Bathurst runner Wes Gibson has described the Sri Chinmoy Canberra Centenary 100 kilometre trail run as one of the toughest, but most rewarding challenges of his life.
Gibson set himself the goal of doing a 100 kilometre race, but said that Saturday’s event pushed him to the limit and at one stage he doubted he would finish.
But despite the difficulties he faced, he was the eighth man home.
The picturesque course took in a number of Canberra landmarks including Mt Stromlo Observatory, Lake Burleigh Griffin and Black Mountain, but for those taking part, the scenery was only a minor distraction from the pain of the task at hand.
“In 11 hours, 39 minutes and 42 seconds I experienced highs, lows and personal battles that I had not previously experienced in any way whilst competing in any sport. Ultimately, while my performance fell away at stages, I walked away satisfied and proud of my first ever 100 kilometre race,” he wrote in his blog two days after completing the mammoth effort.
Gibson suffered not only physical pain but also mental barriers during the race and approximately 60 kilometres into the test, he had notified the race director he would be withdrawing.
But at the next aid station, he talked to his wife Kellie and friends and decided he would keep going.
By that time he had put his demons behind him and was able to give it everything during the final 30 kilometres.
Incredibly, despite the challenges he had faced during the race, Gibson still had enough energy to finish the last five kilometres in 25 minutes and maintain a run up the hill to the finish line.
“During this time I reflected on what had occurred and was satisfied that whilst I had a bad period in the middle of the race, I had mostly run according to plan and was about to achieve my goal of completing a 100 kilometre run,” Gibson said.
“While I was immensely relieved to cross the finish, I was also indebted to those I had shared that moment with.
“If it wasn’t for Kellie who has always supported me and was my rock on the day, Sean and Mel of MountainSports who have been supporting me sincerely since the start of the year, and our new friend Rebekah Markey, I still would have been on top of Black Mountain all dressed up with nowhere to run.”
Gibson will now concentrate on recovery before he attempts the Kanangra 50km Trail Ultra next month.