So, I've just returned from the Buffalo Stampede, and decided I would share my thoughts on the race.
The Buffalo Stampede "cow-bells" bring a huge atmosphere to the event
I'll quickly touch on the standard of running, because, it was phenomenal, but I'll leave the real critiquing to the pro's: Ultra 168.
Dakota Jones, is a genuine freak. I say that in the kindest way possible.
The pace at which he ran that Ultra-Marathon was phenomenal - and how casually he did it!
We had Dakota through the store during the week leading into the marathon, and I can tell you that he is a great guy.
There is no Ego involved with Dakota, and a true gentleman of the sport - which is the real subject of this blog post.
Dakota Jones claims his win (in a blistering time of 7:48)
Stu and I have said it 1000 times before, but the reason, above all, why we love being involved in Trail-running, is the people.
In my years, I have been involved in many competitive sporting events and codes; water-skiing, motocross, rugby league, etc, and I can tell you that nothing I've ever been involved with comes close to the camaraderie and genuine characters that you will find in trail-running.
I found myself standing at the top of Mount Buffalo on Sunday afternoon, looking down at the very postcard-like view of Bright and the surrounding area, thinking to myself what a fantastic time I'd had.
It was an honour to see the high's and low's of so many of our customers, from a very exhausted Keith Hamlin laying on the grass, in the rain, with the biggest smile on his face - just looking so genuinely chuffed having conquered Mt Buffalo.
To the many that couldn't quite get there in the end, having been tortured by the mountain, and when I would ask "are you gonna come back?" there was a resounding "definitely" with each and every one.
To Sean and Mel who've worked tirelessly to put on an event as good at this - congratulations.
The event was amazing, and the course; brutal - in the best way. The kind of course that earns a 'reputation'. the course that people want to conquer just because it's the toughest.
We also have to mention the act of sportsmanship by Brendan Davies, who was set to finish in 6th place, who was trailing a few others including Clarke McClymont who was sitting in 4th place when he found himself off the track, lost.
I was at the finish line, clapping for Brendan Davies as he ran in to finish a very respectable 5th place, and then he laid down, on the wrong side of the finish line.
There was a fair bit of confusion surrounding this, until Race Director Sean Greenhill announced Brendan's intentions. He felt it wasn't right if he finished infront of Clarke.
As soon as Clarke stepped over the line, Brendan followed.
Brendan Davies waits for Clarke McClymont to cross the line
Brendan & Clarke's comments on the above photo in response to people congratulating them both. Cooba is Clarke's dog, who ran the last 20k with him.
All in all - a wonderful event, in picturesque surroundings, a brutal course, brilliant atmosphere and wonderful people. Everything needed for a cracking race and just a great weekend away!
At the 14.5K mark in the ultramarathon, this is how they sat, 3rd, 2nd & 1st.
Marcus from Ultra 168 takes a second for a photo at the summit of Mount Buffalo.
Our setup at the finish-line with the guys from Suunto
Might not look like it, but that's a big fall if you put one foot out of line!
Well and truly dark at the start of the Ultra!