Babi Szolosi

Drove down to this lovely farm house (Fox Hill Farm House) near Foster on Friday with my friend Emilia. We packed so much food and stuff, that we could’ve stayed for at least a week and not die of hunger. Beautiful day!! Checked out the road to the house, then we drove to Tidal River for the registration and gear check. Went to Telegraph Saddle car park first to show Emilia where she can start hiking to Sealers Cove while I run next day. We saw a group of hikers (a family??!!), they were getting ready to go to Sealers Cove and they knew about the event. We took a little stroll, then came back and drove to Tidal River. There everyone seemed happy.

After registration and gear check (it was nice to see Julie, although we only got the chance to say hello), we went to make a BBQ. It started to rain, but we thought it’s OK, we can handle it. Those BBQs are great, just push the button and it works. So we cooked this slice of beautiful porterhouse with colourful peppers and asparagus. We bought some forks, picnic plates and a bottle of wine in Menyan, but didn’t think of glasses…. So wine was served in plastic containers while mother nature was pissing on us…

Got my gear ready, had a shower, then we went to bed. It was raining and windy all night, didn’t sleep much. The alarm was set to 3.45, with the intention to leave at 4.30 to get to Tidal River by 5.30. I finally fell asleep, but dreamt of missing the alarm, sleeping in and missing the start. This gave me a fright at 1.28 in the morning… could still hear the wind and the rain…

Alarm goes off, got up, got ready, drove to Tidal River. The weather was really scary, yet the runners were lining up in front of the Running Wild tent – crazy bunch! Myself included. I realized I’ve left my bib number at the farm house, Emilia offered to go there and bring it to the finish. I’ve told Paul after the “Any questions?!” bit. I’ve put my waterproof pants on, felt so much nicer!! It was hard to recognise anyone in the waterproof jackets with the hoods pulled up. I was looking for familiar faces… heard the “yes”, or “here” as they were called out, but couldn’t see much in the rain and dark. Gave the red nail polish to Neil, he said he’ll carry it with him on his run – this was really fun! A low-key countdown and off we went.

Ran with Vanessa a little, then met Oliver [Mestdagh] and we chatted through the hike to Telegraph Saddle car park – copping a gale wind with lots of rain at some point - and pretty much ran/walked to Windy Saddle. Ollie told me he’s doing the 80, first time on the course and he’ll just take it easy, especially at the beginning. It sit well with me, too. From Windy Saddle, we ran. It was muddy, slippery, foggy… so much fun!!! It’s so different starting this run in the dark (spiced with the rain is even more so)!! It was a first for me. Passed a few more runners, then we caught up with Vanessa, who was threading very carefully in the muddy conditions. Exchanged a few words, then I kept running, noticing Ollie has stayed with Vanessa. I just LOVE this part of the course! I feel like a careless, happy kid when I am running it! Trying to go around the mud, stepping straight into it… I’ve noticed my girly-pink over pants were muddy up to the middle of my thighs.

It started to get lighter, didn’t need the head lamp after a while. In fact, I should be able to run this course without a lamp, with my eyes closed :-) did it a few times by now. On the board walk, I overtook a runner (can’t remember her name, sorry), took a picture of her, which unfortunately didn’t turn out clear enough to post it. Had my first quarter sandwich with the cherry tomatoes (I packed 6 each for a quarter) and some water. Carried about 750 ml in the bladder and 2 x 500 ml Nuun grape electrolyte in the flasks.

My strategy was this: I will run in the pants until the creek crossing at Sealers Cove, where I’ll take them off (by the way, the pack felt so much lighter without the rain gear), cross the water bare foot and change socks once on the other side. When I arrived to Sealers Cove, I saw one of the hikers we saw the day before at Telegraph Saddle; I asked her if they copped the rain badly last night and she said they did. At the creek I took my shoes and my overpants off, crossed the creek, put the dry socks on, packed the pants away and got going. In the mean time, the runners I’ve passed were getting there, wading through the water. Tomie [Pfeiffer] and Lesa [Muir] were my on/off companions along the course, then Bruce [Venables], too. It was very tempting to try to keep up with these ladies, but I knew my limits, wanted to run my own race.

I took lots of pictures of the runners I’ve noticed in time, sometimes stopping them for a pose. It was fun. Then the 44 km runners started overtaking… I thought “Gee, I am getting very slow! These guys have left an hour later!!” Saw Thierry just before Kersops, I wish I’ve noticed Britta [Veller] earlier, I missed out taking a pic with her, but I caught Madeleine approaching, so she’s got a photo on course. After Refuge Cove, a few of us ended up on the same exposed rock at the same time, so we’ve taken some pictures there, too. Thing with this course is, that if you don’t take pictures, no one else will. In some instances I had the favour returned, which is very nice.

I can’t exactly remember when and where I had most of the food, but my stomach was asking for it more often than on warm days. I visited the toilet at Lt Waterloo Bay camp ground – quite clean compared to Sealers. Used up the water in the bladder, one of the flasks and about half of the other one. I’ve filled up the empty flask at a well flowing creek before the Lighthouse and this time I actually enjoyed the yellowish nature of it (read – didn’t think of it as piss).

Rain was coming and going, saw some sunshine, which brought a smile on my face. I kept thinking of my school, how great it must be there right now, in the middle of the 30th reunion. I really wanted to be there; haven’t seen some of the people for many years… I was hoping to be able to skype in after the run.

At the Lighthouse Junction I’ve seen a few runners (Chilli included), took photo of them. I introduced myself to everyone and they told me their names, too but after a few steps I pronto forgot. Some of them knew my name before I even said it… feel so bad!! Climbed up to the Lighthouse. At some point I realised I am going too fast, so I slowed down a little – needed the energy for the remaining 28 km. Took the customary touch-the-Lighthouse-door selfie, went to the toilet (same cold, windy place), filled up the flasks, drank some water and headed back. Wind was very strong and freezing here. As I was walking, I saw Tomie, Lesa and Nicole [Paton] coming up (dunno why I remember her as Katie), Nicole was really powering ahead. I can only admire her for it.

It was strange… haven’t seen hikers, only after the Lighthouse. This hike to Roaring Meg doesn’t seem to get any easier, tried to run/walk/hike it though. Enjoyed the Fudge Brownie gel here, felt like a treat. Previous times, I was really buggered when I hit the fire trail, now I just forced myself to jog it (pulled myself straight, hips forward as Ross [Kinsella] advised) and it worked. Saw Ollie again (I was looking forward to that), didn’t recognize him, even though I took pics of him!! I am really bad! I wanted to give him a big hug when I see him.

The 100 km runners started to come and it was awesome seeing them in such great form. There were quite a few familiar faces.

Waded through the little creek that overtook the track falling on my bum just after Tomie, Lesa and Bruce passed me. Hope they haven’t seen it, must have been hilarious as it involved a weird twist. I must have had mud even in my undies.

Saw Cathy [Roberts], took a few pics of her and told her she’s the second lady. She said that doesn’t bother her. Then I saw Paul [Todd], he said he’s doing fine (tummy is in order now), forgot to take a pic of him. Then Scott [Black], then Andy [Hewat], Manish and Scott [Harrison]. Took a few pics, shook hands with Manish and Andy (sorry Scott, it wasn’t nice, but I didn’t want to hold you guys up for too long) and kept jogging. At the checkpoint, the Commandos were so nice!! I asked their permission to take a photo of them. Told them I am the one without the number, spelled out my name, they ticked it off, offered me food, chocolate, but I had plenty so I passed, then kept going.

Tried to message Emilia my location at the Oberon Bay turnoff, but the phone got wet (for the pictures I’ve been pulling it out from the zip lock bag) and I could hardly send a simple two-word sms. Touch screen and keys seemed as numb as my fingers. Walked while I had one of the quarter sandwiches with cherry tomato, then just shuffled to Oberon Bay. Gee, I just hate that part!! Kept thinking how on earth did Mathieu Dore averaged 4.46 min/km here?!!!

At Oberon Bay I filled up my flask, walked out to the beach where I saw someone who looked like a runner, turning around and taking pictures. I said hello and realized it was a runner Thomas [Martin] and kept going, as it was a bit windy, needed to keep moving to avoid getting cold. At the creek, I found a spot where it seemed a bit shallower and crossed. The cold water felt good for my legs, but then the sloshing not so much once I started hiking. This sign… Tidal River 5.7 km is very promising. I ran where I could and hiked where I couldn’t run. Had the Peach Cobbler VFuel gel before Lt Oberon Bay for a boost. In that little corner, I saw a lady who looked like a runner. As I was getting closer, I’ve asked her if she was OK, she said she is OK, only very tired, so I kept going. I think her name is Lea Naismith (not sure though).

Between Oberon Bay and Tidal River I always remember Otto’s words when he came to run it back with me (twice): “You can do it! Another 200 m hike here, then all downhill! Nearly there! Try to avoid the steps, come this way…” – warmed up my soul, brought a smile on my face and gave me the energy to keep going.

When I was approaching Norman Bay, I saw that the Running Wild flag is right at the end of the beach… I was cursing Paul at that moment. Once on the beach, I just kept shuffling and tried to figure out how on earth I am going to have the energy for the final sprint. It seemed like there will be nothing left in the tank by then… once I climbed out in that mean sand and on asphalt, I saw Graham. Such a lovely man!! He told me well done, asked him how far the finish is. He said about 300 more meters. I thought, that’s not that bad… once I saw the timer and the cheering squad I felt like being hit by lightning (the good one) and just started sprinting, running to the finish in 10.16.18. I was so happy to see the Scotts – Lucinda and Steven, Catherine [Hocking], Julie [Savage], Emilia and the other volunteers (sorry, don’t know their names)! Catherine handed me the medal, the Froggy.

They all congratulated me and were very happy, offered me food and electrolyte. Julie said “Babi really needs a beer now!” – she was right. I bought a six pack Little Creatures Pale Ale before coming here and was really looking forward to that re-hydration. One of the Commandos, his name is Richard was so kind to open the beers for us. We’ve chatted a little.. he asked me about my accent – it seemed “very fresh”. Found out him and his wife (she’s got a lovely name, but can’t remember) came to Australia in 1967. I said I was born then!!

It was getting a bit chilly, so I headed to the showers. Stood under the hot shower until I warmed up, then I thanked the volunteers and we headed off to Fish Creek. Spoke to Suzie and Otto. Really nice to hear their voices.

On our way out of the Prom, although I drove very carefully (60 km/hr), still managed to brush a roo as it hopped across the road in front of the car. I hit the brakes, but it was slippery, couldn’t hit them hard enough to stop. The roo is well, thank you, hopped away with probably some bruises, but I ended up with a bumper repair (which I’ve only noticed a few days later).

We went to the pub, had a soup, a minute steak and a glass of red each – couldn’t finish either of them, then drove to the farm house, chatted with Joanne and went to bed. That night it was hard to get in/out of the car, but by next morning I was OK. A leech bit me (must have came off with the socks before shower) and I made the major mistake of rubbing the bite. Ended up with a swollen right leg. Saw a doctor in Parkville (he looked it up on Google!!), he prescribed me APO-Cephalexin 500 mg x 3/day + Solone 25 mg x 1/day. Took one each straight away, then felt very drowsy… looked them up when I got home. Didn’t take any since and my leg is doing fine.

Morale of the story is: wear white socks (even if they get very dirty), because a leech is visible on that and can be removed with salt.

All up, in spite of the weather, the start in the dark, the mud, the puddles, it was a great experience and I would do it again any time. Took the usual mandatory gear + the triangle bandage that I usually take with me (it can serve a lot of purposes).

Nutrition:

  • a toasted dark rye sandwich with butter and smoked cheese and 6 cherry tomatoes (the tomatoes help with producing saliva to eat that bread) packed separately. Brought one back.
  • 3 VFuel gels: Vanilla, Fudge Brownie and Peach Cobbler. Although they were very handy and tasty, I would never switch to “gel only” nutrition. Don’t think my stomach would tolerate it. At some point I wished I’ve brought a mandarine with me.
  • 750 ml water in bladder, 2 x 500 ml Nuun Grape electrolyte. Refilled the flasks a few times, so approx about 2.5 l liquid.
  • Dark chocolate for back up – brought back most of it.

The pictures of the fellow runners are on the Wilsons Prom 100 Gallery page.

On the way to Tidal River
Rainbow at Darby River
First time at the Telegraph Saddle lookout. Didn not know about it until this time.
A rather unusual cheers with my friend Emilia
All set up for BBQ in the rain
Didn not look that bad... although by the time the meat rested, it also went cold
Packing the pack
Borrowed this pic from Cathy Roberts
Sealers Cove - different...
With Bruce Venables
This rock!
Refuge Cove?
Cannot resist taking a photo here. No matter what the weather is like
That rock behind me was pretty slippery
Cannot recall his name... asked me where the next wate source is. Took a pic of him
He returned the favour
Tony OConnell took this picture of me somewhere around Refuge Cove
Waterloo Bay
Waterloo Bay.. there should be a sign somewhere there
Looking back to Waterloo Bay
...and from a bit higher
Somewhere there should be the Lighthouse
Yep, there it is!
Looking back to the left on the way towards the Lighthouse
In the clouds
That little stone looks like it is smiling - made me smile, too
Touched the Lighthouse door
He was not too impressed with being interrupted
Whoohoohoo... spooky
The water was really flowing at Roaring Meg
This was Telegraph Track - a little creek
Telegraph Tk
The sprint to the finish line - Emilia did not think I would be coming this soon
Nearly there
Big hug from Lucinda Scott. This man on the right is Richard, the Commando
I am explaining something here
After a hug for Catherine, it was Julie s turn
Cheering for Thomas Martin
Next day, on the way home