PTR founder and president Johnny ‘The Seagull’ Horrocks had a Big Hairy Audacious Goal of doing a 100 miler before turning 50, and he chose to do it whilst competing in DU135 (April 6,7,8 2018)- one of the Southern Hemisphere’s gnarliest single stage non stop foot races across single trails of the Lerderderg and Wombat State Forests in Victoria.
Team Seagull supported him throughout the event, and looked on in awe and admiration as he kept going, despite the pain*, exhaustion and lack of sleep to complete 101 miles (163kms) in 37hrs 30mins achieving his goal on the most gnarliest and brutal of terrains.
(*he injured his hip after a fall at 90km but continued on to complete a further 73kms in severe pain and being unable to lift his left leg)
He withdrew on his own terms, still within cut off, and long after many more experienced ultra-runners had pulled out.
AND in addition to this amazing feat raising over $6500 for The Seagull Supports Breast Cancer Awareness in aid of the McGrath Foundation.
A review from his biggest supporter:
With the exception of the hip pain, his body was holding up remarkably well, he was in great spirits and mentally strong, and if he had not injured himself I have no doubt he could have gone all the way. He had a couple of ‘moments’ but was otherwise seen smiling (or was that grimacing??), talking his usual rubbish and chatting to anybody he passed along the way.
Setting off strong he came into the first checkpoint at 35km earlier than expected, resulting in him having to continue on without his first pacer Mark who was able to join him a little later at 49km and assist him in his game of ‘catch a leaf’ -I believe Johnny’s highest score was 8.
Andrew took him through to dawn and the 90km mark, going into ‘tourette’ mode as they progressed along the ‘undulating’ trail/no trail.
A brief transition and he was on his way to the turnaround point at 108km, with Kirsten pushing to get him in before cut off and sending messages to the crew that he was in excruciating hip pain. The awesome peeps at Wellbeing Natural Health Group provided advice for treatment ‘on the run’ and not long after arriving at the checkpoint he was turned around and back on his way, but not before listening to a video message of encouragement from his mum in Portugal. By now he discovered he NEVER wanted to eat peanut butter again, but was quite liking the ‘prawns’ and looking forward to a sticky ‘prawn’ pudding when he finished.
Arriving back at Nolan’s checkpoint he had a ‘Surf Coast Century’ moment: adamant he was not carrying on as he was in so much pain, but with some food and a 20 min power nap whilst enjoying a ‘relaxing’ massage with a tennis ball in his L glute, he was forced up, back out and up that ‘bloody’ hill with Steve (aka Tonto) out in front tempting him with a letter from his son, if only he could catch him- he never got that letter.
Steve continued to push Johnny along, through the next checkpoint, where he had another little ‘moment’, and on to the 154km mark.
It was here we learnt Johnny’s watch had him at 163km, a result of the course actually being a little longer on the way out and him going a little off track at one point, otherwise known as getting lost!!, and after we checked, then double checked that this equated to 101miles and that he had achieved his initial goal of completing 100 miles, he decided to withdraw from the race.
Whilst he was upset and frustrated at not completing the run, his decision to withdraw at that point was a sensible one as he was unlikely to get through the brutal terrain of the next 54kms with the pain and limited movement in his L leg, and by stopping when he did he was able to enjoy a well-deserved red wine around the camp fire with his awesome crew, get a reasonable night sleep and wake up with a fatigued but not broken body.
And there is always next year 😜.
A HUGE thank you MUST go to his amazing crew, his supporters, volunteers and medics along the course, a huge number being PTR members, without whom he would not have achieved his goal.