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Blacktown Olympic Park – 192.935km

Hey Beth. I’m a little OVEREXCITED and am ready a tad early. See you soon.
You’re standing on your driveway with enough luggage for six months in Europe’s Winter awaiting Beth to drive you to your pinnacle of excitement – Blacktown Olympic Park.

Arriving at the oval you are greeted by a sea of familiar faces. You share your happiness with some tight hugs and happy snaps.



Hour One
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (1 John 5:11)



Following a moments silence, a tradition at the Sri Chinmoy events, you set off on your first hour target:

Number of laps per hour Time per lap (in minutes) Resting lap (in minutes)
28                                           2:00                                   4:00

You’re smiling, it’s a blissful day with magnificent weather – such a blessing. You’re listening to your ‘Untitled Playlist 4’ – varying between hymns courtesy of Jess and your current obsession of a song – ‘young and beautiful’. The song reminds you of that warm winter evening double date of dumplings, ping pong and Gasby and failed match-making endeavour. You somehow want to dance swaying ballet meets gymnastics. It’s a very worldly song it its words; rather superficial – “will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” Quite contrary to the agape love talked about in the Bible; charity or the highest level of love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).


After your premeditated 28 laps you cruise to your stretch spot to hug, chat and debrief. You are ahead of target – feeling great but weary that you need to be conservative despite that urge one gets in racing.
“It’s really tough in long races. You’ve been training alone and suddenly all your loved ones are there supporting you and cheering you on. You can’t help but want to go fast. But you’ve got to be tactful and hold back. Even reward yourself with your partner arriving at the end of the race.” It’s Pat Farmer’s words resonating as you stretch.
In response to your hand signal gesture of four fingers (one finger = endura, 2 = gel, 3 = too hard to raise, 4 = sustagen, 5 = water), Beth prepares you some tasty sustagen that you demolish, leaving residue on the sides of your mouth. No kissing your special someone with these lips!

The 2nd Hour
1 John 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
You have changed your playlist to a more contemporary song. You don’t like Hillsong as a Church, but can meditate on the words of your favourite contemporary Christian song – ‘the Stand.’
Your second hour is the same speed as your first hour at a conservative 11km/h; you are focused and conserving energy hand signalling your snack and liquid requirements.
You hug good-bye Beth and thank Miguel in utmost gratitude as he arrives as crew member number two.

The 3rd hour 1 John 5:13

“Has hecho una vuelta en dos minutos diez segundos. Necisitas correr mas rapido.”
“That spreadsheet hasn’t been updated correctly” your brain somehow can’t fathom speaking Spanish at this stage. You’re in liquid carbs and sign language mode as you endeavour to cover as much km’s possible in the first 12 hours, knowing that’s how you work best.
“He cambiado el plano esta manyana” you add in Spanish as you pass by the next lap. It’s funny how the first language you speak to someone somehow becomes impossible to eradicate. You met Miguel at the Spanish Society – when he sees you he sees Spanish language; it’s almost unnatural to converse in English.
It’s not until your stretch lap that you properly explain that you actually are required to run laps of between 2min10 and 2min20 (obviously the faster your lap time is, the longer your stretch or ‘rest lap’ is). You’ve now hugged Emily and are ready for the next bit with some nutella and ricotta calzone!
The 4th hour
Psalms 119: 9
10km/h is quite a nice pace. You’ve settled into a rhythm and are really looking forward to the five hour mark where you get to slow down to 8km/h! It’s a bit warm now and you’ve requested Thiroul arrive with some Frosty fruit and sunglasses (you’ve avoided the blind bank robber look with contacts today – exhibit A blind bank robber below)

Thiroul arrives; you can’t remember if you hug, kiss or simply smile and wave frantically upon his arrival. He pulls out his bag of goodies:
Sunglasses? He asks raising up the green sunglasses you got at the careers fair.

You shake your head horizontally.


Too warm for that.

Frosty fruit?

You’re like a seven year old shaking her head in utter glee at the thought of that refreshing cold Popsicle. It’s something you have only dreamed of eating in a race but always seemed to forget to pack that into your esky.

The 5th hour
Psalms 119:11
“Maybe don’t quite slow down to 8km/h. That’s a big jump. Why not 9km/h? But then again women are good at being consistent in their pace.” It’s Robert’s advice on your strategy.
You’ve reached marathon at 3h50min and are able to now slow down to 8km/h and still make the 60km in 6 hours. You even go on to 60.8km – a personal pb! You’re feeling great.
The 6th hour
Hebrews 10:25

You are finally eating more solid foods – a bit of sticky rice now. You’re feeling very positive and looking forward to seeing your Bec, Bron and Victor in the coming hours (the sandwich as Thiroul would say). You’re still not quite liking the sticky rice so continue on with calzone, sustagen and endura as your main forms of energy. Somehow gels are vomit inducing.

The 7th hour
John 15:7
Bec has now arrived and you barge her over with the hug you give her. You notice her talking with Robert as you run by and signal 5. She provides you water on the next lap as Thiroul goes to pick up Victor from the station. You take your happy snaps at the end of the hour whilst stretching and grabbing your next slice of nutella and ricotta calzone.



The 8th hour
1 Peter 5:8
You reach 50 miles at 8h10.

“Robert my stomach isn’t feeling too well.”

“Here have some ginger and stop drinking sports drink. We need to de acidify your stomach”.

You proceed on nibbling on some sugared ginger.

“This is kotzuebel! I can’t eat it.” You place the ginger down on the table as you run past.
The stomach improves and you soar on.

“Bye Bec! Thank-you!”

You thank Bec for coming as you briefly exit your ‘zone.’



The 9th hour
Hebrews 11:6

“Good to see you Bron! Where’s your pumpkin suit?” You run over to hug your new crew member and costume buddy.

“Unfortunately I came straight from work. I’m sorryL. Good to see you too! You’re looking strong.” You know that the combination of being a doctor and being in a pumpkin suit around kids could turn into something, well, undetermined?

You hear of Gary passing the 100km mark in around 9 hours. It’s something on your plate to tick off, but not in this race. Your focus is on consistent, slow and planned. You are starving for this >190km.



The 10th hour
Acts 2:41

“Sally! Bren! Give me a hug!” It’s your closest school friend and her husband. She has this aura about her that just wants to make you smile. That’s your first memory of your friendship – her fun nature. That friendship has evolved from one of silly teenage games and jokes to the formation of a sisterhood; sisters in Christ sharing, loving and caring.
They are warmly attired passing you the last of your nutella and ricotta calzone. You’re not eating the doughy bits – just the moist bits of nutella and ricotta – it’s easier to swallow.
You pass the 100km mark at 10h45 – you are on track with a BIG buffer for anything that should and does come your way.

Sally, giving the way her and her family perceive you as slightly quirky, decides to journal your behaviours:

Currently at blacktown oval as part of Larissas crew for her 24 hour race
She has just entered her delirious phase, her latest comment being “there’s no ginger left”

Sally Smid 7:46pm *sings* “you’re in motionnnnnn” la la la
Saturday at 19:46 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 7:50pm “you can eat the sushi, I have an aversion to rice right now”
Saturday at 19:51 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 8:09pm said “ok” in response to us saying “go Larissa!”
Saturday at 20:09 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 8:16pm: *eats rice pudding thing* “mmm num nom nom, oops I broke the spoon!”
Saturday at 20:19 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 8:21pm “I need to fart!”
Saturday at 20:22 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 8:51pm Larissa has made 100km!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wooohooooo!!!
Saturday at 20:51 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 9:00pm *larissa puts up 4 fingers when she wants water* lucky we had both ready
Saturday at 21:00 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 9:06pm *sings* “I’ll stand!!”
Saturday at 21:06 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 9:18pm *puts her drink bottle down on the table to get pants to put on. Puts on pants. Picks up wrong drink bottle.* “pah! That’s not water!” *throws drink bottle on ground*
Saturday at 21:29 via mobile • Like

Sally Smid 10:11pm “I’m just gonna go over here and do a fart… Oh no that’s not coming out”



The 11th Hour
John 1:1

“I need to change my socks”.

Robert helps to take your shoe off, discovering a fresh blood blister wedged between your toes.

“You’ll just have to keep running”. He says, handing you some voltaren.

You are still steady at 8km/h. You’ve sent Thiroul to help out with the ‘sandwich’; him Victor and Bron have gone to dinner. You can’t fathom rice. Your stomach is feeling not quite happy. The watermelon is helping as you alkalise your body. You are having a slice each lap with a sip of water.

“They have ice-cream!” You know that despite it being your favourite food it won’t be too great for the stomach right now.

The 12th hour until 3am

You’ve kissed Thiroul good-bye, Sally and Bren are supporting on and James arrives whom you hug in warm welcoming.

Your stomach still isn’t that great and you get a little tired, popping your first 150mg of caffeine at midnight.

At 2:30am you need to call your dad. You are grateful for the time difference in Italy right now.

“Dad. I’ve covered about 150km but am really negative and low. My stomach isn’t good either.”

“Larissa you’ve covered so much. One step in front of another and you have this. We are very proud of you and love you very much. We are about to a lovely dinner in Tuscany. It’s lovely warm weather, very green…” Your dad distracts your mind from the cold and pain you are feeling. It’s something he is very good at.

“Dad I love you too. I know I have this. I just need to get through this.”

You plough on thinking of your strong grandfather, surviving the prisoner of war camp – this is nothing compared to that.


“Oh Meredith it is so good to see you!” You hug Meredith and do another lap, poising yourself in the comfy chair upon returning.

“I am not eating. I am tired.” You are making excuses.

“Here have some warm apple pie and in 5 laps I’ll give you some no doze.”

In five laps you sit down again and she feeds you some gel which you dry reach and the caffeine.

You continue on, noticing that the chairs have now been folded as you pass by the next time.

“You are going really well Larissa but you are fading. You need to replace your electrolytes. Here take these 3 tablets.” It’s a kind volunteer.

“But I haven’t taken these tablets. Nor have I eaten.” You are scared of health ramifications.

“That’s fine. These will help.”

You take them and continue on.


At 4:17am you message Thiroul

“Thiroul I only have 37km to go but am so negative. My stomach is really bad. I’m not eating. I feel like crying. I miss you x”

Immediately, in utter UNSWOC care mode, you get a response “I am on my way. You’ve got this. Chin up.”

You let out your tears in what you like to call your ‘two tear laps’. It starts off feeling sorry for yourself, turns to utter gratitude for everyone who has come, for Thiroul who is coming especially early and to prayer.

As you are crying you are slightly aware of people watching you and somehow their pitied looks turn into a positive surge for you as you think “this just has to be done”.

“Your special someone has now arrived” Meredith remarks

You excitedly kiss him twice.

“Yes I know” you manage to smile beneath your pain. “And he is wearing the shirt I got him in Spain!”

5am til finish

You only sip on bits of Gatorade and eat a bite of some slice from now til finish.

“You’ve eaten well until now. Don’t worry about how much you eat for these last few hours. Just keep your lap times under 4min!” It’s Robert encouraging you.

You can no longer run by 7am – the air is too cold and your stomach hurts with the jolting of running. You continue on at a fast power walk, making solid progress of 6.5km/h.


You are made aware that there are only 3 laps between your win and second place female.

“Larissa you have to win this. Be motivated by the pain and upheaval that went with this year’s selection for world championships. That pain is worse than what you are feeling now.”

You keep Sarah exactly parallel to you on the track. She is running whilst you interval between walk and run.



Vivian arrives and you hug her as you momentarily pause from frowning (exhibit b below).



Sarah is now 2 laps behind you. You stay focused.

You reach 190km and have no voice to cheer but are congratulated as you eagerly run up to the powerwalking machine Sharon Sholz.

“Now I just can’t let Sarah overtake me”

20 seconds to go. 10 seconds. You know you have won this. BEEP.

The race is over. You have won. 192.935km. Hugs from people you have just met; Rick.

Hugs from Thiroul and Viv and collapsing onto the crash mat being hand fed grapes.

You did it. We did it. God did it.

A – 1 John 5:11-13
B – Psalms 119:9,11
C – Hebrews 10:25
D – John 15:7
E – 1 Peter 5:8
G – Hebrews 11:6
I – Acts 2:41
J – John 1:1
L – 1 Corinthians 11:26
M – Mark 16:15
N – John 3:3
O – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Thanks to everyone who helped out – Beth, Miguel, Emily, Thiroul (x2), Bec, Victor, Bron, James, Meredith, Sally, Brendan, Viv and Robert. I am so appreciative for you all and can’t wait to spoil you the way you deserve to be over some fine food at my place!


Narrabean Allnighter 12h – 109.3km

(The benefits of coldral and jetlag)

So you’re standing there feeling that fresh breeze on your skin, fixating your body in between other competitors to avoid your coldral-drugged throat from having any relapses. Fresh off the plane from Spain 36 hours ago you are looking at the positives of this jet lag – it’s 10am in Spain now – Narrabean All Day-er more like it! You’re doing the usual sipping of Endura and gel 20min before the race but somehow just can’t seem to finish the gel – you’re simply not hungry enough.

“We’ll now be starting at 8:15pm”. It’s the race director.

“It’ll be one of those moments at 8am where we’re wishing we’d started at 8pm but we still have 15minutes to go…” It’s Natalie, the record holder for the 12 hour and the first competitor you remember from your first ultra-marathon three years ago today.

8:15pm start now becomes an 8:20pm start. “Well we get to experience more of those wonderful early morning daylight hours!” It’s your positive mindset expressing itself.

“Where is your music?!” You’re talking to Emma and Natalie in these 20 minutes before the race.

“I don’t really like running with music…but I remember you last time…singing…shouting…you were the comedy of the night!”
Running without music is a concept you just can’t grasp. You’re looking forward to indulging in the latino and happy hardcore podcasts and for the harder moments when you just need to block everything out and focus, you’re excited putting a song on repeat.

It all seemed to happen so quickly from the static bunch of keen runners to the stampede rush – the team relay participants going off at about a 14km/h pace, the other competitors ranging in speed. Your race plan looks something like this:

3.33 18
3.33 18
3.33 18
3.33 18
3.33 18
3.33 18
3.33 19
3.33 19
3.33 19
3.33 20
3.33 20
3.33 20
3.33 21
3.33 21
3.33 21
3.33 22
3.33 22
3.33 22
3.33 22
3.33 22
3.33 22
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23
3.33 23

Each lap is 3.33km and you plan to go out relatively hard (18 minutes per lap for the first 2 hours) and finish at a cruisy pace. It leaves you the option to finish hard if you feel like it too.

DJ Pablo InDaMix – Tropical Sounds Mixshow is pulsating through your headphones. It’s bringing you on a journey back to Spain. You’re thinking of that amazing night in Barcelona dancing Bachata and Salsa with Colombian Ivan – somehow it was one of very few despite your pre-conceptions that ALL Spaniards danced salsa.

“Only when I’m absolutely and utterly borracho” – Bruno’s response when asked if he danced salsa.

You’re cruising along loving this – you’ve been confined in a plane, sick the past week so the liberation of running is amazing! You are beyond target, reaching 12km in one hour but feeling darn fine! Somehow the supplies of food you thought you would devour seem so kotzübel – it’s too hot for Turrón, muesli bars, chocolate or anything dry like pikelets…even sushi!

You reach half marathon at 1h49 minutes – that’s only 19 minutes off your PB half marathon time! You aren’t puffing; you are just wet with sweat, looking forward to the aftermath of your wet crop top on your body…the token rash of ultra-running…
You are now onto DJ Kensta – your thoughts wander to your exchange in Freiburg.

She took the midnight train going anywhere…

You’re thinking of your train trip to London, the BBQs around the lake you lived, your regular weekend trips to different countries – loving the scholarships and exchange rate! Not to mention the 0.80 Euro gelati scoops… What an existence.

You hit the usual wall at the 36km mark wanting to slow down but think of your goal – 108km. Changing Ipods, you put Agachate on repeat – it reminds you of New Year’s Eve Salamanca. Starting dinner at 10:45pm, eating 12 grapes in the last 12 seconds of 2012, continuing dinner until the early hours of the morning and leaving the house at 6am to go to the discotheque. “Agachate” dancing in the apartment happened sometime between dinner the discotheque venture. It brings back fond memories of the hilarious duo of Rosalia and Sara dancing like crazy to this questionable-lyrics-song.

“You are going very well!” It’s Ron.

It’s marathon distance now and your clock reads 3h49min – that’s only 23min off your PB! You push on to your next goal – 50k, reaching it in 4h45min.

Your shirt is now drenched in sweat. It’s partially to do with this concept you have in your head – if I wear long skins I won’t get injured…



Shirt changed you plough onto 60km, reaching it in under 6 hours – this is better than your result for your last 6 hour race – you are soaring…like a penguin!

“Robert, I’ve made 60km in less than 6 hours. Now I can slow down to my 24 hour race pace”. You’re expressing your joy to the president of Australian Ultra Running, who is also a competitor for tonight.

“Oh no you won’t. Push out that pace.” Somehow there is some wisdom in his words – the more I dig deep now, the more I can look forward to a treat of some slower laps towards the end.

You are living off watermelon and banana and sipping on Endura with ice cubes in it – a refreshing combination.
“Do you know what you are coming?” It’s your crew as you pass by.

“Yeah. I’m first and feeling great.”

“I thought so. You are amazing. You should go for the record.”

“I’ve got the 108km goal. I am definitely going to achieve that!”

You just can’t stop smiling knowing that you have made this. The minimum pace to get there is 8km an hour – you can power walk half of this now!



The runners seem to radiate from your smiles (when they can see you – it’s usually the rave glowsticks that indicate a runner is about to pass on this rather dark course).

You are approaching this Hawaain hut in this distance. As you near it you realise it is only a bunch of trees – your first hallucination. Time for No Doze! You pop 1.5 tablets and feel pumped and awake again!

82km and you’re replying to messages and facebook as you powerwalk half a lap, making sure your eyes can readily adjust between the brightness of your phone and the darkness of the course. You’re already looking forward to seeing your supportive crew in the morning – somehow wondering whether you will be conscious when he arrives!

The light is beginning to glimmer across the lake and you are now at an 8.3km/h pace embracing the wildlife – ducks and ducklings crossing the path in front of you, possums climbing up trees and kookaburras sitting on telegraph pools cheering you on.

“Next lap will be you 100km Larissa”. It’s the race director.

“Nooo. This lap was my 100km.”

Your watch is reading 102km

This puts you in the biggest negative mindset yet – to make the 108km according to those results I would have to run just over a 5min per km pace!

Your sad face is noticed by Emma – who puts her hand on your shoulder: “Are you okay?”

“They’ve miscounted my laps. My watch reads something different.”

“My watch is 3km out. It tends to happen.”

“My watch would be 5km out if their results are correct!”

“Don’t worry – they can look at your splits – it will be sorted.”

You just want to walk in this negative state and it’s not until you put on the song “Pretty Rave Girl” that you jostle out of that negative mindset – there is no point dwelling!

The song is reminding you of the beginnings of your short-lived raving day.

You lighten my life like laser beams.

The romance in raves limited to lyrics of songs – something that you can’t help chuckle about looking back.

“Ron could you please confirm the number of laps I have done?”

“Larissa yes sorry we miscalculated before. You are on 103.33km.”

“Such a relief! Thank you so much!” You drop your drink bottle in joy and sprint off singing and rejoicing!

It’s a thumbs up as you pass Emma, a big smile as you pass your signature fellow-smiling competitor and you are loving life! You have 4.7km to do in 43min – that’s as cruisy as it could get!

You decide to treat yourself to walk to last 0.67m with your newly arrived supporter. Its great catching up on the last 12 hours with him – the world beyond thoughts and steps on cement. You’re so happy. You’ve made this.

“Larissa, stop fuckin walking! Push out the last 7min!” It’s Keith, your adopted support crew on the night of your first ultra-marathon three years ago – a time you had no idea about race fluids nor nutrition

“But I’ve already reached my target.”

“C’mon push it out and see how far past it you can go!”

“Yeah Laz. You do that!” It’s your crew, encouraging Keith’s words.

You push on, squeeze in another lap and BEEP 12 hours. 109.5km.

You feel slightly faint but can’t stomach anything at the moment. A shower would be nice.

After the water painfully washing the rash from your crop top, you make your way out for the presentation and a failed attempt of eating one of your favourite foods – mango.

“Well at least you don’t need to eat at the moment if you can’t. It’s not like you are going to run anymore.” It’s your crew putting a positive on your body’s inability to eat.

“And the furthest distance tonight was achieved by Malcolm Gamble with 131km! Lauren Hamilton did her first race beyond a half marathon, clocking an amazing 94km.” You are amazed at the achievements, the comradeship and the personal growth each of these individual athletes undertook.

“And in 2nd place with I’d say a personal best of 108km.”

“109.5km…” you begin to correct him but simply walk up to collect your trophy with a happy snap, all in a uniform of Narrabean All Nighter Shirts.



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