Running on high

With COVID putting an indefinite halt on big running challenges that typically attract throngs of keen contestants, a group of Castlemaine runners has set its own small group challenge.
The keen local runners are heading off later this week to run about 100km through some of Victoria’s most breathtaking high country over three days.
Castlemaine’s Karina Taylor, Jacqui Knee, Lauren Barker, Michael Constable and Raewyn Rice are all tackling the run – with fellow runners Di Cox and Tyrone Rice going along as support.
They were among the handful of athletes who completed each of the four run distances in October’s Run The Maine – the 21km half marathon, 15km, 10km and five km runs.
Now the fleet-footed friends are headed first to the base of Mount Bogong from where they plan to begin their 100km self-imposed challenge, taking in Falls Creek, Mount Hotham, across the Razorback and on to Feathertop before looping back to Falls Creek.
“There are no events on so this is just giving us a reason to train,” says Karina who in pre-COVID years has relished running The Alpine Challenge that follows a similar route.
“Day One we’ll start at around 6am and do about 40km that day with a lot of climbing,” Karina says.
“The other two days are both around the 30km distance.”
The runners are overnighting in a combination of tent camping and accommodation more fully equipped with all the creature comforts.
“Because of COVID we’ve really had to create our own event,” says runner Di Cox who this time is going along as support and even bringing a handy massage table.
All are regulars at Castlemaine’s Saturday Park Runs that are so popular outside COVID restrictions.
“In fact I got started with running with Park Run seven years ago,” Michael says.
Like all the other keen Park Runners out there, they’re just having to bide their time until the state’s wider COVID public health policies allow large public running events to return.
But for now their sights are set firmly on this weekend’s looming challenge – “and the views and waking up in the mountains,” Lauren says.
“We’re doing it for the challenge and for the fun of it,” Karina says.
“It should be awesome.”

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