Motatapu Off Road Event

The inaugural Motatapu Event was held in 2005, offering a mountain bike or marathon option, linking Glendhu Bay and Arrowtown, and attracted 1,000 participants. Now over 4,000 people take part in five different events. As well as the marathon, the 15km “Miners Trail” and 50km “Adventure Run” have been added. Without doubt the now iconic marathon option at Motatapu (along with the likes of Tarawera) can be credited with helping grow the popularity of trail and off road running.

This is far from a  ”Race Preview”, but rather a quick look at a few names that jumped out on the start lists. So remember- don’t fold under the pressure if you see your name and don’t get hurt feelings if it is not listed ;-)

Adventure Run runners nearing Jack Hall Saddle during last years event.

Marathon- Without Vic Beck or Sarah Douglas running this year one might think the women’s race is wide open- enter Mel Aitken. Clearly in good form, Mel is a favorite for the marathon win, with Johannah Jackson another name to watch.

Vajin Armstrong will be looking for his 2nd win at Motatapu after running 2hr51 for first in 2011 (and 2hr57 for 2nd in 2012). Mr ActiveQT Adrian Bailey’s name is on the list  and it will be good to see him lining up, but we are not sure what sort of form he is in. After marking out the Shotover Moonlight course he will be strong if nothing else. Eliot Drake, formally from Reno, but now Queenstown based will mix it up and be in the top 3 to arrive in Arrowtown. Former New Zealand age group title and record holder Dominic Channon is now based in Wanaka and lining up- if he has been training Vajin might not have it all his own way.

Adventure Run- For the first time the Adventure Run can be completed as an individual event and despite a smaller field this should offer some good racing, at least for the minor placings. American Jason Schlarb, who finished 4th at last year’s Ultra Trail Mt Blanc, is the clear favorite. Bas Smith (along with Jess Simpson) has the course record of 6hr40 in the teams race and will be strong. As will Andy Millar who is looking to build on a solid summer that has included the Ultra Easy and Bedrock50. If Paul Timothy can build on the form that saw him run sub 5hr50 at the Kepler in December he should be in the mix also.

In the teams race, the Dynamic Duo from Alexandra, Malcolm Mcleod and Ned Kelly will take the win with ease, even with Mal’s dodgy knees.

Miners Trail- Few names jump out here. No course record holder Alun Williams this year. Andrew Town is returning again and will be in the mix, as long as he can stay on course…

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