The Rustic Run and Wild Earth Ascent

14th of June see’s two very different events put on by one very excited Race Director in the Kawaaru Gorge, near Cromwell. The Rustic Run was started by local hotel owner and new trail running convert Glen Christiansen 5 years ago. Local event organiser Terry Davis from Highland Events went with Glenn to suss out the course and Terry recommended a bit of single track and don’t mind the steepness…

For an event organiser who’s best known for the Northburn100 you may be surprised at how excitedly Terry talks about the Rustic Run’s 5.275k laps. “I seriously LOVE this loop  – it is just a sweet wee run. There is some technical single track, there are some grunty but short hills, there is lots of smooth fast grass track… seriously one of the best 5k loops about. It’s particularly good for newbees to trail/mountain running. 5ks is very achievable and the whole idea of the event is to do it with a team as a relay. There is a cool start/finish area with hot drinks and food… music playing, teams bring their own chilli bins and camp chairs… just a great supportive atmosphere.”

The other thing Terry goes on and on about is the majesticularity of Mt Difficulty looming very steep and about 1km high above the venue.

“Over there is where you climb up the second time…” Terry Davis points out the big climb in the 2nd lap of the "Ascent".

“Over there is where you climb up the second time…” Terry Davis points out the big climb in the 2nd lap of the “Ascent”.

And that’s where the Wild Earth Ascent comes into play. “Imagine a course that just went staright F#$%en up that!!” It was the gut wrenching loss of the America’s cup last year that pushed Terry to seek out a route up the front face of Mt Difficulty. He found a goody but is was following a chute that would have been way too dangerous with falling rocks and things… So he’s laboured away (it was very selfless hard work apparently) and come up with not one, but two routes basically following ridges from the base to the top. “this type of event needs to have a Marathon aspect to it to get any credibility and make it worth peoples while to come all this way in the dead of winter. And these front faces are so special I thought to give best bang for buck we’ll make it a loop course and send them up it twice, but over new country each time.”

He knows this course is not for everyone and he’s gone to some lengths to actually put people off entering. “We really only want very confident mountain runners/trampers to show up for this event. The front faces are probably the most continually steep, steep parts of any event like it in Australasia – it’s between 30-40’ gradient – 30’ doesn’t look like much on a protractor but when you’re clinging on to the side of the mountain it feels surprisingly close to 60-70’!”

But it’s actually not all about the up hill. Once at the top of Mt Difficulty (so named by the early gold miners trying to find a way from the Dunstan to the Arrow) you have about 8km of SWEET traverse/downhill before heading back cross country – gnarly down and back up following a fence line and then more traversing and a steep downhill down to the river – all good adventurous stuff and that’s the finish of the first loop. For those doing the marathon they get a whole new ascent to do – the same 8km SWEET traverse and then another 9 gentle downhill ks back to the finish.

The weather and time of year will add another ‘adventure’ dimension to this course. “I fully expect a hard frost and then a clear calm day for the event – that is what’s typical for this area at this time of year – but hey if we don’t get a beautiful day we’ll have an even more AWESOMER adventure!”

There are back-up plans if the weather is just too dangerous but don’t worry, they don’t cancel events at Highland Events for any weather and whatever the alternative course may be you will get a worthy mission out of it.

If you go quick you’ll be finished in time to get a ride down to Dunedin for the Rugby – but Terry would rather you hung around for the Beer and Pizza at the Golden Gate that evening for the slideshow of pics from the day and presentations. Beer and Pizza included in the entry fee!! I’m in! See you at Registration Fri 13th Golden Gate Lodge Cromwell.

FREE STUFF- The North Face and BCR have teamed up and have 2 little prize packs to give-away. Up for grabs is a TNF day-pack, cap and beanie, as well as a little PocketFuel Naturals sample pack. We have 2 of these packages to give away in conjunction with Highland Events Wild Earth Ascent. To win- it is easy, the next 10 people to enter either the Wild Earth Ascent full or 1/2 marathon will go in the draw. Terry will randomly pick 2 names once 10 people have enter (so enter quickly!) and you will receive you prize at the race.

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