Bogong To Hotham Volunteering

Yesterday was the B2H race – something I’d never be able to do, even if my stupid ankle actually worked. The qualifying standards are pretty tough, and if I were ever able to run again, I couldn’t possibly be fast enough for the tough cut off times. I love though mountains though, so I thought it would be a good excuse to go for a walk above the tree line for a bit.

We were stationed at Warby Corner, which I think is about 26km into the race, in between Spion Kopje and Mt Nelse North.

The original plan was to camp at Ropers Hut the previous night and then walk to Warby, but when we looked at the map we thought it would be easy enough to sleep in the car near the Rocky Valley storage lake and walk up in the morning.

We left at dawn. It was quite cold, so we were in long pants and jackets.

Victorian Alps

Click any pic to enlarge

Once we got above the trees the sun came up. There were a bazillion wild flowers out. I love them!

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We made it to our aid stop and had a rummage around. There was a table and about 5 million litres of water, oranges, snakes and electrolytes stashed in some bushes. We set up and were ready to go pretty early. I found some awesome cheap light 3 legged stools last week, so brought them up. We had a beautiful view of the mountains (Bogong?) and sat down to have some breakfast.

Then we had a wander up to Mt Nelse North while waiting for the first runners to come through.

I got a call from the radio operator at the checkpoint before us. We were supposed to have a radio guy with us, but he was sick, so it was just us for a bit. Lucky A decided to come with me, or I’d be setting up by myself, and although I would’ve found the food and water, I wouldn’t’ve found the table to put it all on, which was stashed elsewhere.

Victorian Alpine Wildflowers

The first runner came through at 9:10am – on track for a course record (I think he missed out by 3 mins or so in the end). Soon enough, RD Andy drove up with a DNS runner, B, to help us out.

Victorian Alpine Wildflowers

We found ourselves in a good rhythm with A recording runners, B filling drink bottles for runners, and me doing a little bit of everything and a little bit of communication by text in lieu of radio operator. It’s kinda funny to think we were almost in the middle of nowhere, but I had full mobile reception.

It was never as crazily busy as I expected, and towards the end the runners were looking very buggered and were spread out far apart. There were so many that would not reach the cut off time at Langford Gap. The temperature was around the low 20s and very sunny. With no shade, the runners were doing it pretty tough. Our own supply of sunscreen and aeroguard turned out to be a hit with the runners. When it was quiet and we had eaten our own food supplies, we entertained ourselves by eating the electrolytes that are supposed to be dissolved in water. It was just like eating Wizz Fizz!

We were expecting to finish by lunch time, but were there until about 1:45pm. I was instructed not to let the last runner keep going, as his wife was going to drive up to our aid station to pick him up. This was good for us because we could load all the aid station gear in the car and we all got a lift back too. We were getting pretty tired, sunburnt and eaten by flies.

I was originally hoping we’d be done earlier so we’d have time for another short walk before heading home, but that was not the case. By the time we got to Bright, there was nowhere open for lunch. It was 41 degrees down there, so the only thing to do was to wander into the crowded ice cream shop and get an iced coffee for the road. It was gooooood 🙂

It was a good day out and I’m pretty sure we’ll be up for this one again next year 😀

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