The BCR Kaweka Mountain Marathon was this past weekend- below is a race report from Aucklander and Xterra Trail Series regular Steve Neary.
Back in June last year when I watched the Youtube clip from Alistair McDowell, Ben Duggan and Kristian Day as they ran through the Kaweka Mountain marathon course I knew then that this was an event for me. Then Louise and Philip Shambrook posted the event with invites. I was in as quick as could be and signed up.
One of the best things about trail running is the friendships and comradery . There was a good group of us that entered in the end and we were counting down the days and sleeps to the event. Finally on Friday late afternoon we were camping at the event base looking up at the stunning mountains and ridge lines. Coming from Pukekohe, it put a whole new light on trail running and going up hills. This was a whole new level. In a few hours myself along with 31 other adventurous runners were about to launch ourselves up, over and around some of the most gruelling ridgelines and mountains over a 46km marathon.
The holding pen was a buzz and it was great to see the elites Chris Morrissey and Ruby Muir there and once they took off it was the last time we would see them. They are both in a class of their own and simply amazing runners.
As Chris said in his report it was a start like no other but the use of the orienteering idents on the finger was great. I can never help myself, I like to start at a good pace. So I was in the top seven by the time we reached Kiwi saddle Hut in a time of 1 hr 23 min. Once I had come out of the bush line the views were just incredible and mind blowing. But at the same time I had to focus on my path and footing as there were a few sections where it can all come unstuck.
I could go on and on about every section and getting to the top of Kaweka J and then the mean decent. Crossing the streams and gulping down some cool fresh mountain water and the mind testing, leg burning ascent up Kuripapango. But I strongly recommend you make a commitment and write in your running calendar for 1st Feb 2014
Not to make excuses but three weeks out from the event I had injured my knee and Achilles So I had a long taper over that time of very little running and lots of physio. So I did have my doubts about still doing the event or even changing to the 28 k distance. But it was just such a great opportunity to run somewhere I had never been and to be out there with such an awesome bunch of people. So I did change my game plan a bit and came through with no more aggravation of my injuries and good to go for my next event Tarawera. I will be back next year as long as I can convince my sister to have her 40th birthday on another day.
In the end I finished the 45.3 k course in 8 hr and 33 min coming 11th overall and 2nd in my age group so I was very happy with my first attempt. Full Results HERE
A huge thank you to Philip and Louise for organising and running such an awesome event. To Kristian and Ruby for marking the course so well. To all the volunteers and Land SAR. Also to the sponsors.
Last and not least to my trail running friends for making it such an excellent weekend away.