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1998 Roys Peak Challenge

A week or so ago we posted THIS story by Derek Grzelewski, on the 1997 Roys Peak Challenge race, which appeared in the Ansett in-flight magazine. A year after that race a lanky and oddly tanned Englishman line up at the foot of Roys Peak, in what was his first mountain running race. Like all of us, Martin Cox has mixed, if not fond feeling of his first time…

IN THE LEAD BUT NOT IN THE LEAD.

IN THE LEAD BUT NOT IN THE LEAD.

I don’t know why I started writing.  Maybe I was bored, or a failure at something else. I don’t remember. Writing is the same as running. No matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into it, if you totally lack literary talent and a way with words you can forget about being a novelist. You’re either born a writer or you’re not. However, you might still be able to bang out the odd good yarn, in the same way that an average club runner might produce the odd sparkling performance. Whenever I try to write about a subject, I am overcome with this feeling that I am being swallowed up by a sea of words. It takes weeks to prise a simple paragraph from the maze of my subconscious. There’s very little that remains of my memories of the final edition of the Mt Roy Challenge, 17th January, 1998, apart from an old, slightly out of focus photograph and a page from my training diary. I’d been in New Zealand just two weeks, but having spent those weeks on the East Coast battling terrible winds and torrential rain, I was probably well prepared for Mt Roy.

 

 

 

TRAINING DIARY.

TRAINING DIARY.

It was my first mountain race. I don’t really remember too much about it. The photo is of me on the lower slopes, not long after the start, already a fair way ahead of the scratch runners. Of course, there were many others ahead of me, including the winner Andrea Priestly, an English International mountain runner, who had been given a stupendous 30 minute head start over me and who collected the $500 first prize (I took 27 minutes out of her, but that was three too few. I took home $150 for second place). I also remember meeting race organiser Andy Town the evening before the race and suggesting I could probably run to the summit in 50 minutes. I had hiked up and down the peak that day in 6 hours with a small child on my back so had a pretty good idea how long it might take sans enfant. Andy let us camp under the race marquee that night and the next day I ran to the top in 50 minutes. The descent was bad. I remember stopping to retie my shoe laces a couple of times, not because they really needed adjusting, just to relieve the pain in my quads. When I finished my white Nike road flats were red from toe to tongue with blood. I had lifted all of my toe-nails.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone were to resurrect this bitch of a race? Someone with a passion for mountain running, who lived and worked in the vicinity of Wanaka, who had the contacts to get a good sponsor on board and a good field of runners on the start-line? Wouldn’t it be great? If someone doesn’t, one day soon I’m going to return to New Zealand  and do it myself.

More from Martin Cox’s here on his blog.


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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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