Miners Trail Race Report- Russell Hurring

The Motatapu is one of the biggest trail/off road running events in New Zealand and the marquee event for runners has long been the marathon. With the addition of the “Adventure Run” and “Miners Trail” the Motatapu’s appeal for runners of all levels is growing. One of New Zealand’s more experienced trail/mountain runners Russell Hurring lined up in the Miners Trail this year, below is Russell’s race report-

I must confess to usually being a long run geek so the Miners Trail was not my first choice race at Motatapu. But a lazy summer nursing dodgy joints thankfully supplied the necessary push when family were gathering for the Motatapu Events.

The Miners Trail has all the essential delights of a mountain runners course yet it is straightforward enough for first timers. It starts with a short meander down the Arrow River trail to warm the blood then it’s into a meaty climb up Tobins Track with plenty of room to pass those fading after reckless early fervour.

A short, flatter burst along Glencoe Road is followed by some tight single track along water races and connecting trails. Here the path undulates sharply as it gradually climbs through a beautiful tussocky valley. Getting past others is challenging here, and individual rhythms vary surprisingly, which can frustrating for many in the crowded mid field I am told.

Onward and upwards to thinner air and steeper grades. Or do they just seem steeper? After the drink station the trail follows very steep four wheel drive tracks onto the ridge and the highest point of the course. With my heart racing towards its red line it was quite a relief to turn right for the sidle along to the descent. Time for the tussock hopping specialists to shine.

Russell in the final river crossing.

Russell in the final river crossing.

As I sidled along keeping an ear to let faster tussock hoppers past I was becoming anxious about how close the opposite ridge was getting relative to our elevation. As I continued sidling and the opposite ridge got closer still, it was very obvious that one horrendous descent was coming. Sure enough!

Those many water crossings after the trail joins the marathon course for the last two kilometres must be very helpful for a great many in removing descent caused stains on shorts, outside and inside.Up front the leaders had disappeared quickly on Tobins Track and I missed the best of the action but finishing margins show it was really competitive out there. I was pleased with my run but had hoped to see my old M50 rival Andrew Town along the way, on the climb is the usual pattern of our match ups. Not this time. Andrew ran sensationally for 5th overall, 6 minute 30 (literally miles) ahead of me. Run of the day I reckon despite a fine record breaking effort from womens race winner Louisa Andrew whose company I enjoyed for parts of the way. Brilliant day overall,  great weather, beautiful course and real hard running. It won’t take dodgy joints to help me choose the Miners Trail another time.

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