Flew up to Wellington on Friday and meet up with Heather and Andrew for a little relaxing around the CBD and Upper Hutt pre racing the Southern Crossing of the Tararua Range on Friday morning. The Tararua race is one I have wanted to do for a while- 36km, 2500m of up and down, over some really mongrel, tiger country- right up my ally! the race has a reverse staggered start, meaning that I started last, with Dan Clendon.
I knew I was going to be in for a real battle (well if I held up my end) with Dan. He has represented NZ at the World Mt Running Champs, won the race last year and being a local trains over the course- a 5hr30 training run with in the last month for example.
I happily slotted in behind Dan and we run together for about 30mins, before I lost touch with him for about 30mins, before catching him again and the quickly dropping off the back again. I got to Alpha Hut in about 2hr30, as Dan was putting his storm great on- it was cold and windy (and crazy muddy- logs and bogs check!). I left the hut just after Dan and more or less stuck right behind him all along the ridge just before the summit of Hector, the races high point. This rigde section was crazy, really cool, but with bogs, and mud all along the ridge- wtf, it should be draining up there right?? Weird, but very cool. Both Dan and I slipped and slid our way along here as we past racers that started earlier in the day. Just before the summit I stuffed around with my water bottle and lost touch with Dan, I then had to stop just after the summit again, this time to pee. The gap really grew here. Dan bombed a sneeky line to Kime Hut and I flowed suit and we were in this check point together- still in the hunt! Around the “Table Top” I got 2 time checks- around 75sec both times. I kind of just fell of the boil here for what ever reason? I am not sure why but I started thinking that I was gonna run pretty slow, around 5hr20 or something. I really felt like there was no way I was gonna real in Dan- he was cranking and running very strong, so I just buttoned off. The descent was steep and rough, normally the kind of stuff I just go crazy over and really enjoy, but not on Saturday? Suddenly I turned a corner and seen the finish area way below and Heather and Andrew where there- less than 2km to go- shit I am at 4hr55- ahh, why did I cruise the last 20-30mins!?
I made a bit of a effort, but to little to late- 5hr02min. I am pretty happy with that really. Frustrated not to break 5hrs, or give Dan a bit more of a race in the final 1hr down from Kime. But getting some new terrain was pretty sweet. I would like to think on a dry course sub 5 would be a breeze- the mud was just crazy, I seen Dan get swallowed up to his knees at one point! Dan ran a very good race, finishing in 4hr55 for a solid win in tough conditions- nice one Dan!
Over all the Tararua Southern Crossing is a great race and event and I highly recommend it! The on course support from SAR and the likes was amazing- I think it worked out to be at least one race official per 1km of trail- that’s pretty impressive. The pre race updates from Mike, to Mick on the mic post race and the super relaxing finish area next to the river – it all added up to a very good event.
Next race is the Kepler Challenge! Is gonna be a crazy race up front, so will be cool to see how that plays out- MattB will keep us updated on this and looking forward to his pre race post. Will be good to see Dan again as he is also racing the Kepler.
Beyond the Kepler I am very excited about the arrival of Monkey Tail around new years and having some time off racing. I am over racing I think? In saying that Adrian has been hassling me about the Mountain Marathon he is putting on in QT. What has me most excited about racing right now is this list
Currently 430 names on that list, likely to be over 500 by the end of the month- only 140 can race- but dreams are free!