The tail from the Tussock tail end

By Glenn Sexton

For the 2nd year,I was involved in the course crew and a little bit of traffic management for the Tussock Traverse, a trail run from the Desert Road and finishing at the Chateau. The  event is owned  by ex Hawk Jason Cameron’s company Victory Events and offers Hawks a generous discount.

Under the leadership of Hadley, myself, Eastside regular Blair Tupp and a couple of medics, our job was to manage the back 3rd of the field.  I kicked off the morning by standing on SH1 in the fog directing event buses to their drop off points before hitting the course of the 21 km distance while Blair was tail end Charlie for the 32km race. 

Despite the foggy morning it became clear pretty quickly that the main cause for concern would be the heat so I was loaded up with 15 litres of extra water to take in the first 6km. My proposed jog for that first section was revised to a fast tramp.  We met up a bit  later at a time cut off point where we fuelled up and had a bit of a chat about who we had noticed was struggling and who may need an eye kept out for. Blair continued as tail end Charlie while I jogged (minus the 10 litres) ahead through the field as a slightly more mobile advance party to check on the competitors. There was heaps of radio chatter between Hadley, myself, Blair and the 3 on course medics to make sure everybody was being looked after as well as possible. 

I got to run most of the course, albeit quite slowly due to extra water, thermal and safety gear and food I may have needed in case an entrant ran out or got into trouble. It was going pretty smoothly until 8 km to when I found a guy sitting down on the side of the track with a bung knee. He couldn’t walk downhill (there were heaps of them to go) and was in a bit of pain. There was quite a bit of debate from the medics and the race control guys about what to do and 90 minutes later I was back on my way after they had decided to call in a helicopter to fly him out. By that time there were only 4 competitors behind me and the field was very spread out so I saw only a handful of people  for the rest of the course. 

After 5 hours 20 I finished my 21km and Blair followed a bit later tramping for over 9 hours with a full pack. The day was finished off with the finish venue packup, a couple of beers, and dinner.

The event is really cool and donates over $16,000 every year to Project Tongariro, a conservation group who provide the marshalls. It has a 6,10,21 and a 32k distance so it caters for all sorts and I’d recommend it to anybody.