|Some fellow runners at the summit of Mount Bogong|
early in the 2005 Bogong to Hotham race.
Mount Bogong (1986m) is the highest mountain in Victoria and Mount Hotham (1864m) lies at the opposite (southern) end of the Bogong High Plains making it an attractive challenge to run, or ski, between them. An early skier, Charles Derrick, died of exposure in 1965 while trying to ski between the two when caught in a blizzard, adding to the legend of the course.
|Most of the finishers of the 2005 Bogong to Hotham race. |
The course is challenging in terms of both topography and meteorology. You can get very tired very quickly on the precipitous climbs and endless tussocky plains, and the weather can be intimidating and debilitating. However, the snow gum forests, alpine grasslands and the roaring Big River, have a remote wilderness feel to them, with brumbies plentiful and the views spectacular.
Nowadays, perhaps the most appealing aspect to me that it is a race for serious runners. There is a cut-off point at Langfords Gap, 35km into the 64km race, of six hours. This may seem easy, but it is not unless you are a good trail runner. It has always been a challenge for me and I have just made it on two occasions and would have missed it on a third but for the race being cancelled because of diabolical weather. No runners were allowed to proceed beyond Langford Gap and I was saved embarrassment. There are other cut-offs, but this is the one that counts.
|During the weather-shortened 2012|
Bogong to Hotham race.
There is a different challenge after Langfords when you encounter a narrow tussocky trail for many kilometres, marked every forty metres by numbered snow poles. It is barely a shoe-width wide and exhausting to try and land on the path with every step. When you stray off, as you must, the risk of sprained ankles and strained muscles on the rough tussocks increases exponentially, exacerbating fatigue. Compounding your misery can be the snow pole numbers, decreasing ever so slowly (No. 1 is near the Hotham summit), and reminding you of how far you still have to go.
|During the weather-shortened 2912|
Bogong to Hotham race.
A final challenge can be the bus ride down the long switch-backed road from Mount Hotham during which the gastrointestinal fortitude of many runners, including myself, have been tested.
Today, I just ran a very easy 10km, recovering from yesterday's harder run and resting up for a trail run tomorrow.