For a poorly written, one dimensional account of Saturdays race read on!
The smack talking didn’t stop till we were on the start line about to go, with Matt telling me the splits I had written on my hand were all wrong, while 3 names wouldn’t show me the splits he had written down, we did laugh that he had only used a ball point pen to do it and they would likely sweat off.
At the gun Norman Dunroy took off, Vajin Armstrong close behind, then Marty Lukes, myself, Luke Vaughan, Andrew Reese-Jones and Tony Fattorini. I looked back and to see no one else in sight, but swear after about 5mins of running I could still hear Yap Yap talking smack to people. Not far from Brod Bay Marty dropped a gel and stopped to get it and was some what dropped by the pack that was now chasing Dunroy who was out by himself. I had a shocker at the aid station, going into it in 3rd, but leaving it in 6th. Things spread out very fast once we hit the hill. Dunroy and Armstrong really put a gap on the rest here while Marty played catch up, arriving at Luxmore shirtless in 3rd. I tried to keep it as conservative as possible getting to Luxmore in 5th place in about 75mins, a good 7mins behind Dunroy the leader. I past Fattorini in the gear check and was stoked to get a high 5 from Paul Charteris the organizer of the Tarawera Ultra as I was leaving Luxmore. I again tried to stay pretty relaxed and take it relatively easy along the tops and down into Iris Burn, arriving still only 5mins behind Lukes and Armstrong, who were now running together, and 14mins behind Dunroy who was still leading. I was pretty happy with where I was and and how things were going at this stage, but cracks were starting to show….
The hip and leg issues I had had since I did a 50km training run on the Kepler 5 weeks earlier had meant training had not gone well in the build up. In November I had run over 1hr only 6 times, missed about 12 days of running and ran less than half of what I normally would- it was all about to catch up on me.
Despite arriving at Rocky point about 4mins down on what I wanted I has only lost 1 min on Marty and Vajin, now 6mins back. Another 4mins slower than what I was after to Motorau and now 13mins down on Marty and Vajin. Norman was still hanging onto a 6min lead here. The leg into Rainbow Reach was grim. I had long ago been reduced to walking anything that resembled an incline and was well reduced to a shuffle. In this 6km I ran 7mins slower than I was aiming for. Jane was just before the swing bridge and gave my a much needed coke and jogged down to the bridge with me, asking if I was running slow so she could keep up.
I got to Rainbow Reach in 4hr44mins. 5 weeks ago when I ran the same 50km in training (with about 90km in my legs from earlier that week) I did it in 4hr43mins. I was pretty wasted and really felt like having a nap. But with a belly full of coke, a hand full of jelly beans and some encouragement from Jane and my parents who had come up from Riverton I trucked on. I ran past some trampers as one of them snapped a photo of me. He then, with his hiking boots, gaiters and huge pack on, ran behind me videoing I think?? WTF! I couldn’t run away from this guy, I was going that slow. The coke started to kick in, as did the realization I was so close to finishing. I actually started to feel better and closed in about 46mins which I was pretty happy with, but not before tripping and falling in some mud! I finished in 5h30min and in 4th. Really not a bad result. Finishing behind Vajin, who went on to win, Norman and Marty and really can’t be too upset about my placing. Those 3 are certainly more experienced runners than I. I had really wanted to go around 5hr15 and had I been able to train properly in the last 5 weeks I am sure I would have. But I don’t think even if I was 100% it would have go me in the top 3. It certainly is a little bitter sweet.
A big congratulations to Vajin who clearly ran a bloody good race!
One thing that has me pretty excited is Vajin, myself, Luke Vaghan (5th, 5hr37) and James Greenslate-Yates (7th, 5hr39) are all 30yrs or younger, so we should have some solid racing over the next few years. Mind you in saying that, 55yr old Russell Hurring ran 5hr45 for 8th place. This gave Russell, the 5 or 6 time winner and former 4hr41 record holder a total time of less the 50hrs for 10 Keplers. Guess we might still be chasing Marty, Norman and Andrew for a while yet?
Was a great weekend in Te Anau. I don’t think I managed to say hi to half the people that I knew who were racing, so sorry if we didn’t get to catch up.
Great job to fellow SRC runners who I have been for a few runs with- Jules and Morgan doing their first Kepler (didn’t get the full story, but they crossed together) and Nathan who was a close 2nd in the Luxmore Grunt.
Heaps of photos and videos on the race, here are a few links.