Running diary: 23 August 2016

  • Type: road
  • Terrain: hilly
  • Training plan: none
  • Pace: steady-fast
  • Area: work to home
  • Distance: 7.5 km
  • Time: 42 minutes
  • Weather: cool, evening
  • Injury/pain: right hip flexor sore afterwards

Standard run home. Was feeling stiff and slow when I started, but picked up as I ran up Glenmore. Getting very good cadence going up those hills, and able to keep a good steady pace all the way up. Got through 4 miles in 35.08, when 36 is usually a good pace, so I was 12s/mile faster than normal, while still feeling like I was going badly.

Core exercises afterwards. Some flexor pain but not serious. Maybe from side core exercise?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Running diary: 21 August 2016

  • Type: trail
  • Terrain: hilly
  • Training plan: none
  • Pace: steady-fast
  • Area: Skyline
  • Distance: 18.6km
  • Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
  • Weather: sunny, windy, dry
  • Injury/pain: sore arch on left foot

Ran Montgomery Ave to Kaukau trig and back to top of Park Vale Rd. Went out hard deliberately. Good pace at first (though Runkeeper called an improbable 4:15/km pace at one point). Puffing hard by the end of four km and feeling mildly nauseous and with sore stomach/core. Possibly due to risking expired milk that morning or to core exercises the day before. Passed by one very speedy man. Lots of riders and walkers. Kaukau in about 1:07, decent enough time. PB on a MapMyRun segment on the way south, so must have been going OK.

Tired afterwards – legs still felt sore the next day, was definitely pushing myself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Running diary: 20 August 2016

Going to start throwing up some short diary entries on my runs. I’m assuming no-one other than me is ever going to read this, so…😀

  • Type: trail
  • Terrain: hilly
  • Training plan: none
  • Pace: steady
  • Area: Makara Peak
  • Distance: 7.6km
  • Time: c45 minutes
  • Weather: sunny, cool
  • Injury/pain: none

Ran up Montgomery to the Skyline, then across to Makara Rd. Up Varley’s track to the first ridge. Took a new route after that, and ran T3 instead of the usual 4WD track to the summit. Enjoyed T3, a grade 4 track that had some mildly technical obstacles aimed at mountain bikers. Had to keep an eye and ear out for riders descending but only passed two. Ran down North Face and JFK, two enjoyable tracks that I’ve only run once before. Saw two more riders, both coming from behind me but not while I was on the track. Went down the Allington Rd linkup and then down Allington to Karori Park. Lots of energy until I started climbing up Karori Rd by the Park, and suddenly felt like I couldn’t be bothered continuing.

A good run: it’s nice not training for anything and being able to make decisions on where to go based on how I’m feeling at the time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WUU2K Part 4: Legs 5 and 6, aftermath

Leg 5: Red Rocks (42km) – Tawatawa Reserve (52km)

This is probably the toughest part of the course. An easy few km around Owhiro Bay and into Happy Valley leads to the Tip Track. But first, a km down the road I run into Rhonda, Brian and Sue, who hadn’t realised there was an aid station. We chat, get a few photos and some emotional support (Brian and Sue are both active cyclists and Brian’s marathon PB is well ahead of mine). Rhonda helps me put some more vaseline on my left foot, which has a small blister.

Supporters! And me…

Time to get moving though, and I head towards the most feared part of the course. The Tip Track runs up aside, past and above the Tip. It’s legendary among Wellington city runners for its toughness – 3km, almost all a steep climb over uneven, rocky terrain. I’d be amazed if anyone is running it, except perhaps the race leaders. (Whereas I could have run most of the other hills on the course; I just chose not to). I actually power up it at a fairly good pace, passing a few people – exchanging encouraging words with one runner who has the cramp. Another comments that I always pass her on the hills. It’s hot, and sweaty – again, such a contrast to when I was here previously – I abandoned a training run here due to heavy rain, and feel grateful I just got off the track safely. This time my only worry is sunburn, it’s clear, blue skies and calm – this is Wellington in Winter?

The best part of this hard climb is the other runners – we pass a lot of people coming down, and exchange grins, thumbs-ups, even a hand slap. We’re all getting by on runner’s high, feeding off each other.

At the top of the Tip Track

IMG_2933
“You always catch me on the hills”IMG_2930
The worst part comes when I reach the top. my hip hurts. Hurts bad. Not in the way of having done myself damage, or cramp, just pain, sharp stabbing pain that is worse as I try to run downhill. I’d expected pain, but in my knee not my hip. I’d told myself the pain would come, told myself to expect it, to be ready for it. Not to surrender to it. I keep repeating those words, but basically I don’t have the mental strength or pain resistance to push through. The great ultra runners, the real hardcore, say that the ability to not give up, and the ability to welcome the pain is really what makes them great. I’m inclined to agree. Running is hard right now. Even at the best of times descending this track is rough, and I go down slower than most. Today, I’m basically walking, breaking into jogs on the few flat parts.
Descent – much slower and more painful than it looks
IMG_5608

I have to talk to myself to keep going – I keep thinking ‘I’ve run further than I ever have before. That’s a great achievement. I’m going to be seeing Susan and Regan and Damian and James soon…I could just stop. We could head back to Damian’s house, pick up some beers on the way, yeah just sit around drinking and chatting, wouldn’t that be great…”

I hit the bottom – the marshals offer a most welcome mandarin. Across the road and over towards Tawatawa. Coming down the road I’m moving to go around a woman and a child when she calls out and I realise it’s actually Susan. We’d been texting, but I was expecting her at the top of the hill. This is great though. She’s thoughtfully walked down the road with nephew Ciaran so they could walk back with me and spend time without me having to stop. Regan and baby Lucy are waiting further up the road. We chat for a while and Ciaran tries to pull a sword out of a stone sculpture, but it looks as though he doesn’t get to be King. He and Susan walk up the hill with me for a while, but I’m not 100% sure he understands this whole ‘race’ business, trying to get me to go the other way.

Climbing up the hill I’m soon met by James and Damian (and baby Saskia, who’s less vocal in her support, but welcome none the less). Again we chat. Thoughtfully Damian has bought some spare energy gels and fruit. I am very, very pleased to see a pear. We take some pictures and the boys try to rev me up. I appreciate this a lot.

Support! And a pear. Both appreciated.

13775511_10153676775470686_7561520591281357831_n

Obviously, like everyone else the guys have been waiting a while, and James had to come a fair distance while Damian had to wrangle a small child.

It was a really good pear, OK?

13700050_10153691771791932_8381474368905981859_n

We’re joined by another runner, wearing an Iron Maori t-shirt. He looks to be doing it tough, but he’s still out there – great man. Damian and James decide to walk with me, and give me some helpful advice about taking it easy when I start running again.

Expert advice

13738117_10153691772776932_3720595514546245490_o

There’s a few tough uphills which they talk me through, too. We end up running for a bit – I’m being easily beaten by a guy carrying a baby, but as it’s Damo it’s OK. We’re winding our way across relatively easy hills between Happy Valley and Newtown.

Leg 6: Tawatawa Reserve (52km) to Mt Victoria (61km)
I leave the guys and continue. It’s tough. I’ve still got a reasonable amount of energy in my legs – I’ve trained hard and I’ve eaten a lot today. But I’m in pain. I can walk OK, but I’m finding it hard to push through and run. This means that the uphills are paradoxically easier than the downhills. I try to force myself to run for even the duration of a song, but it’s tough even to jog for the 2 minutes of Blitzkrieg Bop. I reach the safety marshals at Adelaide Rd – this is a great idea, they literally have a marshal walking runners across the road. Smart – after running 50+km no-one is thinking at 100%, so we could easily run straight out into the road without looking. I wind my way up towards Mt Albert. There’s a fantastic marshal up there, cheering each runner from a long way away (I couldn’t believe he was yelling for me, I figured there had to be someone closer to him). This takes us to the Mt Albert aid station, where again I’m greeted by someone shouting my full name (I don’t recognise him, so I assume he’s going off the runners’ list and making an extra effort for people). They tell me I’m only 30 minutes inside the cutoff – I had no idea I was going so slowly. I resolve to pick up the pace. This aid station has unbelievably tasty cupcakes – a few of those and some Coke and I’m gone again.

The end of the trail is relatively easy, or would be if I hadn’t run 55km by now. There are some excellent marshals along the way, really encouraging the runners. At the road crossing to Mt Vic one asks if I’d like a chocolate fish. “I’d love a chocolate fish” I reply, in the sort of voice people use when accepting marriage proposals or high-paid job offers. He grins. I struggle up Mt Vic, cursing race director Gareth, who instead of giving us a nice straight run to the summit has taken the course all around Mt Vic, dropping down to the velodrome at one point. At this point, much of my motivation is coming from hoping I’ll have the opportunity to punch him in the face at the finish. Still, the trails are nice. I chat with a mountain biking family who kindly confirm that I don’t look good, and have to get out of the way of a couple of runners. Feels odd that I’m actually racing and still giving way to others, but to be fair they are going a lot faster than me.

A few more marshals on the hill keep up the encouragement, letting me know how close I am. I resolve to finish strong and cue up some Arnocorps and sing along, probably startling a few bikers with my shouts of ‘my name is Holzfuer!’. I’m running now and I hear shouts of ‘runner, runner!’. All of a sudden the cows from Makara are running towards me, someone’s ringing a cowbell and there are shouts of ‘you’ve got to moooove it, moooove it’ as they fall into step with me and start running to the finish line. This is great! Then I see the final horrible slope – we’re not winding our way around the road to the summit – we’re going straight up! “There’s no way I’m running up that!” I exclaim. Instantly there’s a chorus from the cows “kill the hill! KILL THE HILL!”. well, with that encouragement what else can I do? I start running, the lactate burning in my legs but I’m there now I’m not stopping it’s taking forever but I’m coming up the final hill and there’s the finish line and the announcer calling me in by name, everyone’s cheering and I stagger across the line… Gareth places a finisher’s medal around my neck and there’s Rhonda and it’s over and I’ve done it. Final time 9 hours 59 minutes.


Video
: the cows getting another runner across the line
Finish line, with cows
After Race

Rhonda and I hang out, trying to arrange a place on the bus to town. We help take down a tent. The race crew are checking the position of the remaining runners, trying to work out how many of them will be able to finish before they have to close the course. We eventually get a ride in a volunteer’s car – an amazing woman, she thinks she’s taking us to the race hotel HQ on Cuba St. When she hears we live in Karori she offers to drive us the whole way – this is someone we’ve never met! But we caucus and decide we’ll get a celebratory meal in town…we head for Scopa, who to their credit don’t bat an eyelid at the fact that I’m wearing a sweatshirt over very sweaty tights and running shorts, and muddy shoes. Pizza and beer goes down really well and we head home. I’m not in bad shape – I can work up the hill to our house (whereas after the Wellington marathon I could barely walk down the concourse from Westpac stadium to the railway station).

That night I can barely sleep – I have a huge blister on my foot and my hip is painful, and now all my muscles are aching. It hurts to sleep on my side and I just ache generally.

This is, indeed, a blister
IMG_3788
I’m very glad that I’ve taken the next day off, and can sit around reflecting on the run. I’m proud, a little disappointed with the time, but most of all very grateful for all the support. A little later the results go up – the winner went round in 5:50. I finished 39th out of the men – 46 finished so I was near the back. 13 women finished, 11 ahead of me, so that puts me in 52nd overall, out of 59. But 81 entered, so over a quarter of the entrants either withdrew, or were pulled from the course for missing cutoffs. It was tough out there. My slight satisfaction at finishing ahead of one of my car-mates from the morning was soon lost when I saw a photo of him downing a beer at the top of the Tip Track. But what impressed me the most? The guy who I saw at Tawatawa, about 8km from the end? He finished nearly an hour behind me (and I was going slow over that last 8km). And it turned out he was only running the 42km. He finished last of all the runners in both races, at nearly 11 hours. But the guy did it. He finished. I have so much admiration for him, and for everyone who made it through. And so much thanks to the organisers, marshals, aid stations, cows, jedis, musicians and especially supporters.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WUU2K part 3: legs 3 and 4

Leg 3: Makara Mountain Bike car park (18km) to the Wind Turbine (30km)

This is possibly the nicest leg of the run (maybe behind the MTB park). I’m waved over the road by a cow, and head up the hill towards Salvation (track). A mountain-biker shouts encouragement. He seems a bit confused to see me walking up the hill, but I’m still saving energy. I overtake a couple of people on Salvation, but I’m mostly power-walking up. It’s a nice easy climb, winding it’s way across the hill for a couple of km. Nice and flat underfoot too. On Wright’s Hill I finally pass the irritating runner from before, and cruise along the (Bird Sanctuary) Fenceline track. This is sometimes rutted and rocky, but at least is flat or downhill – I take the downhill at a good pace, faster than usual even, which is good as I usually struggle here. The other side is a part of the course that I always walk, even on a short run – it’s a tough climb on uneven terrain. I pass one guy bent over, after confirming that he’s OK and it’s just nausea. Nausea is the secret enemy of the distance runner – you have to eat, but it’s often hard to keep food down (vomiting seems to be very common on the longer ultras).

I pass another runner and chat with her about the weather and the course. I tell her that this is my least favourite part of the course, even worse than the Tip Track, which encourages her.

As we approach the wind turbine there are signs up for the aid station – this one has a Star Wars theme: Yoda saying ‘Run, or do not run. There is no try’. A picture saying ‘finish line ahead’ with Admiral Ackbar underneath, warning us that ‘it’s a trap!’ and finally ‘this is the aid station that you are looking for’. The aid station is laid out with the usual goodies, and workers in costume – Chewbacca, Leia, and a couple of Jedi. Sadly there’s no sign of Leigh and Paul, who’d said they’d be here. I was looking forward to the support, but it’s understandable – I was asking people to block out a random chunk of their day to spend a few minutes cheering me, and people have other commitments. So no big deal.

It’s getting hot now. I’ve been wearing a thermal top, leggings, gloves and a hat, but all of that goes except for the leggings (too much effort to take off, and they don’t seem to be heating me up too much). Taking off the top would later prove to be a mistake..

But any sense of disappointment is blasted away as I run out of the station. A three piece horn section, hidden around the corner, start blasting out the Star Wars victory march for me. I can’t believe it, it’s a completely unexpected and overwhelming thing for them to do. I exit the station with a huge smile on my face and head for the coast. And I’m halfway through!
Leg 4: Wind Turbine (30km) to Red Rocks (42km)

This is a nice and importantly mostly downhill section of the course.It runs along very exposed hills across the backbone of Wellington – Brooklyn, Newtown and Island Bay to the left, mostly empty hills to the right – at various points you can see Karori, and you run under the Hawkins Hill radar dome, but there’s not a lot to look at out here – just steep tracks on hills. Again, we are absurdly lucky with the weather. Last time I ran here I was genuinely in fear, the wind was so strong I was getting blown sideways on the track – and there are bits near the coast where it is narrow, with sharp falls. I cruise through the 9 or 10km to the coast without really seeing anybody, other than the marshall at the top of the Tip Track, sending the marathon crew down, and the rest of us towards Red Rocks. I make pretty good time, the only thing slowing me is that, again, I’m not very good at running downhill (especially towards the end, where the track is stony like a dry riverbed. It may actually be a dry riverbed). I’m so alone I occasionally wonder if I’m actually still in the race or have wandered off course somehow. But it’s good – I get to run my own pace. At one point I thought I saw other runners below me, but it turned out to be hikers coming the other way.

Down towards the coast, and a very careful crossing of the stream (it’s only a couple of steps over rocks, but 40km into the race I’m not exactly in the best shape). Again, the weather on the beach is great – on the windy run a few weeks ago, I was almost reduced to running backwards, the sand being blown into my face was so bad. This time, the only obstacle is a biker who won’t move out of my way why can’t he see that I have to get through here I’m racing why is he in my way I am raging inside. Clearly, I have hit The Wall and burned through all the glycerin in my brain, because my emotional control is way down (this is standard; I’m not great company at this point in a race). I make great time along the beach, getting close to 5:30 minutes/km (this is basically my marathon pace, so to be able to run it at this point is incredible). Lots of people around, even a few runners (again, I pass people and then they speed up and overtake me again?). This takes me into Red Rocks aid station, where I’m expecting to see Rhonda and her aunt and uncle.

The aid station is stocked with enthusiastic workers cheering me in, and I’m pleased to hear them calling my name…. wait, I’m not wearing my race number – how do they know me? I look over and am shocked to see one of the most welcome sights I’ve seen in a long time: Paul, with Leigh next to him. And next to them is Kim, and two of the boys…and there comes Paul! I am shocked and humbled. I had hoped Leigh and Paul would turn up after we’d discussed it, but I hadn’t really even expected the Quirkes (with three kids) to be able to. Maybe thought they’d consider going somewhere closer to home like Wright’s Hill. It’s hard to express how great it feels having people turn up like this – even now I’m tearing up a bit thinking about the run. and this moment especially.

We chat for a while and I get Paul singing Of Montreal after I mention having ‘The Past is a Grotesque Animal’ as one of my running highlights (seriously, it works great…). Leigh helps me re-attach my race number to my t-shirt – probably not that pleasant to be touching that sweaty shirt…
Meanwhile Kim and Paul are doing a great job of keeping their poor boys away from the coke and snacks laid out for the runners – it must be tough standing around looking at all that food and not touching it. I’m embarrassed to hear that Paul and Leigh had waited at the Wind Turbine for an hour, obviously having arrived after I left. I later hear that Kim and Paul (and the boys) did the same thing. Again, I am most grateful. (Worse: I later found out, by accident, that the marshals were looking for me – ‘has anyone seen #66? Friends are looking for him” – this was just the point where I was running with my number in my pack, so when I went past the Tip Track marshal he couldn’t have known I was me….

No sign of Rhonda, I try calling her but no answer. Kim says she’ll contact James, who I’m hoping to see later. This is great, and sets me out with a spring in my  step.

Which is soon stopped as I’m forced to adjust my timing chip, which, sat lengthwise on my shoe, has been digging into my ankle (one of those things; a small rub at the start of the race will be a big pain at the end). I re-tie it cross-wise – much better!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WUU2K part 2: legs 1 and 2

Leg 1: Kaukau (0km) to Makara (11km)

We drift up to the start and mill around. 630 on the dot the race starts to wild cheers. I’m deliberately at the back – I don’t want to get in the way of the competitive runners, and I don’t want to start too fast and burn out – I don’t know how much energy I’ll need to cover the distance. This is actually a mistake – I end up behind a blind runner, being guided by a friend, and can’t pass them on the narrow trail. I’m going even slower than I would like – even though everyone is walking up the steps to the top of Kaukau. This stage is very slow and easy. The view at the top of Kaukau is spectacular – it’s still dark, so as well as the lights of the city there are lights strung out along the hills, heading out towards Makara. I’m right near the back, but this is fine. I jog off, music on, taking things very easy.

The Skyline walkway is a relatively easy path – a few hills but nothing serious, and for much of it the trails are well-formed. As I come up towards Park Vale Rd I am forcing myself to slow down on the upwards inclines. The hills themselves I am walking – standard tactics for ultra runners to conserve energy. As planned, Rhonda meets me at the top of Montgomery Ave for a cheer, a photo shoot and a status update. I tell her I’m running half an hour behind schedule – which is true but will have unfortunate effects. We nearly send a runner the wrong way as she sees us talking and begins to leave the track with me, but soon put her right.

“But I am smiling!” Top of Montgomery Ave, about 10km in.
IMG_3764

 

Top of Montgomery Ave

By the time we get to Makara Rd the sun is up, we’ve been going about 90 minutes and I’m feeling good. The aid station is welcome – all sorts of food (quiche-type savouries, brownies, biscuits, burger rings and chippies, fruit, delicious sandwiches, coke, water and electrolyte drinks). This sounds weird, but you burn a lot of calories while running, and need to replace them fast, any way you can. I’ve already eaten a muesli bar and a couple of energy gels. I stop for about 5 minutes and eat a lot. This gives the people I passed in the last mile or so the chance to pass me again. I suddenly realise that everyone around me is running the 42km except me, and resolve to go faster.

Leg 2: Makara Rd (11km) to Makara Mountain Bike car park (18km)

The leg starts with a nice steady climb from Makara Rd, up Varleys Track and then the 4WD track to the top. I’m basically walking, though quite fast, except on the absolutely flat bits. I pass a few people here where I can – I seem to be strong on the hills, at least by the standards of someone at the back of the pack. I’m feeling pretty happy at this point, energy levels are good, the sun is up, and I’m not sore at all. I’d gone into the race with a tender calf, that had previously led to knee pain when I pushed out over about 20km. But so far, all was good.

A nice jaunt up  the hill, a few words exchanged with other runners and then the courses split, me heading down the south end of Makara Peak on the 60km route. I passed a couple of women – the first runners I’d seen in my group. This part of the race is possibly my favourite, some beautiful scenes around the back of Makara. There were some technical downhill bits that runners ahead of me passed with poles, and I navigated by grabbing branches as I went down. A bit of chatter here, the runners behind me glad to see me so they could be sure they were going the right way. Again I passed people on the uphill. There was one strange moment here – I passed a runner going up, then began to run as the trail went downhill. He blew past me – OK, I’m slow downhill so that’s fine. But I caught him again later, and passed him – and he did the same thing! Twice more! I can’t see why he was doing this – running slow until passed and then speeding up. It annoyed me, so I sat off him all the way to Wrights Hill, before finally passing him at the fenceline – I never saw him again.

Anyway, that out of the way this section was pleasant and although I didn’t break any records I was feeling good. Nice easy trails, I didn’t stumble. I hit the second aid station to see Rhonda and a bunch of people dressed in cow onesies. There’s more food, Rhonda and I chat and change out my Powerade and water bottles. My feet are fine and the trail shoes seem to be gripping OK, so I don’t bother changing socks or shoes. Rhonda’s surprised at how fast I ran this session – “maybe you’re just bad at running at night”. This means I leave the aid station with the sound of cow laughter in my ears, but that’s OK. It was friendly laughter. And they were amazing, cheering runners into the station, even people they didn’t know.  They had signs (“keep moooving”) too. I hear that the leader was at the top of Wright’s Hill an hour ago – he must be flying.

The cows (photo by 74Running) 13702935_680741228748487_1619161488_n
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WUU2K 2016: race diary part 1

This is a longish series of posts on my first ultramarathon, the Wellington Urban Ultra 2K (WUU2K). A 60km race with 2000m of vertical climb (which is where the 2K comes from). Except that it was actually closer to 61km with 2500m of climb. The race took in all the iconic hills of Wellington, from Kaukau to Victoria via Karori and the south coast.
Part 1: Pre-race

The day before the race has been all about preparation. I’m taking things very easy; the only time I leave the house is to attend the briefing and pick up my race pack (number, timing chip etc). The briefing goes on too long, but other than that everything is good. I look around the room at the real runners and feel somewhat intimidated, but I remind myself to stay calm – I’m not here to run any kind of a fast time, I’m here to find out whether I can finish the race at all. I head home and set out my gear for the next day – what I’ll wear laid out, my emergency supplies in my pack, hefty bags for Rhonda to carry to half way (drinks, energy gels, spare shoes and socks in case I need to change) and to the end (clean clothes).

Gear laid out for a 4.30am startIMG_3744

Drop bags. Spare socks and shoes in the backpack, change of clothes for after the race.

IMG_3748

I cook dinner (stir-fried veges with tofu for protein and rice for carbs) and bake some potatoes (for fuel half way round).

I’m in bed by 930 and manage a reasonable night’s sleep, although I’m up half an hour earlier than planned – at 4am! At least that means I roll out of bed fast when the alarm goes off. It’s not cold at all, which worries me – I’d hoped for a dawn like Saturday’s, freezing cold but clear and calm. I shower (not for cleanliness but to warm up my muscles) and eat (plain bagels with peanut butter, for lots of simple carbs. I’ve tested this pre-race meal and know that I can keep it down OK even if I go running an hour later). I break a cardinal rule (“never experiment on race day”) by trying vaseline between my toes, hoping to stop blisters. Of course I’ve got sticking plasters on my nipples to stop chafing and bleeding.

Suddenly it’s 520 and I have to move – I start running as I leave the house, late for my 530 pickup. But as I’m heading down Sunshine a van pulls up: ‘Simon?’. I’d say it’s a fairly safe bet that I’m the only guy running here in full gear with a head torch, yes.  I jump in – Pete is a runner from the Wellington Online Running Meetup group (WORM) who generously offered me a ride when I’d begged on the Facebook page. We head over to pick up a few others, and chat about gear, races, technique – the usual chatter of newly-introduced runners. My confidence that I’m in the right place drops when he tells me that he’s a former international mountain biker who used to race 24-hour races. I feel slightly intimidated. We pick up two others, one of whom I recognise from other runs, and head to Khandallah.

The Khandallah Park carpark is buzzing, runners with headtorches lighting everything up. I drift away from the others, not feeling I know them well enough to tag along with them. I spot a few people I recognise in the crowd, although in some cases only because I’ve seen their picture on Facebook. The people I’m actually looking for are nowhere to be seen. I overhear conversations in the dark – two New Zealanders in the top ten at Hard Rock, including the woman’s winner. This seems like a good omen….

Start of the race. Via Run Wellington
https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Frunwgtn%2Fposts%2F269560210075709&width=500

Video of the start of the race.
Video walkthrough of the entire course.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment