Race review: Sharpy’s Beer Run 21k

Race reviews are back! I can hardly believe it.

I was lucky enough to race the Gold Rush COVID edition course in December but my race review disappeared into the interwebs so this is my first post COVID race review.

After tip toeing around the edges of Two Bays and Warby trail fest earlier in the year, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for Sharpy’s Beer Run but an entry popped up and it felt like fate.

I wasn’t attracted so much by the beer at the aid stations as much as I was by the 10:30am start.

I have to admit I wasn’t exactly as organised as I would have liked the night before the run. I didn’t even get my gear out ready. The late start tricked me into a false sense of security which predictably had me running around like a headless chicken looking for my new favourite shirt five minutes before I had planned to head out the door.

I also failed to look at the pre race material, I knew where I was going and the COVID rules and that was pretty much it.

To say I was surprised to see the large amount of groups in matching outfits or costumes when I arrived at the event village at the Pig and Whistle Pub was an understatement.

Sharpy’s Beer Run, now in its fifth year, is the brain child of trail runner Deb Sharp and is arguably one of the most popular events on the Victorian trail running calendar. Maybe it’s the beer at the aid stations and finish line, the party atmosphere at the event village or the team prize that encourages local running groups to dress in their best and go for gold or maybe it’s just the epic trails that Arthur’s Seat provides, either way Sharpy’s is the trail running equivalent of an art house cult classic, you don’t know you love it or why you love it, but you do.

The hill, I swear it’s big

The 21km distance kicked off at a leisurely 10:30am. The pub and registration opened just before that for those interested in a tipple before heading out.

The course was an out and back style, starting and finishing at the Pig and Whistle Pub and consisted of pretty much entirely single track with a short and steep section of fire trail.

Course map

The first few kilometres ran along the side of the road on a narrow goat track into the Seawinds Gardens and down into Arthurs Seat State Park. As we shuffled along, I kept reminding myself why I was doing this run. “It’s a training run, practice running the hills”. I shuffled up and down, as my quads burned, there was no hurry.

I decided early on to try and be as self supported and COVID safe as possible. I carried extra water and all my own snacks. Imagine my surprise when the volunteers yelled out “want a beer?” when I passed the aid stations! Yep Mornington Peninsula IPA at the aid stations too!

I struggled up the “hill” twice and heaps of people passed me. It felt super slow. Practice hiking I kept telling myself. I felt like I was doing myself a disservice but kept going.

It started to drizzle when I had about 3km to go and by the time I got to the finish line it was full blown raining.

Stoked to get a good training run under my belt as I start to build for Brisbane Trail Ultra and ultimately Tarawera 100 mile.

This race is a great run for those who love the social aspect of trail running as much as the trails. Bring your friends, explore the epic trails of Arthur’s Seat and hang out at the pub for lunch and beers afterwards.

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