32km Kauri Run- Ruby Muir Report

Ruby Muir, a stand out star in the North Island trail running scene and former New Zealand Mountain Running Champ made a come back from a long injury induced lay off this past weekend in fine form at the 32km Great Kauri Run. Below is Ruby’s race report-

I was not feeling at all nervous on the grey and drizzly morning that was the start of this years’ Kauri Run. After 19 months without racing and knee surgery in July I was happy enough just to have made it to start line, so was putting little pressure on myself to perform. Truth is I had no idea where I was at, how much fitness could I have regained in three months running? Not knowing what was a reasonable expectation to place upon myself I was sitting comfortably with none, or as Kerry Suter and the Mouth of the South would call it; sandbagging. Kristian and I were at Waikawau early enough to watch the Ultra runners come through, first was Kerry, looking ridiculously fresh for 40 or so kilometres in as he bounded over the dunes and down the beach with his child abuse awareness cardboard “buddy” bouncing happily on his back. Fresh enough to talk his usual crap, something about fancy shoes and only going at walking pace, with a few swear words chucked in for good measure. Denis followed in 10-15 minutes, he too was exuding an air of casualness as he calmly sat down to change his shoes and ask me how I was feeling about my race.

My biggest concern at the time was footwear. Since my surgery I have been only wearing fives, even to work. I knew in the rain and mud my seeyas made for 5km road races would not be the wisest of choices, but although the four ibuprofens meant I could see the extensor tendon of my little toe for the first time in three weeks, sitting it in my new Inov-8′s still hurt a lot, and all I’d been doing so far was standing on the beach yelling at Kerry. With my heart in my throat I chose the seeya, knowing I’d be sliding around like a clown on speed, but at least I wouldn’t be wanting to ditch my shoes half way through, something I’ve been through more than once. Vajin took the lead right from the start, pushing a good 50 meters ahead of the front pack in a cloud of soft high tide sand. I decided to hang on to the back of this pack, alongside veteran legend Colin Earwaker who I’d run fairly close to in previous races. I moved towards the front of this pack as we started the many river crossings that lead into our first climb, my legs were feeling awesome and I was breathing freely so I turned my music up a few notches and hung happily behind Darren Ashmore, orienteering legend who was effectively leading us all up hill in the wake of Vajin’s impressive vanishing act.

Darren then proceeded to teach me a lesson in climbing. Showing me it’s still okay to walk when you are in second, especially when you put your hands on your knees and motor up with the determination of a terminator. I did my best to impersonate him, but with my stumpy legs, when it come to walking the men always have an advantage, so half the time I was jogging behind him, putting my face level with and extremely close to his arse, an arrangement clearly uncomfortable for both of us as two thirds of the way he stepped to the side and motioned me passed, letting me know my free ride was over. At the top of the hill I stopped for a couple of cups water as I was carrying none on me. Thinking it was a safe bet to reach for the clear cups I was disgusted to find only vita-sport but forced myself to have a second and prayed to the running gods that I wouldn’t find the same at the following aid stations. This allowed Darren and Graeme Pearson, leader of the 13km, time to catch up and we passed the standard pleasantries about the nasty weather and the wind and being chicked before I took the lead again (the term “lead” here disregarding Vajin as a 200 mile week running god as opposed to mere mortal, who I knew none of us would see until the finish line). The next 15 or so km along the ridges is very slimy, the track slippery clay/rock with a dangerous looking film of green slime for which I was glad to be so low to the ground in my fives. I put hands to knees and powered up the numerous clay walls with a technique inspired by Darren and tried to go too fast down the other side to allow time, slipping, swinging wide around every corner so as not to land on my side. I was pretty lonely for this section, with only the occasional Ultra battler to keep me company as we shared a “good work mate” moment. I passed Dawn Tuffery at around the 18-20km mark and she was making ultra running look easy. I confess I may have been singing (and very badly) I just couldn’t contain myself being so happy to be running again and to be feeling so much fresher than expected. Sorry Dawn.

Ruby cranking along! Photo- Shaun Collins- Cabbage Tree Photography

It was the final section after the trig that I knew would cause me to question my choice of footwear, but had I no idea to what extent. After a gravel climb to the trig, there is a gnarly, rooty, muddy section of ridge-line about 3 km long before the true decent begins and I confess I just couldn’t run it. My little, no longer broken toe screamed at every root, the road shoes made me slip every time I tried to run. I was getting extremely frustrated as this technical stuff is usually where I make the most ground and get the most fun. Instead I was stumbling along and cursing, still feeling fine but not able to push the pace. When the decent finely began in earnest, I kissed my toe good bye and decided that go for it as best I could. My shoes caused me to slip multiple times but I bounced back up reminding myself I chose to wear them knowing full well this was coming and was bloody well going to suck it up. They served me well for the first three quarters and there is always a price. In this case it was couple of centimetres of arse and arm flesh. On the bright side this reduced pace allowed me to truly slam the last, more gradual 3 or so kilometres of down, and the trip through town and around the field. Making my muddy, mini skirted entrance more grand than would have otherwise been possible.

So, 2 hours 54 minutes; a good 15 minutes faster than when I was running last those many moons ago. Sorry for all the sandbagging guys, I swear it wasn’t on purpose. Still 20 minutes behind the machine that is Vajin and not up to the woman’s record yet. Very happy to once again hang at the end of a race with a few drinks, a lot of stench and mud, and many friends it was more than time I caught up with. Thanks to Kristian, for doing a wonderful job at taking his turn as support crew. To the ARC team for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to stage my comeback, and to all those crazy bastard who were sitting under tarpaulins on the wet and windy ridges and still able to give a drink and a smile as I came passed with my undies on display. And to Dylan at Barefoot-inc for putting up with my endless request for footwear.

70km Kauri Ultra race report from winner Kerry Suter HERE

Official Press Release from ACR on Great Kauri Run  on SportzHub HERE

Top Results

32k – Men

Vajin Armstrong, Christchurch, 2:35.53, 1; Colin Earwaker, Rotorua, 3:02.56, 2; Darren Ashmore, Rotorua, 3:06.05, 3.

32k – Women

Ruby Muir, Napier, 2:54.14, 1; Lesley Turner-Hall, Auckland, 3:22.28, 2; Jo Donnelly, Thames, 3:41.18, 3.

70k – Men

Kerry Suter, Cambridge, 6:51.40, 1; Dennis de Monchy, Tauranga, 7:40.16, 2; Jason Good, Whakatane, 8:18.51, 3.

70k – Women

Dawn Tuffery, Hamilton, 8:21.16, 1; Christine Carleton, Gisborne, 9hrs 27.00, 2.

21k – Men

David Allaway, Auckland, 2:16.40, 1; Adam Coe, 2:19.25, 2; Logan Pene, Pukekohe, 2:20.50, 3.

21k – Women

SarahBlake, Rotorua, 2:31.35, 1; Annette Morris, Auckland, 2:48.06, 2; Jenny Steer, New Plymouth, 2:49.39, 3.

13k – Men

Graeme Pearson, Rotorua, 1:08.45, 1; Beven Nel, Auckland, 1:09.37, 2; Josh Halligan, Auckland, 1:10.43, 3.

13k – Women

Hannah Lynch, Auckland, 1:17.55, 1; Maria Walsh, Te Awamutu, 1:26.47, 2=; Imke Petersen, Te Awamutu, 1:26.47, 2=.

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