Contributed by Michael Daly, AURA member and 1st Male at Narrabeen Allnighter 2020

Narrabeen Allnighter, 5-6 December, Narrabeen NSW

In an unprecedented year full of race cancellations due to fires, rain and COVID-19, it seemed like a good opportunity to try something new. Thankfully the Narrabeen Allnighter was able to go ahead this year in early December. With my previous longest race being only 50km, a 12-hour race was a completely different challenge. One I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was a little nervous about the weather forecast (showers with a chance of a storm) but mostly I was excited.

I started off at a comfortable pace (which I’ve since been informed was quite fast for the start of a 12-hour). I went through my first marathon in about 3:15 and felt pretty good. Without much ultra experience I wasn’t sure about pacing so I thought I’d be safe and start a walk/run strategy between 3 and 4 hours. This was also when I started to eat real food to help prevent a big crash later in the night.

I really enjoyed being able to swing by my table and pick up nutrition each lap. It was good motivation to get through each lap knowing that I had a treat waiting for me (vanilla coke, banana bread, pizza).

Sometime around 10 or 11pm the forecast for showers came and not long after, the storm! Apart from providing some extra lighting at times, it was a little bit scary with a couple of lightning strikes hitting pretty close by. There was apparently talk of calling off the race, but I didn’t know anything about that and kept running.

It was 5:31am when I completed what I thought was my last lap. I was encouraged to go for 1 more by my crew and partner Gemma (an experienced ultra runner herself). I somehow managed to get through the lap and finish 1st with 126.6, a neat 3 marathons.

But enough self indulgence. I thoroughly enjoyed the event. Being able to see fellow runners each lap was often very encouraging, even when some runners were too tired to say anything, just knowing they were going through the same as me was quite motivating

Last but not least, the organisers put on a fantastic night. I couldn’t imagine what Ron Schwebel, Glenn Lockwood and the team had to deal with to get this event up and running, but they did it and my hat goes off to them. I would definitely recommend running Narrabeen Allnighter to anyone and I will certainly be back again.

Pictured: Michael Daly at the 2020 Narrabeen Allnighter. Photograph – Supplied.