some cinnamon doughnuts when we got back to the car.

Thanks as always to my wonderful spouse Fiona who trundled everyone around the place to ensure we all had fun. We'd never be able to do it without her!

Here is my video of the race. Enjoy!

For the record, only 64 people beat the train this year. I was not one of them.

PS - I should mention that on the morning of the race I did my lower back in completely. You know, one of those "oh my god I cannot move" moments. I shouldn't have raced. But who wants to disappoint a five year-old who has her heart set on riding the train?


  1. well done - hope your back comes good quickly though!

  2. I enjoyed the video Paul. Only 64 people beating the first train! Must have had up a good head of steam this year. You did well to jog the race with a bad back, lots of stops for video, and still a respectable 'victory' over the second train. I always wondered what that race looked like - now I know!

  3. Paul, That's a great video. You really captured the atmosphere of what looks to be a delightful run. I am impressed by your style both in front of and behind the camera, all in the midst of running a respectable time for 13.2K. I hope your back is mending well.


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