There are several obvious things I could include in the list, like the epic battle in the men’s race, seeing the jubilation of the women’s winner as she crossed the line or the incredible sight of two thousand people descending into the valley on a beautiful autumn day. But I’m going to highlight a few different things that I think help to make it such an amazing weekend of running.
1) The venue. Not just the world heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park, but the new start and finish point at Scenic World. This new location for the race and the way the finish chute was dressed up gave the whole event a feeling of being BIG! The views are as good as it gets, the atmosphere was energised and there was plenty to entertain supporters throughout the day. This change to the event is a huge winner!
2) The commentator. You all heard him! He had to be the funniest, most excitable and encouraging event commentator I’ve ever heard. How he managed to keep his energy up all day and night is almost as amazing as the fetes of stamina shown by the runners. He brought the finish area to life and entertained everyone…even if he did pronounce my name wrong…several times.
3) The event volunteers. I’ve been to my fair share of sporting events where they use volunteers. Often, they’re ill informed, on power trips and, well, lazy. I believe if you volunteer to do something, you do it properly and at TNF100 the volunteers were awesome. Apart from being happy and helpful, there were loads of them. So things ran really smoothly and everywhere you looked there was someone able to give you a hand if you had a question.
4) The social media. There’s nothing better than being able to follow what’s going on at an event while you’re off grabbing a quick cup of coffee or if you’re unable to attend. The team that handled the facebook and twitter feeds for the event did a sensational job that made it easy to know what was happening across the weekend. Plus having the guys from Ultra168 up there to fill in the gaps meant you never missed a minute of the action.
5) The suffering. It might sound strange, but there’s something about seeing so many people out there, suffering for hours on end, that makes me smile. Not in a sadistic way, well maybe a little. In all honesty I think it’s cool seeing so many people, from all walks of life, partaking in a challenge that’s so epic that many would never comprehend it. The North Face 100 is an incredible leveller and regardless of if you’re a high power exec, a teacher, a stay at home mum or a student, out there you’re just another battler in a pair of joggers, working your arse off and loving it!