By Craig Turco, September 2016.
Wild Earth recently caught up with Tom Brimelow, the recently crowned Wild Earth Coastal High 50 2016 Champion.
Wild Earth: Tom, first things first, a huge congratulation from us all here at Wild Earth HQ. What an amazing performance at the Wild Earth Coastal High 50. Being your first race at the ultra distance, how did you find stepping up from the smaller trail series distances?
Tom Brimelow: Stepping up from the trail series distance was a really different challenge. It was a much less painful run for the most part as the pace was a lot slower, so it was nice not to have your lungs and legs burning, but it was very tough going towards the end. The last section through Purlingbrook was especially difficult because everything had started to cramp up and this was only the third time I’d experienced this while running. Luckily I managed to keep moving!
WE: As it was a slightly altered course from the 2015 event, what did you make of the 2016 Wild Earth Coastal High 50?
TB: I thought the course was amazing. The views were fantastic! It was really well marked out and the track was incredibly clean. I think I only fell over three times and didn’t get lost once! All in all, a really beautiful course especially through the Binna Burra section.
WE: What kind of training did you do to get ready for the extra distance and what does it take to dominate the King of the Mountain segment in 1:03?
TB: I had been training for the Gold Coast marathon in July so I had been running plenty of mileage, but mostly on flat tracks. I really missed the trails while training for the road run, so I loved getting back out on the long slow trail runs with friends. Troy Lethlean put together a training plan for me to get ready for my first ultra distance. I had to run lots of hill repeats (which I hate), some speed work, and a few 40-45km runs on the trails. I did well on the KOM (King of the Mountain) segment because I had Charlie Boyle beside me, and he made me run up that first hill, which I definitely would have walked if I was on my own. I was lucky that there were some downhills in that section and I figured that everyone would walk the stairs, so I tried to be the first one to get to the bottom of those, knowing that Darryl Taylor and Boyle wouldn’t be far behind.
WE: This is only your second or third year of running, so what brought you to the sport?
TB: Yes, I’ve been running for just over two and a half years now. My brother-in-law signed me up to Park Run and told me I was going. Being a weekly, timed event, Park Run really stoked my self-competitiveness; I always ran it all out trying to run a PB every week. After a while, running got easier and I started to really enjoy it. After starting running trails, it became a lot more fun.
WE: What’s your favourite thing about running on the trails as opposed to roads?
TB: I love running trails because you are out in nature, and there’s a real sense of adventure when you’re running through the bush or rain forests. The constantly changing terrain means it never gets boring, and racing trails is great because you’re not putting yourself under pressure to keep to a certain pace, you’re just running to the conditions.
WE: What’s your favourite piece of running gear?
TB: My favourite piece of kit would be my UD (Ultimate Direction) running vest. It was great to be able to put fuel in the bottles in the front pockets and a bladder of water in the back. The thing has so many pockets I’m still finding new ones!
WE: What’s next on your running calendar? Are you looking 50 or 100km runs in the future?
TB: I haven’t got any races planned at this stage. I would love to do 50km race in the UTA (Ultra Trail Australia), but I just think it will be too hard for me to get to. I definitely don’t plan on any 100k runs, I couldn’t imagine turning around and running that distance all over again!
It really was a fantastic event. I was exhausted and a bit delirious after the race, but the atmosphere was great. I’ve enjoyed every event put on by Matt and Chris (from Those Guys Events – Event organisers of the Coastal High 50), so I’ll always be looking to see what they’re doing next.
WE: Thank you for your time and once again Tom, congratulations. We can’t wait to see what you do next.