This weekend will be the 3rd edition of the gnarly Northburn 100mile race in the barren Dunstan Mountains east of Cromwell. The Northburn can lay claim to being New Zealand’s only true 100mile mountain (and 100km mountain) race and is certainly not for the faint hearted. The course record is over 24hrs and is held by Martin Lukes, who’s no slouch. This year, while the over all event numbers are not as high as expected (there are also 100km and 50km races), the men’s field is shaping up to be very competitive. No, it dose not have the big international names that Tarwera had last weekend, but it has more top New Zealand men on the start line than Tarwera did. And on that note, the men’s 100mile field is where BCR will focus its PRE race interviews on. Come race day we will of course be covering all the events and doing our best to bring you up to date coverage and results.
First up, The North Face sponsored runner, former World Rogaine Champion and winner of the inaugural Waihi 60km in October, Dennis de Monchy from Tauranga
Dennis this will be your first 100mile race- what are your expectations?
Yeah it’ll be a big step up from Tarawera and TNF100 last year, but in my Rogaining (24hr Orienteering events) past I have covered up to 140-150km over a 24hr period while also navigating and bush bashing so I know I can last the distance.
What will be the difference between Northburn and a Rogaine?
The lack of trees for a start, and no running around with a map and compass which makes for a great distraction while the hours tick away. No expectations, just hoping to finish the thing and not damage myself in the process.
Hows the build up been, have to managed to kick on from your form at Waihi and Kauri Ultras?
The build up has been very poor, nowhere near the quality training I was doing in the lead up to Waihi, in fact right now (Mon 8.30pm) I should be downstairs running cables in the walls and ceiling during our renovations! Instead I’m doing Northburn ‘research’ and will head out with headtorch for a run later. I haven’t had the time for long runs this year so have aimed for quality and shorter sessions while also doing more core work by being a builders labourer during the day and carrying my well built toddlers on the weekends!
Though I did surprise myself with a 1.26 offroad half in Rotorua 2 weeks out from NB, my taper has consisted of absolutely no running in the last week while I have tried to let an infection in my quad settle. I think it was due to some bush lawyer I encountered on a reconnaissance of the Kaimai Goat course with Chris. This also put to rest any chance of pacing my buddies at VTuM which was a real shame, so I spent the day with my foot up, drinking coffee, and eating Darren Blackwell’s race food.
A pretty solid man’s field this year- where do you see your self fitting in with that and who are your picks?
Marty Lukes will be taking it out I reckon, his legs just move too fast for too long, hopefully I’ll get to chat with him for the first couple of hours before slowing down. Others who’ll be up there are Matt Bixley who seems to have some whizz bang training programme he’s following, Chris Gates whom I’ve never beaten before I don’t think, and then the others are folks I expect to do well but I don’t them or their form: Glenn Sutton, Michael Beaumont, Ray Sanchez. So I’ll be aiming for top 3 but with the build up I’ve had I’ll be expecting something more like 5-6th.
Being your first 100mile race, what experiences are you drawing on to help with such a big under taking?
Sleep deprivation lessons being handed out nightly by my 9 month old boy, hopefully I can find the bottles and formula at the TW aid station! But seriously, having notched up a few 24 hour rogaines I’m quite happy to keep jogging through the night, watching the stars and will resort to a more old fashioned nutrition plan of sandwiches, H bars, Pocket Fuel and nuts/dried fruit supplemented by the odd gel or Chomps when I need a caffeine hit, as opposed to the gel fest that is a 100k race.
I also learnt a few more lessons(or had them reinforced!) watching the Vibram Tarawera Ultra on Saturday, the main one being to go out slooooow….. and to keep the food going in early because it will be hard to stomach anything by halfway.
I’m feeling very calm leading into this race which surprises me as I haven’t done the training, but it’s always great fun to race somewhere new against some dodgy Southern folk. So just hoping for a fun weekend.
Oop’s that was a bit longer than expected, must be cos I should’a been working! Now time to strap on my new red TNF Hayasa’s and scare some of the neighbourhood dogs:-)