2020: what should have began with fireworks began with fire of a different kind, one of the most terrifying bush fire seasons Australia has experienced. The thick smoke haze had barely lifted and a different challenge was thrown our way, a pandemic. We were told to stay inside and this fuelled our craving to get outside.
Eloise was due to compete in the Ultra-Trail Australia 100 in May which was inevitably cancelled. Eloise was drawn closer to home to the Hume and Hovell, 426km of diverse and treacherous landscapes, taken by explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in the early 1800s.
A 4:30am start at Wee Jasper began the 88km journey home to Tumut. Synonymously with the year of 2020 itself, nothing about the run came easy. While Eloise was hoping for “shorts weather”, reality bought harsh wind, rain and freezing temperatures that never eased. And just like 2020, some of the toughest sections of the track forced Eloise to slow down and take a break. However, Eloise’s smile never faded and the challenge the weather brought on only fed her enthusiasm for adventure, or “character building” as she called it.
These harsh conditions were found to be somewhat therapeutic. After 88km and 15.5 hours of one foot in front of the other Elouise felt the best she had in months.