I recently ran 50km in the Ned Kelly Chase 50km ultra marathon. The theme is based on the story of the infamous 1800’s Australian bush ranger (criminal) Ned Kelly, essentially a thief who along with the “Kelly gang” killed a trooper (policeman), was pursued, eventually caught, trialed and hung.

Ned Kelly 2015 finishers medal

So in running the NKC a warrant is issued for your arrest and a trooper cyclist tries to arrest you before you finish. If caught you are tagged and free to finish the run. The trooper who caught you goes into the draw for the Top Trooper award.

 You set your own start time based on aiming to finish at 2pm. This will see a majority of runners, fast and slower,  coming in around the same time. All great fun but still no easy feat running 50km. Oh, there are also 100km runners out there also.

I handicapped myself at a 8am start aiming for 6 hours or less. I completed the 50km in 5h 47m. I was really pleased with this result but more so that I was able to train, make it to the start without injury and finish by myself unguided. The likelihood of me being able to do this by myself much longer is becoming less and less.

By normal standards this was not a hard or technical course, it was a flat, sealed surface, well marked, plenty of aid stations. I even did a recon run a few weeks before and loaded the map into my Suunto Ambit3 gps watch. However, as anyone with a vision impairment will know normal usually doesn’t look normal at all. For me it was a constant mix of seeing well (by my standards…), sun glare, complete white out, darkness under the bridge, shadows of trees with blinding stripes of light, path edges that merge unseen into the dirt alongside, whiteouts, road crossing with little depth perception of where the road and path meet. With one trip under a bridge I did pretty well.

A massive ankle injury in December ’14 had put me out of a 21km trail run planned for March ’15 and set me training and completing the NKC 50km. Probably fortunate as my eyesight has definitely deteriorated over the past year. I am now really glare effected by the sun and depth perception on steps is becoming worse.image

I’m not sure what I’ll do next.

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