On reaching the turbid river we reached a junction: an arrow and a Superlong sign pointed left, and a single arrow pointed right. A few men around me decided (correctly) that this must be the Long/Superlong split and headed right, while I turned left and headed downstream parallel to the river (some runners intending to do the Long course missed this turnoff and ended up doing the Superlong instead). Those who took their eyes off their feet and looked over their shoulder saw a thundering 30m high waterfall. The river was in flood and in about 5 places it was overflowing onto the track. The water in the first such place was up to mid-thigh, but each one got deeper until the 4th time I was wading up to my hips. I joked that I’d be swimming if there were any more water crossings. They forgot to tell us to bring our life jackets! We saw a couple of motocross guys tinkering with one of their bikes by our last water crossing – obviously the water and mud were wreaking havoc on their day out as well.
The race plan hadn’t included this much gravel road, and I didn’t really enjoy slogging all the way back to join the Short course. Dodging through the slower and less confident short course people provided a challenge, and at the bottom of the track there was a particularly steep, greasy clay section where a rope had been fixed on one side as a hand rail. I just let gravity assist and slid/ran my way down. Almost immediately we headed up again, only this time the track was steeper, longer and greasier. So many people had already been up here that what footholds there were had all been churned up. There was a rope on one side and a feasible line up the scrub on the other, but I left these for the less confident people and charged straight up the middle. By the time I was halfway up I had to concede and join those on the edge of the scrub. The ascent eased off but kept on going for a while up to a gravel road, and from there it was all downhill to the finish.
The course may have only been 16km, but it still took me 2:15 hours!