Moon Shadow is one of the most fun trail runs on the racing calendar. Competitors and volunteers are spotted here catching up before hitting Ellis Brook Reserve for 12kms. Image – Kate Dzienis.
By Kate Dzienis
One of the most unique and fun events on the racing calendar was held on Saturday night (October 15) at Ellis Brook Valley Reserve in Martin, just 27-kilometres south east of Perth.
With a full moon out bright above the hills, the Perth Trail Series’ Moon Shadow 12-kilometre night run was alive with runners raring to get their feet on the trails and complete a spectacularly technical course that was both fun and difficult.
Just over 140 runners signed up for Moon Shadow, all with hydration packs, headlamps, mosquito spray, and fluro sticks attached to wrists and necks.
The event, which had an Alice in Wonderland theme to it and highlighted the similarities between the story’s idea of madness and the craziness of trail running, even had three international competitors take part – one each from Canada, South Africa and the UK.
With the horn blaring near on 7.15pm runners took to the trails – and within 20-metres were met with the first arduous hill climb full of pea gravel, but the front runners gunned it to the top in no time and kept the momentum going.
Trails at Moon Shadow varied incredibly from loose pea gravel to sand and then boulders uphill to open wide granite and man-made steps with varying rocks along a spectacularly moonlit waterfall.
With heads down and bums up, first to cross the finish line in a time of 56:40.5 was Keith Holt, while right on his heels were John Carroll (57:30.4) and well known first place finisher (in varying PTS events) for the women’s Rachel Brooks (57:33.7).
Logan Vickers was third male in over the line at 57:41.7 while second female was Marlene Lootz (1:04:11.9).
Brooks, who hails from Guildford, said this year’s Moon Shadow event was her second and it was last year’s race that was the catalyst for getting addicted to trail racing.
“I think the experience got me hooked on trail running and I’ve heard the same thing from other people as well, that Moon Shadow is great to get you into the sport,” she said.
“This particular race is special because you forget the hard bits once it’s over and only remember the fun parts like the downhills, the open look out at the top with the city view and the steps at the end.”
Rachel Brooks, 30, from Guildford (WA) pictured here at last year’s Moon Shadow event. This year she claimed first female finisher. Image – supplied.
Although event organisers encouraged participants to run Moon Shadow with friends, many of the frontrunners looking to place at the top of the ladder hit the trails on their own and Brooks was among that list.
“I was alone for the whole thing, I did bring my earphones with me but didn’t end up turning my music on – it seemed I couldn’t take it all in properly with music in my ears,” she said.
“It was a cool feeling being on top of what feels like a mountain, twisting and turning in the dark, jumping over logs, through water, bounding down stairs and hugging the side of the hill with a drop off just to your other side.
“The organisers did such a good job with flagging and pruning the course, I only had to duck down a few times and that’s just another added challenge I don’t mind not having company, you usually don’t have the breath to have a chat anyway but definitely gave a wave and a hello to the volunteers standing out there on their own in the dark!”
Moon Shadow was certainly a difficult course and Brooks ‘stacked it’ just 500-metres from the finish.
“You feel like you’re sprinting down those steps for ages and then the ground just evens out, I had too much forward momentum and my legs couldn’t keep up with my body,” she said.
“I ended up on all fours and my belly but bounced up.
“It’s funny because the guy that was I chasing in front of me heard it happen but said he thought I was coming through the bushes or something, like I was trying to take a short cut and cut him off (laughs).
“No injuries though, I think there were others that faired a bit worse than me in that regard.”
Perth Trail Series will hold another night race on November 19 at Banyowla Regional Park in Roleystone (WA) titled Channel 12.
It will be a 12-kilometre race.
Visit perthtrailseries.com.au for more information.
Runglobal gives virtual high fives to all competitors, volunteers and event organisers.