FROM dawn to dusk on Saturday, a team of three Wagga runners conquered the ‘Hume to Hovell’ an epic 100km ultra marathon from Tumbarumba to Tumut.
Wagga local Roylene Stanley was the first female over the line; a feat considering it was the furthest distance she has completed on foot.
“It was a big shock and surprise to me,” Stanley said.
Stanley crossed the line at the same time as training partners Pat Burke and George Russell in 14 hours five minutes and 53 seconds.
The sun had set half an hour earlier, and the team were pumped to be on the homeward stretch.
She’s thankful for Burke’s and Russell’s support during the gruelling race.
“There were a couple of points where I said, ‘leave me,’ and they said no,” Stanley said.
“We all pushed each other along and enjoyed each other’s company.”
They paced themselves, hiking up hills and in the heat of the day across open areas.
Completing the race was one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.
“It was emotional to the point where you felt like you could have cried, having family, friends and everyone waiting there for you, it was just amazing,” Stanley said.
“They were so proud of what I achieved, they know how much training I put into it.”
Stanley was one of 16 competitors who braved the 100km course, with most entrants opting for the 50km course between Talbingo and Blowering dams.
Being part of such a niche community of runners has its advantages, with Stanley reflecting the emphasis was on finishing the race rather than results.
“People would catch up to us and we’d be trading stories about training; it’s a really friendly community,” she said.
Safety was a major consideration for organisers; and Stanley felt volunteers did a fantastic job in looking after the runners.
“The scenery along the way was beautiful, the track was really well maintained and the volunteers were amazing.”
Along with the major checkpoints every 25km and minor checkpoints every 2km, runners were followed by mountain bike sweepers, there to ensure that everyone stayed on track.
“It’s one of the best-run events I’ve been in,” Stanley said.
However it was no walk in the park, rather, a battle of mental endurance.
“The heat got to us, being out there for so long plays around with your mind.”
The trio celebrated the feat in typical Australian fashion.
“The beers went down really well,” Stanley said.
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