Hurt2Help are running the TransAlpineRun 2010!

This September our husband and wife team will retrace the footsteps of Hannibal:

296km - 8 Days - 17700m Ascent - Across Germany, Austria and Italy.

All in aid of Facing Africa, a little-known British charity concerned with the prevention and cure of the merciless disease Noma.

Their surgical rehabilitation of survivors is heartbreakingly wonderful and more than worthy of buckets of our sweat in the hope of filling buckets with your donations!

We are Shelley and Gav Phillips. Follow our journey ..

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Fundraising .. Aus-style ..

Last weekend the rain cleared and out came the sun and a great big batch of Taree, NSW, Australia's golfers!

In my home town it was time for the charity golf day my father, Peter Burke (or PB as he is known by friends), arranged in aid of Facing Africa.

Donations from golfers, Club Taree and a well-subscribed raffle have added another huge slug to the Taree-end of this fundraising push .. well done Taree and well done Dad!

Thank you to the Manning River Times and Mick McDonald for their support and the pictures below ..

PB at work in the Halfway House
Esther Bradley in action
Gary Woolcock lining up ..
Super raffle helpers Terry "Bear" Holden and Darren Bithrey
Organiser and player line up for action .. PB and Lynnie May
Pictures courtesy of the Manning River Times.

Friday, 1 October 2010

At last my "daily" race blog is complete ..

Welcome friends to the final round-up of this adventure!

To make it easy for yourself to backtrack through the race do the following:-

* go to the archive section on the right in orange text
* click on September to open all entries
* then click stage by stage through the event .. 

We wouldn't want you to get lost in them there hills!

Enjoy our journey and thank you all for following.

Much love,

Shelley and Gav
Team Hurt2Help
Team Australia

Friday, 17 September 2010

C'est fini!

Thank you for your patience friends!

Transit, lack of internet and post-race fatigue has slowed my usual speed of sharing the joy of our incredible journey across the Alps with you immediately.

Never fear .. I will get there soon .. just hope you think it worth the wait!

We are thrilled and proud (and a little choked up really) to say that Team Hurt2Help has now finished what is truly one of the elite Alpine enduro-running events in the world and the hardest  event we have ever done.

Teams Hurt2Help and Schnitzel .. yay!!

Ending up 38th of 75 starters in the mixed category and 169th of 287 overall luckily (or not) we didn’t realise the quality of the field until we arrived!

Half way through the adventure though we knew ALL about it!
On Day 4 we came to the cold hard realisation that this race was really a beast of a thing.

It had been a long nasty stage with illness, snow and fear putting us in danger of not making the checkpoint cut-off time. All this followed by a distraught (me again!) trudge to the finish in the pouring rain led to a soul-searching realignment of targets.

The distances we could do in a heartbeat each day but the tight period between checkpoints are designed to test and really make this a pure alpine runners race.

Run and run and run.

Climb like a mountain goat.

Descend like a nimble pixie.

Strength and flow. Strength and flow. Strength and flow.

You miss a single cut-off and you are out of the race! You can still run but there will be no finishers t-shirt!!

Suddenly a strip of cloth reaches iconic value.

Our 5 minutes .. awesome.
Stronger and faster as the week goes on was always our aim but now a further plan is hatched: race to V3 (final food and checkpoint) each day and then easy back to town conserving energy for the following day well within the 10 hours cut-off. That is the easy bit. Getting over a mountain in an hour is the challenge ..

Luckily you can learn to be a pixie!

Our running strength seems wonderfully limitless and each day my ability to “flow” and follow my boy down the mountain at pace grows.

How to express the joy of skipping over boulders? Transiting the very top of the world on powerful legs? Clouds below in distant valleys. Cow bells tinkling on hidden cows. I sit here now remembering that pleasure and need the mountains again. Need the mountains again ..

I hope my race review will give you a little taster of what we experienced in our 8 day week. Sadly I was too exhausted each day to keep my usual diary but I am trying now to recreate the emotional pendulum for you regardless.

Enjoy AND don’t forget we are doing all this to raise money for Facing Africa!

So if you haven’t yet sprinkled money on our blisters please dooooo.

Just click their green and white logo on the left here and spend a little money ..

Trust me .. we earned it for them the hard way.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

8th Stage - Niederdorf - Sexten - 33.4km - The last day!

5:45.41hr (33)

Here we are! 

Ready to run on the final stage and still having fun .. at least that's me and Gavie!

Fuelled by a tummy of CocoPops and croissant (the only thing I seem to eat with no nauseous refusal) we are off!

Team Schnitzel a little gingerly today to say the least. Our boys make the most of the free knee and thigh taping provided.

For me today's excitement is tinged with a good dose of  melancholy.

The last quick V1. The last wonderfully grinding climb. The last skippingly joyful descent. The last and final relief of a V stop made within the cut-off.

The last thank you's to all the lovely workers at each V stop and our miraculous Rescue Team too. 

The last wave at our  photographers and travelling supporters. All those we have seen each day. Who cheered us on without even knowing our name. 

The last last last. 

Thank you thank you thank you!

The last climb ..
But NOT the last kisssssssss!
The boys and the Drei Zinnen
And as for that last climb? Bliss.

We push to the peak past the Jurassically massive proportions of the Drei Zinnen. Past the clapping, bell-ringing well-wishers perched at the cusp of the crest. Calling us on.

Cheers. Smiles. Wonder.

I almost stumble across the dipping track to valley beyond that holds our finish line. 

My body so relaxed flow seems too rigid a word.

Tears of joy and relief and awe well up inside me. I have my "moment" there. High above the world. 

I am so proud of myself I am nearly bursting. 

And the joy of joys is that I feel myself stronger now at this moment than ever before in my life.

Physically and emotionally.

A pinnacle I revel in. Not as a one and only but as the beginning of all I am, can and will be.

I love myself. I love my strong and wonderful man. I love my life. 

I love, love, love everything ..

And in that moment? I love the descending!!

Skipping, laughing, singing.

Down, down, down to Sexten.

Along the way we stop again to draw in the energy of this astounding place. My boy takes his own well earned moment here. 

The enormity of our joy and satisfaction are growing growing.

We meet the injured Schnitzel along the way and team up for a full Tabuk finish!

Our finish! Team H2H and Schnitzel
The training buddies reunited .. where I think the girls just take line honours .. don't you?

Burstingly proud.
Not fat. Not round. NOT faster going down .. 
Medals. Bubbles. Friends.



Cold cold beer.



Friday, 10 September 2010

7th stage – St Vigil – Niederdorf 42.2km - Marathon anyone?

8:25.59hr (38)

I feel alive with joy today. 

Mad keen to run. Inspired to fly through the forest start. Skipping over tree roots. Passing stray cows and supporters at speed.

We hit V1 in time to see Schnitzel! Don't know who was more surprised!

But something is up. 

My Team Leader, my train, lagging in the woods is in pain as the climbs begin. 

Intestinal problems have had him struggling from the off. He soldiers on but it’s not fun for him just now. There is a mention of throwing his pack off the mountain .. 

As the ascent continues he works the climb well as I drop take happy snaps and suck up the energy of the world on this mountain top.

I then have to run to catch up! Sick but not down. Well done, bubby!

Wondrously, as we peaked at 2380 metres, my boy also clicks into the joy of the stage. 

Was the steeply chained-for-safety descent? The jaw-dropping 360 degree Dolomiti panorama? A lake to drool for? Or just the joy of skipping down the mountain again?

All I know is .. yay my hero is back! 

Smiling with joy .. a view to bring tears.
V2 is set on the most gloriously clear, glacier lake I have ever seen. 

Wooden row boats glide on the mirror calm water. 

Day-trippers fill our path. Luckily happy to jump out of the way of the crazy girl running along humming.

Climbing again ..

Flying down gravel to V3 .. pixies!
Up over and down the face of the mountain. All those desert runs and precariously sliding jebel faces have me SO ready to fly down to V3 today and the joy of being home free.

It's unstable under foot but I love it. No Snoopy here! The zig-zaggingly slippery steepness holds no fear. Go go go! We can almost taste the soup now .. 

Into V3 an hour under cut off. Across the mat. Beep! Joy bubbles up. 

This is the crunch cut-off for the race and we have done it! 

A chat from Wolfie (Mr Race) to Team Australia, as we are largely known, is great. He is thrilled we had stopped to take in the views .. even stopping on a bench to just stare at the lake .. to miss that and you have missed the point.

We are running, seeing, loving, fearing, rushing, stopping, crying, absorbing these Alps.

Thank you for the pleasure, sir. How can we not be back?

Who has come to greet us home?
Susanna Corsini-Mather!!
Sun-shiningly fabulous finish. Friends to greet us in. New and old. Today we have done it. Tomorrow left to run but the strongly satisfying feeling that Stage 8 will be a formality and we can almost feel those finisher tee's on our backs ..

Thursday, 9 September 2010

6th stage – Sand in Taufers – St Vigil 39.7km - A doddle .. yay!

7:22.55hr (51)

Haaaard to get out of bed today. Tooooo wonderful of a hotel in a looooovely little town.


Why is it we are running?

Regardless of this slow start today feels strangely like the rest day we have been looking out for.

Hard to say why but the 20km flat run to start seems to be a doddle and half the day's distance done by V1!

I let my chi-run me to the mountain and my up and over is a dream. Not a hiccup between us as our speed, strength and flow seems to grow by the day. 

Even V3 seems ridiculously close beckoning us in with tomato soup and oranges. What a treat!

Fortunate too as Gavie laces fail just metres from the beeper.

Time for repairs, a snack, a chat and steady back to town.

The plan is working.

Each day we seem to jump places as the race takes on the look of a battle field.

Staying strong. Uninjured. Focussed.

We are grinding our way inexorably to Sexten and up 20 or so places since day 4.

Most importantly we are always making the final checkpoints comfortably and not just still in the race .. we are racing, baby!

PS Footcare 101 really didn't get me to ginormous blisters under toenails! Angie!! Where are you?? Suffice to say my husband saved me with a red hot paper clip .. if you want more details just ask .. joyously I can now bend my big toe!
PPS Gavie would like to note at this stage he does not have a single blister! Incredible and impressive!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

5th stage – Prettau – Sand in Taufers - 34.5km - thank you avalanche!

7:28.12hr (48)

OK. So we are still in the race but somewhat disconcerted to hear on the start line that our "easy" day is now 5km longer courtesy of an avalanche.


What was a notional "rest day" at 29km is now 34.5km!

No matter.

We have a plan.

Race to V3 (final food and checkpoint) today and every day on in. Finish off easy back to town conserving energy for the following stage well within the 10 hours cut-off.

Easy peasy .. just a couple of mountains to tame first.

Focussed ahead on our iconic strip of cloth (our TAR finishers shirt!) we are so determined to make the checkpoints today that the camera hardly comes out!

Though it is a great climb with just a little snow I am strong and energised today. Meeting the lovely camera man on the ascent he assures me I can “trust my shoes” .. what more do you need than that?

Snow is just white mud. Snow is just white mud. Snow is just ..
Over the razor sharp ridge line and into the valley I follow my boy with increasing speed as the pixie starts to grow inside.

Slips make me giggle now not squeal. Descending is becoming a treat not a torture. Indiana Jones’ theme is now my mantra as I whizz through the descent.

Strength and flow today. Strength and flow.

I love this! I am even started to keep my fleet footed boy in range!

One mountain down but another climb to go before V3 we are told it’s now 3km to the checkpoint.

But "ohh no it’s not"!

We end up in a post 6th hr/5th day sprint for the beeper as we spot the station across the valley! The last of my downhill fear is gone in tatters as we race for it and we make the time with ease in the end.

Phew! Sprint done .. easy home ..
Now to enjoy the views back into town.

Waterfalls and sculpture!


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

4th stage – Neukirchen – Prettau 43.9km - Crying on new friends ..

8:48.46hr (59)


Sick. Snow. Slippery. Scared. Sad. Sodden.

That about sums up what was a battle of a day for me. Even a helpful Madonna along the way could only do so much to ease me through.

The winding path today seemed to climb forever. Treacherous patches of unstable snow and ice under foot; low cloud sweetly sending us sleet and a terrifying first descent that I had to take on my bum to get past!

How much do I love the TA Rescue Team! My angel Bose held my pack and told me Barbie jokes until we cleared the snow line. Relief and the first of many silly tunes in my head has us skipping down the slippery mountain to the check point .. not even knowing we could be out of the race!

At the V3 checkpoint we are left hanging on the cut-off time!

We are 9 minutes past our goal. 

It’s out to the jury to decide on a possible extension.

There are so many teams behind us and the weather so bad on top that surely we cannot be cut just like that?

We are left hanging and I am in bits.

I couldn’t have given more today, physically or emotionally. I have never been so scared. I pushed myself every step of the valley road to V3. There was no more to give .. how could it not be enough?

And boy did I weep. All the way to Prettau. On the Pirate Boys. On the bus to the hotel. In the bath. In fact all the way until it sunk it that we had indeed made the revised cut-off later that night!

We are still in the race and we are gonna give it our all to be “finishers”!

Keep on running!

PS Gavie would like you to know he wasn't scared .. 

Monday, 6 September 2010

3rd Stage - Kitzbuhel – Neukirchen 46.9km - Across the top of the world!

9:06.50hr (55)

We follow the route to the top of the world famous, and ridiculously steep, Kitzbuhel downhill slope. Even without its usual silken snow attire the Hahnenkamm is frightening.

A brief glance as we forge ahead .. this isn’t even the top of our first climb today ..

The true joy of the stage comes at over 2000 metres and what feels like a skip across the top of the world.

Sun shining.

Snow glistening.

Trit-trotting along the tufted, snow strewn ridge line is a delight. And would you believe there were even people up there to clap us along?

A gigglingly good day really finished with a speed descent as we flow down to Neukirchen .. just one wrong turn .. eek!

PS Oooo .. blister care .. thank you Ange for all the training .. just wish you were there to do it for me!!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

2nd Stage - St Ullrich - Kitzbuhl - 33.2km - more down than up - and that isn´t easier!

6:02.41hr (55)
Where we're going!

A race to the single track starts today as we shoot off like little racing rabbits chased by Group C greyhounds.

Seeded starts from now on in and our speedy boys of Team Schnitzel, Dave and Shawn aka Hans & Feat, are B groupers leaving 5 minutes behind the pros in A. Us middle packers follow another 5+.

A good thing too with the log jam climb we hit immediately out of town in the form of high stepping muddy stairs to the first pass. We scale for over an hour alongside the seemingly perfectly landscaped rushing clear mountain stream.

Up up up. Less mud today but the need for constant foot vigilence remains. Over the lip to the first descent. A cruisy, flowing, just-right down ..

A little longer yet to the unfortunately painful, "Snoopy" drops to follow .. ouch ouch ouch .. and I write this now as I ice my toes!

The second climb take us up to the Kitzbuler Horne .. craggy tops, snow crusting the ground, cow herds blocking the road all finished off with a gummy bear frenzy in the Goretex post-race bar! Yes bar! Free beer and deck chairs .. hah! 

Day two .. tick.


Cruisin' home ..

Saturday, 4 September 2010

1st stage - Ruhpolding - St Ullrich - 36.3km or so ..

5:42.44hr (58)
We are off!

Phew! Day one done and dusted ..

Happy happy if a little wetter than planned. Drizzle to start was topped by buckets of rain to finish. At least it cooled our feet off! Just have to get those same shoes dry for tomorrow!

Spot the path at 2 o'clock!
Found a data link for results.

Sadly we are listed as KSA athletes not AUS! Luckily though Team Schnitzel are down as the only Aussies so someone is carrying the flag! And very well at that .. They are flying!!

All good here but.

We are on our way .. Yay!!

Mud, cloud and smiles.
PS A race with a bar at the finish each day!? Though we never made it in before they were sold out of the hard stuff their liberal supply of gummy bears made up for the offence of offering us alcohol-free beer!

No probs for Schnitzel as they hoover up the real stuff!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Innsbruck - Ruhpolding

OMG! The Alps!

The spectacular sight of the steeply rising Innsbruck surrounds thickly snow-capped is enough to start a rumble of trepidation ..

The doom and gloom of our Austrian host´s dire warnings of death on the slopes has us hot-footing it to Intersport for more warm layers .. toute de suite!

Just hours later, and a big throw of the credit card, we are both happy and relaxing on our train to Ruhpolding and race start.

After all too brief a visit to Innsbruck´s ancient artifact jammed pastel-coloured old town we are on our way again. Our ultra-mod train gently rocks us past the lush green of perfectly mown fields. The colours seem to pop against the purity of the marshmallow white on craggy ridge tops.

A solitary church spire peaks from the pines on high. A glacially milky river rushes to follow our path. Wisps of fairy floss clouds cling cheekily to powdered summits as paragliders ride the thermals.

This time in two days we will be atop our first peak!!

It´s excitement that rumbles now.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Here we go, here we go, here we go!


We are off to the Alps tomorrow for race start Saturday 4th September!

I will be doing my best to get online in small Alpine villages along the way and update our blog. 

You might even find that the TransAlpineRun site does some updates too. Follow the link and see what you get!? Try the news or media pages.

Otherwise we will see you all on the other side .. with lots of piccies and tall, tall tales no doubt!

On y va!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Waking the desert .. A celebration.

Bodies in unison we skirt the jebel range.
Our scrunch, scrunch a blast of sound in the cool pre-dawn.

Climbing slopes, crossing plateaus, descending slidingly steep pitches .. for the last time this time?

A myriad of sound replaces colour in this land sucked dry of hues.

Crash! Bash! Slam!
Tinkle. Crinkle. Crumble ..
Pop! Pfff ..
Crack! Slip. Snap!
Tink. Tink.

And in the heart of blistering summer camels watch from on high as we crash toil across the metal-like plates of stone .. for the last time this time.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Our last last desert run ..

We made it! It really was our last last run!

Slight misfire as this weekend was supposed to be enjoyed in Petra .. Instead we are running the rolling edges of Tabuk.

A herd of inquisitive camels our only cohorts ..

Their greeting groans carry miles as they call each other in to have a look at these crazies hacking noisily about their quiet abode.

But now? I am in France - Gav arrives Thursday - Dave is nearly UK bound - Shawn is there already.

It's getting exciting!

See u at the race people ..

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Underwear and thigh measurements ..

Today's topics for discussion by Team Hurt2Schnit! 
i.e. Gabbling Bettys Gav and Dave.

And no boys. Your bums do NOT look big in Skins ..

(Personally? I am just glad the arrow was on the other side!)