Coming At You This Week
The Tussock Traverse- 26km course that cuts across the heart of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, starting off at the Desert Road on the Eastern side of the Park and taking in the Rangipo Desert and Waihohonu traverse track before finishing at the Chateau Tongariro. It also has a cult like, unofficial “Reverse” event and is gaining traction. I haven’t had the time to research the field this year, so maybe someone in the know can fill us in with a comment or 2 below.
The Big Easy mountain marathon is New Zealand’s highest marathon and starts high in the Pisa Range before plummeting down to finish in Albert Town. Again we are not sure who is racing, but BCR man on the ground Matt Bixley will be there, so expect to hear all the news post race.
The ”James” Stampede Ultra is set to be the race of the weekend. In only its second year and with a start list of barely 30 runners in the 50km Ultra (there is also mountain bike and multi sports races) it has attracted some of the top ultra/mountain runners in NZ- Martin Lukes, Martin Cox and Vajin Armstrong. It is hard to pick, I know Marty Lukes has been taking it easy, Martin Cox is building up for Northburn and Vajin is rarely not in shape. Having come off his 3rd Kepler win Vajin has to be the favourite. BCR will be there so you can expect to get all the action post race Saturday night- no cell coverage in the St James, and we have already used our heli budget for a race next month
The BCR Kaweka- entries are still open for the biggest, badest Mountain Marathon in New Zealand. The race hasn’t even happened yet and it is already being call the North Island “must do” mountain running event! Keep an eye out for a race preview next week
Over 8 months away, but possibly the biggest “news” (we had heard about this a while ago) in NZ ultra running this week is The Great Naseby Water Race has introduced a 100 mile distance in addition to the 100km, 80km 50km and 60km relay. The 100mile will start at Midday on Friday the 30th August, with the other distances starting at their usual time on Saturday(31st). Also, Start/Finish line has been relocated to Wet Gully Road just near the figure 8 intersection.
But the big news in NZ ultra this week- the Athletics New Zealand team selections for the IAU World 24hr Champs in the Netherlands in May. A huge congratulations to- Kim Allen, Antonia Johnson, Vivian Cheng, Val Muskett, Wayne Botha, Bryan McCorkindale, Alexander McKenzie and Graeme Butcher