2013 Tarawera Ultra

PG13, contains gratuitous use of bad language. No athletes were hurt much in the telling of this story.

Anon – “Are you running it this year?”

Me – “No, I fucking hate 100k races, they’re shit, you have to actually run, I’ve quit 3 out of 4 that I started. “

Anon – “Yeah but you’ll be coming up to support again won’t you?”

Me – “Fuck no, if I’m going to blow family money and time on a race it’ll be one that I actually run.”

That conversation happened about 60 minutes after Tony Krupicka confirmed his entry to the 2013 race. Variations on the conversation had been floating around since Tim Olsen got the Charteris Guest slot. One of the things I like about the way Paul manages his race is that he is open an honest about holding slots for athletes that will add to the profile and competitiveness of the race. But back to the point of writing. The field is stacked, last year was just a preview. This time both fields are full of talent. Not all of them will start but that shouldn’t stop us getting excited, debating, probably hurting some feelings but mostly just looking forward to a quality event.

Women – Beth Cardelli, Vicki Paistowe, Sarah Biss, Ruby Muir, Deb Nichol, Dawn Tuffery, Nicola Gildersleeve?? Frosty?? Amy Campbell??

Picking the order for 2012 was a piece of cake. This time, mmmmm not so easy. I had the pleasure for quite some time during the Kepler running in front, with and then a long way behind Ruby and Sarah, shit they’re good. Ruby’s time there is seriously good. I’m a big believer of that course requiring knowledge on how to get over the hill to maximise the speed in the 2nd half. She’ll knock huge chunks of her time next year. The tops alone were about 5 minutes slow this year. Sara, like Deb Nichol has been troubled with injuries. No one knows what Sarah could do if she’s fit. I’d like to think that she and Ruby would be together for a long time.

Beth Cardelli is pretty damn quick. 11:18 for the TNF100 this year, I haven’t bothered to do the maths but some think that’s worth a sub 10 at Tarawera, maybe, it’s certainly worth 60 minutes. Nicola ran 10:26 for an easy win this year, and who knows she might be back as well.

I had dinner with Vicki Paistowe last week as well. Tarawera came up, naturally. I learnt a few things. I think she’s better than she thinks she is. I doubt she could beat a fit Ruby and Sarah but she could certainly run 10 something.

Dawn Tuffery, where do you think you fit in. I’ll bet money you say you don’t belong. Rubbish. Not all the woman mentioned will start, at least one will have a bad day so a podium contender for sure.

Amy Campbell has other fish to fry I think and Frosty, well she landed this morning and who knows what she’ll do. I know she’s not running Northburn. She better not be as she’s my crew so you can rule her out of that. Shona Stevenson would have been a good addition but she’s entered Northburn. Which makes a nice segue to the men.

Men – Tim Olson, Tony Krupicka, Vajin Armstrong, Brendon Davies, Mick Donges, Jason Schlarb, Sage Canaday??? Martin Lukes??? Sam Wreford???

I met Brendan Davies on the neighbouring physio table in Llandudno. He’s another whiny arrogant Australian, and like a number of Aussies he can back that up. So I’ve kept in touch in the hope that I might someday learn something. He thrashed both Mick and Vajin in that flat trail race. This is the brief conversation I had with him just before his GNW race.

Brendan – “Northburn is tempting, Shona is trying to get me to go…we’ll see how we go here first. Tarawera still an option and overdue…”

Me – “If I were you I’d line up at Tarawera. Suits your skills. Northburn is 3/4 hiking. Suits me.”

Quietly I was hoping he’d stay the hell away from Northburn. He’s a bit good for my liking. With 6:55 100k form this year and a 10 minute defeat to Vajin not long after that 6:55 I think he is possibly the man to beat. He ran a negative split in the 6:55 which suggest he’ll run bloody fast after Tarawera Falls. His downfall may be over racing in Australia first.

Tim Olson – I think Western States and then Run Rabbit Run showed there are two Tim Olsons. Hopefully the Tim Olson who broke the race record in every other event he ran shows up. But this is a road race, not a mountain race.

Tony Krupicka – not going to quote what he said, suffice to say that he is pretty bloody happy about coming back to New Zealand fit, to race and to explore more. Last year he made comment about how easy the pace was at the start. I’d have to agree, any race I can hang on to for a couple of hours is easily paced. Expect it to go out a lot harder.

Jason Schlarb – Ran faster in Te Anau than I thought he would. Particularly after running 100 miler 5 weeks prior and then having to find a set of bike legs in the previous two weeks. Marty was surprised he couldn’t drop him in the last 10k from Rainbow Reach. He’ll be happy to go out at whatever pace.

Mick Donges – sick, injured crippled. But bloody happy to be finding some time to run and form to go with it again. Like Brendon he’s had both wins and losses to Vajin and is the defending champ. After watching and reading about his European season it wouldn’t surprise me to see him let a fast pace go and then pick up carnage. But I think the winner of this year will come from whoever lasts longest from a fast lead pack.

Vajin at TNF100 Austraila, Blue Mountains

Vajin Armstrong – Finally cracked the 5 hour in Te Anau and as I said above, that ridge was slow this year. One thing I’ve noticed about Vajin this year and was mentioned by Grant on the Tarawera Facebook page is that he is more focused towards key events. His American River win is NOT the 3rd  fastest in race history as mentioned in the BCR performance poll. 5:53 is still bloody quick but is outside the top 10. Krupicka has gone 5:42 and Geoff Roes ran a 5:50, so maybe the course has changed and it’s 3rd on the current course. It’ll be interesting to see what he does if this is his A race for the summer. Fast.

The Random Question Marks.

Martin Lukes never tells anyone what he is doing with any certainty. I reckon I’ll see him at Northburn.

Sam Wreford – I threw that in there because I think he could be talked into running again. If he does, he’ll win in a course record down near 8 hours and will then go to Korea with the New Zealand 100k team and they’ll come home with a team medal and maybe an individual.

Sage Canaday – comments on irunfar suggest he’s keen to come out, has asked what races there are and at White River (technical??) was 30 minutes quicker than Vajin. Apparently he’s a road runner and just to hammer the point, this is a road race.

So without much effort, there’s 1300 words on a race that is 3 months away and will only start with half the people mentioned, maybe.

Women – Muir, Biss, Gildersleeve (Cardelli if no Nicola is a no show)

Men – Krupicka, Armstrong, Davies




About Mouth of the South

Matt Bixley has written 24 .

Outspoken and opinionated- which is great cause we never have to guess what is on his mind. “The Mouth of the South” started his love of trail running with a 8hr+ Kepler in 2004. Since then he has run 220+km in 24hr while representing New Zealand and now has 5hr50, top 10 finish to his name. You can follow him HERE on his personal blog

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