Wild Turkey- Chris Morrissey Race Report

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The small, but hardy group of Wild Turkey Marathoners. Photo-

Chris M WT

Chris on his second lap. Photo-

Two years ago my van broke down on the way to the Wild Turkey off road half marathon held in the Waitakere Ranges. I missed the race. This was the only reason I could come up with for opting to do the two lap marathon. The marathon was on offer after the application by race organizer Shaun Collins to run a race the length of the Hillary Trail was declined.
Feeling a little under the weather I was unsure how the day would pan out. Speaking with Matt Bixley earlier in the week I’d indicated it was just a training run. Race morning dawned over cast with a little rain. At the race briefing I spied Sam Manson who has the Hillary trail record at present. Perhaps a little bit of respect for that performance and a bit of “Game on ” attitude, it was no longer a training day. Lighter racing shoes instead of trainers.
After the briefing and across one of four Kauri Dieback spread prevention mats on the course we headed to the start line. Knowing that the half marathon would start 2 hours later the vague plan was to try to get through before they started, to avoid a churned up track. The small field of marathoners headed into the start of the track as the rain began to fall harder.
Sam took the lead and pushed at a quick pace up the first hill. A few minutes later my lungs caught up with my legs. About the same time Sam began to power walk. I continued to run and sit behind. The second time he walked I went past. On the descent into the Pararaha stream Sam regained the lead and emerged from the bush with a 10 second lead. The ascent out of the Pararaha Valley is the steepest section of the course. I soon caught up again and decided to try my luck again on a sharp pinch. By the top of the climb I was alone.
The rain continued to pour making the track very slippery. Knowing that I still had another lap to do I gave myself the luxury of walking most of the slippery inclines. While descending to the event HQ for the first time my body took a corner without my legs knowing and I ended up on my knees, one hand and one elbow while I held onto a few lollies realizing that the 3 second rule doesn’t apply in the mud.

I came through HQ in 2:02. The weather and light had more of an influence on my pace rather than a vague race plan.
The sun came out at the beginning of lap two. I entered the track 5 min behind the half marathoners. I ran the entire first hill thinking that Sam would walk some of it and because I began to pass tail-enders which gave me a bit more motivation. The track was still in great condition after two groups of runners had been through. Most of the tracks have a hard base with a small amount of leaf litter and top soil, so it drains quickly after rain. The second lap felt comfortable but not very strong. I think during the rain I had neglected my hydration a little and was paying the price.
2:11 for lap two and an extra 2 minutes joining the two laps, I stopped the clock at 4:15. Happy. Sam came in 9 minutes later with Matt another 20 minutes behind.
In the half marathon James Bradshaw turned a 4 minute loss to Tom Reynolds at the Kaimai Goat to a 5 minute win and in doing so clocked a PB and the second fastest time on the course.
It was great to see everyone out supporting the Wild Turkey again and showing support for the Hillary Trail race for next year. Hopefully…..

Wild Turkey Overall Result

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