UltrAspire Double Rainbow- Chris Morrissey Report

Yesterday we had Kristian Day’s race report on the inaugural UltrAspire Double Rainbow Marathon. Kristian finish a soild 2nd place, behind the seemingly always on form Chris Morrissey, and today we have Chris race report from the Lactic Turkey Double Rainbow.

chris hill

Chris on Rainbow Mountain. Photo- Michael Rodliffe

The inaugural UltrAspire Double Rainbow Marathon kicked off at 8am on Saturday morning in perfect conditions from the shores of Lake Okaro, 15 min south of Rotorua. Shaun Collins of Lactic Turkey events had given us a brief description of the first farm loop that we would encounter. There was no mention of the heavy frost on lush grass that almost saw the entire field come to a grinding halt on the first hill. We were probably trying to run at about 12km an hour but only going about 8. After loosing both big toes to frost bite we left the paddocks and hit the farm tracks.
The plan for the day was to cruise the first 10km until the first of 4 climbs up Rainbow Mountain then see how Kristian Day was on the hills. It was the first time I’ve raced Kristian so I figured I’d just let the rest of the plan sort itself out.
We cruised along at a conversational pace, swapping the lead on single track sections and running side by side on the farm races. Approaching the underpass of SH38 we passed by a paddock of yearling dairy cows all gathered by the fence as if to cheer us on. I told Kristian “Just slow down a bit so they don’t stampede” not wanting to wreck the good thing that Lactic Turkey have got going with the local farmers. Kristian obliged which made me think why have I never told the guys I’m racing to slow down before. It would make racing that much easier.
After leaving the farms and a short forestry road section behind, we hit the mountain bike and walking trails around the mountain. Having only ever run on the track we were soon to ascend on, the majority of the course was new to me. Kristian took the lead into the single track and the talking stopped. After a few km we both got a glimpse of third place not far behind and the paced quickened a little. At the start of the first climb of the day, Kristian said “After you” which ruined my plan completely. Half way up and I could no longer hear footsteps behind me. At the summit smorgasbord aid station I couldn’t make my mind up so just had water.

The small loop at the summit allowed me to gauge how far in front I was. Third was less than 90 seconds behind so I assumed Kristian was in the loop somewhere. On our first and third descents we ran down a mountain bike track, while our second and fourth descent we ran down the gravel access road. The mountain bike tracks were amazing. The whole time I was thinking, “I definitely have to come back here to ride these tracks”. A sneaky look back on a straight section and there was no sign of anyone.

Ascending the second time I gave myself a bit of a challenge to run all four ascents. At the summit I stopped for a quick bottle refill and a banana before passing Kristian 90 seconds behind at the start of the small summit loop. Down the gravel I decided to take it quite easy due the facts that I was really only half way through and my shoes had very little forefoot impact protection as I was finding out. A quick look behind near the bottom and I was still in the clear but hold on to your steak and cheese because it was about to get interesting. A few corners later and I could hear the footsteps of someone behind. Kristian had taken 90 seconds out of me in a 10 minute descent. Onto our second figure eight lap and the pace was a little more intense than the first along the forestry roads. We both fueled up before the more technical single track to come. I took the lead and decided to push a bit, hoping that Kristian might be feeling the effects of his fast downhill. A small gap opened but I could still hear him.

The third ascent was proving to bit a bit tougher and I decided to walk a little to recover. By the summit my lead was out to 2 minutes. I made sure I ate and drank everything I could. However, it proved to be insufficient. After making sure I maintained my lead down the mountain, on the approach to the final ascent my legs began to fall off. A bit of a dizzy spell made me eat and drink even more. The ascent was a bit painful as I walked about half of it expecting to be passed at anytime. By the summit my lead had increased to over 2 minutes and there was no sign of Kristian at the top. Making an effort to focus on passing people in the 15km course I descended faster down the gravel and was still clear at the base this

time. The final 5km home through the farms and around Lake Okaro was hard but with unlimited visibility on long straight farm races the pressure was off and I could enjoy it as much as my legs would let me. Crossing the line in 4:14:15 I was very relieved and was really looking forward to stopping. Kristian came through in second 3 minutes behind also looking happy to stop.

Jason Birchall K chris

Chris and Kristain post race with Jason Birchall “who pestered me to put on this event starting at his family farm and helped out heaps with the event.”- Shaun Collins

The UltrAspire Double Rainbow marathon was tougher than expected (possibly longer according to some measurements), but with three choices of course length there is a distance to suit everyone. A big thanks to the Lactic Turkey team for putting on another great event and a big thank you to the marshals for being out there in such crisp conditions.


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