WOW! What a great day we had out at Newnes in the Wolgan Valley training for the Glow Worm Tunnel Running Weekend.
Some had forecast snow for Sunday so we were expecting cold temperatures. We prepared accordingly with plenty of layers. We didn’t need to worry – The Wolgan Valley seems to have it’s own climate! We had perfect running temperatures!
Tony ran up the hill from the Wolgan Road and marked the 7k “Tunnel Loop”from the Penrose Gully 4 Ways intersection – a nice
9.5km warm up!
The tunnel was busy with walkers and photographers even at 9.30am.
Tony then did a lap of the “Ted Bolt” course that follows the Ruins Walk around the old Coke Ovens and shale oil mining area. A great 6.5km loop that is a part of the Glow Worm Tunnel Running Weekend.
We had a group starting at the Newnes Pub and a group starting at the
Wolgan Road/4 Ways Start. After a quick course explanation with a comment from Tony stating “if anyone gets lost on this course they are a Gumby” we set off at 11am.
The group consisted of males and females ageing from mid 20’s to mid 60’s with varying degrees of trail running experience and goal distances for the day.
These runs are organized by Blue Mountains Fitness are free. The runners are expected to be self sufficient with some mandatory gear items. Some ”
guiding” from the run leaders is given to keep the crew together and on pace!
The pace today was on from the start! Two groups quickly formed with Craig running ahead at a faster pace. Claudio, Al, Lauren and Greg in one group and Amanda, Jackie and Janet in the other. Lorraine, Scott and Rick started from the Wolgan Road/4 Ways point. Tony ran out and backs making sure everyone was OK and getting a pretty decent workout himself!
The runners carried enough hydration and nutrition for 3 to 4 hrs out on the trails. Some smarter ones lightened the load at the 4 Ways point and picked it up later. There was no need for thermals, rain jackets, gloves or beanies today. Just a light for the tunnel!
The Glow Worm Tunnel Half Marathon course is a “lollipop loop course” consisting of a 7km trail to the 4 Ways intersection, the 7k Tunnel loop and the 7km trail back to the start. The gradient is slightly uphill to 4 Ways, pretty easy firetrail, single track and a few gully crossings. The start has the stepping stone to keep your feet dry as you cross the causeway.
At the 4 ways intersection the track gets a bit more technical as you climb up to the cliff line with awesome views of the valley below.
There is an aid station at the 4 Ways point on race day.
We met Rick at the 4 Ways point who’d started at the Wolgan Road.,
He’d already completed the tunnel loop and ran on to Newnes. Jackie T turned round here. Taking it easy as she should as it was her 66th birthday this week!
Janet and Amanda turned around at the tunnel at the 10k point. Greg had some foot issues so ran down to the Wolgan Road and got a lift back to Newnes.
The rest of the crew passed through the tunnel meeting Lorraine and Scott on the way.
Massive achievement for Lorraine coming back from injury and doing her 10k loop from the road.
Just a short way beyond the tunnel is a steep little climb up to the Old Coach Road.
This got the legs pumping and the heart rates up. The Old Coach Road part of the course is a steep down hill on a wide fire trail that smashes the quads!
At the 4 Ways point at 14km we met Janet. Janet had got lured in by the downhill track at the 4 Ways point. She did an extra 3km of down/up to the “Koopartoo” property and won the Gumby Award!
The last 7km is a slightly downhill easy singletrack that is a really nice run. On race day this will be a very fast section with everyone trying to push themselves on to the finish line.
Great training session with runners completing distances from 20 to 42km on the day.
These session are organised by Tony Williams from BMF. They are free of charge. All abilities are able to attend. Self sufficiency is required with the normal mandatory gear carried.
Following Glow Tunnel the focus will be on training for The Hounslow Classic http://www.hounslowclassic.com.au/
“The Hounslow Sessions” Facebook page has been set up for runners wanting to connect and participate with other runners in organised training runs in The Grose Valley.
There will be free sessions like this Glow Worm Tunnel session and some commercial runs conducted by Blue Mountains Fitness.
If you are keen to get involved in our runs check out the Blue Mountains Fitness Facebook page and the Hounslow Sessions page for info.
More info on the Glow Worm Tunnel Trail Running Weekend can be found at http://www.glowwormtrail.com/