Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Ultra Trail Mount Rokko

Saturday 14th May 6:40 we all assembled outside Suma station on the Sanyo line to begin the first of the many climbs. Jacquelyn and Karin joined us to begin their hike and at 6:45 we set off on a journey that was going to bring highs and lows both mentally, physically and topographically and last for the next 11 hours.
Linda and Ken climbing the Suma Alps
The first few k went by in a bit of a blur as the pace ebbed and flowed, steps were cursed and climbed. Scenery gasped at, vending machines visited and Paul lost and found again.
Grumpy Boar
Arriving at the first 'bailout' option
The first drop out point arrived at 13k with our group a mere 15 minutes behind the estimated optimistic time. Bottles were refilled, camelbacks topped up and we set off towards the big hard staircase to the top of the next ridge. It was every bit as hard as I remember but this time, better fuelled, better rested and cooler I got to the top feeling much better than last week. We met up with Megumi K. and David at the top. We stopped, chatted, regrouped and moved on towards Futatabi. Shortly after that we lost Ken. We got to the picnic spot and headed off towards Mt. Maya, Ken on the other hand got there and headed towards Kobe. He would find his own way home from there, have a nap and a shower and get to the BBQ well ahead of us.

Mt Maya was another tough climb and when we got to the top we probably lingered a little too long. I phoned Sarah to let her know we were pretty much on schedule and would be at Rokko Garden Terrace for 2:00-2:30pm.
The tarmac sections then began to take their toll, pain was evident in the gait of several of the runners who were by now beginning to shuffle rather than run, and doubts were creeping in over the chances of us all finishing, especially as we were evidently in alligator country.

Me and Joe entering the Rokko Garden Terrace
We were met by Megumi T, and Peter Born who had ridden up all or part of the way. Peter Wilson, Katy and Sarah were also there having been driven up by Bob to join us for the run down, and Hiroki was there. It was the first time anyone had seen him since about kilometre 3 when he disappeared off the front.
The run down was fast and furious for some and utter torment for others. Joe was beginning to suffer quite dramatically but was not at any point going to give up, others were not having their best days or were just plain knackered having been on the go for around 8 and a half hours.

It was beautiful but technical. A trip, a fall, a suspected broken arm, a call for help, the walking wounded, all in the last few km of a brilliant day out. The tarmac for the remaining miles back to the island was hard and sore on the feet, the bridges became monster climbs and the green belt no longer looked or felt flat. I finished tired, happy, a little sore in the hips but other than that in remarkably good shape. We headed straight for the drink bucket and the food.
Joe refuels those beaten quads

 My day was done - the 'event(s)' seemed to go off well, at least I enjoyed my bit and all of a sudden I was incapable of any further action or meaningful thought. Bob kept me supplied with beer, friends came, stayed, then went, all of a sudden it was time to go and all the tidying up was done.

My thanks must go out to those that helped make the day a success (at least from my perspective) whether running, hiking, biking, fetching, carrying, cooking or hosting - THANK YOU.

The Garmin map and figures can be found at UTMR I still maintain the distances are under reading by 10-15%. Despite the Garmin distance being 48.25km or 30 miles there is no doubt we went a bit further than the 'Official Mount Rokko Longitudinal Route' which is 56km.

Well done to all.

Thanks also to Peter Stevenson and Bob Williams for the photos.

1 comment:

  1. Awsome ! :)

    Bring 'em all over to run Pendle : )