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2013 New Zealand Mountain Running Camp Review

2013 New Zealand Mountain Running Camp Review, By Glenn Hughes

Easter 2013 saw the inaugural New Zealand Mountain Running Camp take place in National Park. The camp was open to all abilities and was aimed to promote mountain and off-road running. The camp date was two weeks before the NZ mountain running championships and also offered some last minute training for those competing.

The camp was run free of charge (except for your own accommodation, food, and travel cost) by NZ Mountain running representative Glenn Hughes. Also in attendance lending a hand was Jonathan Wyatt (6 time world mountain running champion), Barry Ellis (Athletics NZ selector and NZ team manager), and Callum Harland (former NZ mountain running rep and owner of Discovery Lodge – the camp venue).

Fifthteen athletes took part in the 2013 camp that had a wide range of abilities.

Group shot at Knoll Ridge Café on Day 2 (Glenn, Grant, Stefan, James, Adam, Emily, Sharon, Michael, Karl, Ailsa, Jono, Chan, and Jo).

Group shot at Knoll Ridge Café on Day 2 (Glenn, Grant, Stefan, James, Adam, Emily, Sharon, Michael, Karl, Ailsa, Jono, Chan, and Jo).

Training runs were split into two groups which generally stayed together on the runs. Each run contained either a shorter option or a staggered start to make sure we all finished as a group. In fact, our 25km Sunday run saw everyone finish within 3-4min of each other.

The camp comprised four days of mountain and trail running supplemented with evening discussions, videos, and a visit to the local pub.

Day 1 (Friday) consisted of a trail run from Horopito to Ohakune via the Old Coach Road trail (14km) that follows the old North Island Main Trunk railway. This run was along well graded trails and made for a good introduction to offroad running.

Day 2 (Saturday) comprised a climb to the top of the Bruce Road from WhakapapaVillage via the Whakapapanui Track, Silica Rapids Track, Whakapapaiti Hut, and Bruce Road (16km with 700m of climbing). The run was followed with a chairlift ride and lunch at Knoll Ridge cafe.

Day 2 afternoon saw a run around the scenic Owhango Domain forest trails followed by a jump in the river and visit to the historic Owhango Pub.

Jonathan Wyatt offering some pacing to novice runner Ailsa Robertson at Owhango (Photo by Sharon Wray).

Jonathan Wyatt offering some pacing to novice runner Ailsa Robertson at Owhango (Photo by Sharon Wray).

Day 3 (Sunday) was a spectacular 25km run from WhakapapaVillage to the Desert Road via the Waihohonu Track with faster runners adding a detour to the top of TamaLakes at 1500m elevation. The original plan was for the faster group to run to the Desert Road via the Tongariro Crossing saddle and Oturere Track, but bad weather meant this run will have to wait. The Sunday run was followed by lunch in Turangi and a visit to Tokaanu hot springs.

On Sunday evening we watched a video of Kilian Jornet (the world best trail runner and mountaineer) about how pushing your limits can be rewarding and the bigger the risk the bigger the buzz – something we could all relate to after three days of intense running.

Day 4 (Monday) comprised an early morning run in scenic native bush around LakeRotopounamu at 700m elevation before declaring the camp closed.

Feedback from the camp was great and it easily exceeded everyone’s expectations (including mine). Lots of new friends were made and there will many lasting memories. This bodes well for future camps, likely to be around Easter again, so next time jump at the opportunity to come and experience a unique atmosphere with like minded people.

Thanks go out to Jono and Barry for their guidance (good and bad) and Discovery Lodge for the great meals and use of the mini bus. Below are a few pictures from the weekend.


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  1. Was great to be part this epic weekend! My own perspective of the weekend is on my blog! http://74running.com/2013/04/03/tongariro-trail-running-camp-easter-weekend-recap/

    cheers

    Chan

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