The story goes that many thousands of years ago, the Israelites and the Philistines faced off in the desert, each group camped on either side of a steep valley. For forty days Goliath, at three metres in height and with a body full of muscle, stood proud; mocking and challenging the armies of Israel. The Israelites cowered away. All of them but one. David, only a runt of a teenager, was compelled by King Saul's offer of reward to have a crack. He knew that through the grace of God he would prevail, so thus picked up his slingshot (declining the offer of the king's armour), aimed straight and true, and smote the beast.
This great fable may be interpreted in relation to this year's edition of the Glasshouse 100 mile in two ways.
There are rumblings in the North. The giant of the triathletes, Mike LeRoux, is traveling down from Cairns. A myth who has ran a double marathon in 6:31, at the end of an ultraman. And he did it faster than anyone else in the world.
The king of the trail runners, Ian Javes, has offered a reward to any man who can smite this beast. Goliath has encroached upon the trailies' territory by completing the Angeles Crest 100 (in 27:24). King Ian will not let this offensive gesture go unpunished.
Three Davids have accepted the challenge:
Eadie - His forays into Queensland have thus far been successful; on the Gold Coast this year, he ran 100km in 8:02 to be crowned the Australian champion. Has twice battled the Americans at Western States, coming through unscathed. His times on the trail aren't quite as impressive as those on the road, but will that really make a difference on a course like Glasshouse?
Coombs - Fights tooth and nail as often as possible, fending off the those who wish to smite him down from his position atop the proverbial throne of trail running in South-East Queensland. His winning time last year of 19:09 showed but a glimpse of this man's potential for longer races which is as yet unfulfilled (in my opinion).
Waugh - Our Dear Leader has returned. He'll be spearheading the attack, armed with four previous wins and the course record of 16:37. I'm unsure of his current form, but he's certain to pull out a big one for the race he used to own.
It will be a battle to the bitter end, the Davids and goliath within ten minutes of each other upon returning to the school at 110km. Wild Horse Mountain will be the game-breaker, with Coombs and Waugh pulling away thanks to their proven climbing abilities. Goliath will perish on the mountain, taking Eadie with him. After another ten kilometres of flat running, Waugh will turn to Coombs, chuckle, and speed off to collect Saul's reward.
The Brisbanites are facing off against the assembled armies of the rest of Australia. In a twisted irony, Goliath AND the Davids are standing on the start-line, gloating in unison, daring anyone to run with them.
The youngest of the locals, Zac B-S, accepts the challenge. Armed only with a pair of torn shorts and holy (wait, I meant HOLEY) shoes, he knows he will prevail. He will prevail by the grace of his gigantic ego.
While the others weep in despair at the mud, ruts and 50% inclines of the Beerwah loop, this youngster bounds fearlessly along. In his pure enjoyment of running, Zac is oblivious to the risk of a twisted ankle or torn muscle. His leaps of faith are rewarded; the four giants vanish in sink holes, before the youngster returns to Saul to collect his reward.
#1 is certainly possible. As for #2, well, it belongs in an entirely fictional fairytale as oppposed to a religious text (this blog is no place to discuss the difference between the two). I know that all that needs to be done for a win in the points comp for the Glasshouse series is to finish, so that's what I'll be trying to do... Maybe within 20 hours.
Life is seldom so clear-cut that it may be directly related to a simple fable, so it's pretty likely that a "Possibility #3" will arise.
Don't be surprised if it involves:
Chris Noble - The toughest man out there,
Kevin Heaton - A brick of consistency to be hurled at the pace of the others,
Phil Murphy - Mr 100 mile mountain race,
Walter Brumniach - Third last year and has won Cook's Tour before, but has been off-form recently in the shorter races,
And a whole host of others whom I have been too busy training to do some research on.