How good is a finish line? On the start line I aim to be calm, at ease, visualizing the trail ahead of me, ready for anything the day might bring. I also draw on my training and remember the fun and hard sessions I’ve done to get me there at that time. This gives me the confidence, or more the knowledge that I am prepared and that I can do this.
The finish line, that common place we all strive for, is where you feel the jubilation of finishing something epic. You can imagine it, and it can feel like you will never get there when you are in the depths of despair, hiking up a technical trail that seems to go for ever, or what seems to be hill after hill after hill. But there is nothing quite like that small space just the other side of a line that means you’ve finished, and finally you can stop your relentless forward progress.
It is amazing how you can find the energy to run, lift your arms, and even jump when you get in sight of that line, because 15-30 minutes earlier you felt so tired and the only thing keeping you moving was the possibility of being able to stop eventually.
On the 6th and 7th of July I spent a lot of time around the finish line of the Brisbane Trail Ultra. In fact, it was pretty cool to bump into Matthew Salinovich who finished the 100 mile event there. Mathew ran the Ultra at the Run the Great Whitsunday Trail in 2018 he finished 4th male in 6 hours 57 minutes. At the Brisbane Trail Ultra he finished the 100 miles (161km) in 27 hours 17 minutes – a very hilly challenging event.
I don’t recall anyone saying they wouldn’t do that again. I did hear people saying how hard it was - people were tired, sore, hungry, thirsty, and well and truly spent, but all had pride in achieving something significant and personal. This was the same for everyone and it was heartening to see and hear afterwards the shared experiences from the trail. Only those that were out there on the trail, and completed the course, can totally relate. For them the finish line feels the same whether they finished first or last.
I also talked a few people into coming to Airlie Beach in September, promising that this event would be just as epic but in a different way. Whether you run the Honeyeater Challenge, the 28.7km trail event or the 57.4km ultra, that metre or two just past the finish is a place that is pretty amazing!