2015 marked the 41st running of The Great NOSH… and my first. It is a not for profit race run by the Bennelong Northside Orienteers. I love community run events (like Running Wild), they offer good value for money and a wonderful low key atmosphere. The NOSH was great in this regard and offered up a wonderful and challenging course. You can imagine it must be good having been run for 41 years. I can’t think of any running event, let alone trail event, that has been on for that long.
The NOSH has actually been on my must do list since I started running so even though it was only a couple of weeks after TNF100, following a really good recovery, I signed up. It was never going to be a race for me to really push hard but rather a great course to just enjoy myself.
The race is a total distance of about 16km starting in Lindfield and finishing in Seaforth skirting around the foreshores of Middle Harbour. The fact that both the start and finish are roughly 10k from the Sydney CBD makes the natural wonders that lie in-between quite amazing. In fact throughout the entire course you are never more than 12k from the middle of Australia’s largest City yet for much of the course you feel as isolated as being deep within the Blue Mountains… except for the fact that Sydney Harbour lies right beside you. The last 5km of the NOSH is one of my most frequent training runs. The firetrail section that runs parallel to the Wakehurst Parkway being my… “I want to do a trail run but I don’t want hills or trails” route. I do it whenever I want to run just for a bit of relaxation… so a fair bit!
The first 11k was all a bit of a mystery to me, despite all my recent running, and more significantly, having lived for 5 years in Roseville Chase during university, none of this section was more than 2k from my old home! I really should run it more but I am pretty spoilt with so many other options so close to home.
Arriving at Lindfield for the start it was pretty chilly and there was a little bit of drizzle about. Checkin was quick and easy and with the family being my Taxi for the day they kindly hung around so I could stay in the warmth of the car till closer to the start. One really nice thing about the NOSH is it starts at the leisurely hour of 10am! No leaving home at 4am today!
The start of the race has about 1600m of firetail before turning to single track. I think the organiser had been very smart in organising it this way as temptation would have been to start at the oval where checking was which would have meant a much earlier section of single track. There was also signs up at the start to clearly assist runners in seeding themselves. Another smart touch. I felt like I had a 1:15 in me and lined up towards the back of the first main group.
Despite all this planning and good work by the organisers… come the first section of brief uphill stairs things came to a screeching halt. Every_frikken_trail_run some numpty bolts out a sub 4min km at the start only to stop at the first tiny bump. What is the point! Why!
My start was strong and I ran at a pretty comfortable pace through the Lindfield/Roseville section of the course and across the Roseville Bridge. I was carrying a water bottle so passed straight through the first aid station. The trail from here up to Forestville is pretty much all single track with quite a few ups and downsbut much of it actually flatter than I was expecting. You really feel isolated in this section with nothing but bush and harbour completely surrounding you. What really let me down on the run was the climbs. I guess I was still a little tired in the legs but the moment the track started the steady climb up from the bottom of Bantry Bay to Forestville Oval started I slipped backwards. KM 9,10 and 11 really cost me as I dawdled along making barely the slightest of effort. I did enjoy myself however and I guess that was the point.
Once I hit the familiar trails above the Natural Bridge, through Forestville Oval, and along the Engravings firetrail things got better and I picked up the pace again grabbing back a few positions.
My result was 1:26:40 for 20th in my age group so I was a bit slower than I planned but still a pretty good result and a fun day. I can’t recommend this event enough. It’s great. Its convenient (if you live in Sydney), spectacular, well run and just all round fun.
Gear for the day…
- Compressport Trail Shorts – they were back to their old sliding down annoying best.
- Hoka Challenger ATRs – I didnt expect they would be my goto shoe but for some reason I have developed an affection for them post TNF100… I even cleaned them!
- TNF Better than Naked shirt – it isn’t trust me. Its OK but I guess you need to understand the branding isn’t “Better than Salomon” (or whatever) all of which are also better then naked and IMHO better than “Better than Naked”.
- UD handheld bottle with Hammer Electrolytes and a Hammer Expresso Gel Flask. Probably totally unnecessary but nothing like a bit of convenience!