I ran the You Yangs 50 km trail race back in 2011, securing my first ever podium by finishing in third although I had arrived to complete a training run. Setting off easily I slowly picked up the pace as I went, gaining places and eventually realising that a podium position was a real possibility.
I returned to the race in 2014, once again as a training run. However this time I was arriving on the final day of my 6-day running week with 154 km already completed. As I had been doing with all of my trail runs over the previous month I would carry the full mandatory gear list for my upcoming race at the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). While I would be unlikely to require the two torches I was carrying along with spare batteries for a race starting at 8:30 AM that I would complete around lunchtime, it was about helping me get used to carrying the pack and would assist in determining the best places for carrying certain items.
While I should be used to it by now, I was still surprised by how many people shot off in front of me from the start. Even at a training pace it was unlikely that 20-odd people within a small field would finish ahead of me.
I set my own pace, passing a number of people on the first notable climb when I continued running as most slowed to a walk, and then passing more on the second major climb. The course follows a clover leaf pattern, passing back through the start/finish area a few times throughout the race. With 15-km, 30-km, 50-mile and 100-mile races also taking place you would often encounter other runners either heading in the same direction or occasionally in the opposite direction, which I really enjoyed. Despite the potentially confusing nature of the route, it was brilliantly marked and extremely simple to follow.