Marty Lukes pre Northburn 100 Interview

NB100 imageThis 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 25hrs 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.

We have interview TNF runner Dennis de Monchy, who is taking on his first 100 mlier HERE and defending Northburn 100 mile champ Glenn Sutton HERE.

Now we chat to the (among many many other things) the Northburn 100 course record holder and ASICS/Horleys athlete Marty Lukes from Christchurch.


Marty out for a Sunday jog around Hagley Park, on his way to a 7hr06 100km and 3rd NZ 100km title. Photo Paul Petch

You made the call pretty late to run NB100- what tipped it for you?

Since 2010 goal has been to alternate Tarawera and Northburn each year. Doing both is really a step too far. So Northburn 2011, Tarawera 2012, Northburn 2013 and 2014… Tarawera in theory. Entering early is always good for race promoters and the media but sometimes its best to enter only if you know you are 100 % all go. The Moonlight Marathon was the last hit out and with a good rest I know things are OK to go for the 100 Mile. My early entry for Naseby 100 Mile in August is different. Putting my Novopay afflicted money up front to Jamie and his wonderful team is a small way of saying “Thanks” for all their work to inspire us all to get out and about.

How has the build up been compared to say the 2011 race that you won?

Very low key this year with a focus on biking to work (100 km a week) and 3 hard morning runs with good friends; albeit fast ones . Looking back I got out for some good days during January with two 50 k events in last two months. Enough time to recover from these events and stay fresh. Hopefully the combination of speed and muscle memory will work. I’ll let you know how the top two inches are post event.

I remember you saying you think it can be ran in 24hrs- do you see that happening this year?

It all depends on so many factors: weather, body fatigue, sleep deprivation and the dreaded curse of all runners: chaffing… The course is a tough one so 24 is a worthy target; it may be a quicker course than 2011 so we’ll see. If Bixley starts throwing out a bungy I’ll hang on. Ray’s experience about getting lost in 2012 has let us all know about nav so that’s another variable. Ultimately muscle fatigue is the biggest brake but let’s hope someone cracks the sub 24.

The field is much more competitive than last time you raced here. Have you given the other runners much thought and how do you see the race playing out?

Really haven’t thought too much of this event as a race. The true essence of ultra comes out in events like the Northburn where really at the end of the day “to Complete is to Compete”. I see the event becoming split into 4 quarters: 40 K warming up, the 40 in a holding phase, the 40 surviving then the next 40 trying to go as quick as the first 40. All “races” come down to the last quarter and in this case smoothly getting through the rugged 40 km last quarter is the key. It is great to see such a strong line up this year so let’s hope we can enjoy it as much as possible. In 2011 I thought the pace was too fast for many (I was almost last at 5 km…) and many top racers dropped out at 100k ish so hopefully we’ve all learnt to become more tortoise like. Good excuse to smell the roses… tussocks… fresh Otago air… Bring it on!!

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A Backcountry Running Community for New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra runners- We want this to be the place you come for all things trail running including race previews and reports, interviews with New Zealand runners and hopefully a whole lot more! Our aim is to provide as much original content- previews/reports/interviews on New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra races. We can't be everywhere- so feel free to get in touch if you have the scoop on a race or event.

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