On Saturday October 25th, in the depths of darkness, people gathered in an unmarked parking area in Quidi Vidi. It was 6:30 in the morning but, for the amount of light available, it might as well have been 3am. Excitement rippled through the air as last minute preparations were ironed out, introductions were made, and car pooling adjustments were negotiated. At 6:55am the runners left for Pouch Cove to start running from there at sunrise.
In Pouch Cove the solo runners were joined by the relay runners. A brief pre-race talk about safety and warmth was given while the official sunrise time approached.
The race began. Some were sprinting, some were jogging, some were smiling, and some looked nervous. Regardless of their speed or facial expressions, they all moved forward till the last runner was out of sight, disappearing into the trail and woods. Just like that, they were a part of history; the first official East Coast Trail Ultra Marathon was underway.
The first transition point and first aid station was located 16km into the route in Flat Rock. It was around 9, an hour and quarter into the race, when the dreaded rain started pounding the area. Thunder could be heard above. Patrick McIlroy and Seamus Boyd-Porter were the first ones to arrive in Flatrock. This was the point were relay teams handed off the baton, so to speak, and got a pair of fresh legs to take on the next part of the course. Somewhere between Flat Rock and Middle Cove, one of the Trail Running Taylors overtook Patrick and Seamus. The Trail Running Taylors would go on to win the team relay event.
The Middle Cove transition station was at Middle Cove beach. It doesn’t get much more scenic than coming off the East Coast Trail onto the beach.
The final checkpoint was at the Logy Bay Marine Lab. This stretch requires some time running on the roads before heading back into the East Coast Trail. Runners had one final opportunity to grab a sports drink before the final 10km stretch after which they would emerge into historic Quidi Vidi. Their ending time was captured the moment that they arrived inside the Inne of Olde.
Inside the Inne of Olde there was a large spread of chili(meat and vegetarian) and buns for of all the runners after their epic day. There may have a been a delicious beer or two consumed as well! Winners of the solo and team events were then announced, along with general prize draws. Prizes included massage gift certificates from Proactive Physio and free Iceberg beer from Quidi Vidi Brewery. All the relay teams finished the event. All but two runners finished the full solo event & thankfully there were no serious injuries to report. Full results can be found here and pictures can be found here.