November 2017 – “Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop, and the part that wants to keep going.” So Taupo Ultra Marathon was pretty much one massive argument, for 11hrs20mins, over 74km of trails, road, and farmland. Amazing, loved it, Lake Taupo is beautiful, injuries suck but not every race can go to plan so just battle through, thumbs up to everyone who hammered their way through, marmite sandwiches are bloody fantastic. Taylor Pass Honey thank you so much for the fuel, you guys are awesome! @taylorpasshoney #taylorpasshoney #BeeWildStayPureNourishLife #TasteoftheUntouchedSouth
Ultra all sorts
A pre sunrise departure from Taupo across the lake made for a beaut start for a gruelling day that was awaiting. Snow clad Mt Ruapehu greeted us on the horizon as the sun came up, and in the foreground Lake Taupo sparkled under the clear blue sky.
Pulling into Kotukutuku Bay a shade after 7.30am was like setting foot in a race start looking nothing less than paradise; a tiny wee beach big enough for about 40 people- our entire race contingent, for the 74km run.
8am and the hooter went. 4km uphill trail to kick start the day, then we hung a right and pretty much ran around the lake back to Whakaipo Bay, all inclusive of a 2000m ascent, and some hefty descents chucked into the mix. (Money back guarantee.)
Unfortunately my calf, which was heavily strapped, decided to ping a mere 2km into it all.
Less than ideal.
And then I rolled my ankle, same leg. Great, everything obviously was not going to plan.
Oh, and that annoying guy behind you, who, as you roll your ankle and almost kiss the dirt, blurts out ‘Oh no!! Ah well, that’ll be the first of many!!”.. LET HIM PASS YOU, his five cent comments are only going to worsen…
Within half a second this race was all about the complete, not the compete. It’s a massive mind shift, and exhausting.
Shifting your goal posts a few metres as they say, (mine were shifted from let’s say Eden Park to Carisbrook Stadium…)
Needless to say, the first 15 km sucked big time, despite the beautiful surroundings of farmland and trails, and that big giant lake. (Singapore can fit into Lake Taupo, by the way. I was told that on the boat ride. #funfactanditsnotevenfriday
I was so very close to pulling out at one stage, but managed to get my head around the pain management side of things….power walk the uphill, shuffle/manage the flats, and thankfully, hammer the downhill.
So long as I had forward momentum and I was meeting the compulsory cut off times, I really had no excuse to pull pin. And I wasn’t last!!
And justifying a DNF to your mates would probably be worse than this pain. A case of a lesser of two evils.
Anyway, Richie McCaw played the Rugby World Cup final with a broken foot, so none of us have any excuses.
Luckily, the middle 25km section was lots of downhill on trail, so the groove was regathered, a reminder of why we love this stupid sport.
Awesome atmosphere, heaps of banter, never knew marmite sandwiches could taste so good.
At the 50km mark at Kinloch, despite the doctor’s orders the evening before at the race briefing, at the aid station I really tried to sweet talk to medic into flicking me an anti-flamme or two, this calf business wasn’t pretty. He frowned at me, then got on the blower to the doctor to check, and this happened:
“I can give you some pain killers?”
“I’ve been taking lots of them already.”
“Well Tom the doctor said if they’re not keeping on top of your pain, then perhaps you should pull out of the race.”
“There is. NO way. I’m pulling out now. Thank you.” And off I hobbled/walked/jogged, whatever the hell you call it after 7.5hrs of this when you still have a gnarly 24km hilly section to go.
By the way, sore heels is the worst!! I never knew it was actually a thing??!!
Luckily soon after another runner on the course hooked me up with some great little anti flammes, enough to get me to the end.
Just before 7.30pm as the sun dipped behind the mountains, I crossed the finish line, running!! Cracka.
11hr20mins, she was a fair old day out there.
Moral of this story;
When you find yourself saying almost outloud to yourself- ‘Gosh those cows are in great condition!!’ you know you’re doing your best to distract yourself from the hell you’re currently enduring..(they were really healthy looking cows though..)
Always be polite to medics, they may have to scrape you off the floor at some stage.
Take your anti flammes in your survival pack anyway, (they may get you to the finish line) Just hope the whole kidney failure thing the doctor spoke about actually isn’t a thing….
December 2013 – Never under-estimate a river. Mt Tapuae-o-Uenuku, New Zealand’s highest peak outside the Southern Alps. Standing at 2800m, its grandeur can be seen from all over Marlborough. A best bud Bridget and I decided we’d conqour it one early December weekend. Many have climbed it, we knew it was tough, but surely we’d make it? Turns out the Hodder River had different ideas. Although we took off pre dawn and into a great-weathered day, snow melt meant this auld waterway was hurling through at one heck of a force. Snow melt and steep terrain means an eventual uncrossable river. We made it two thirds of the way up the gorge, then reached a point that was impossible to cross. We’d already stretched out limits and bravery plenty of times that day, and after about six hours of hiking, we were toast. So we took a cup of cement, swallowed our pride, and turned around. Homeward bound. Yes we felt a defeated and gutted. But that’s the humbling nature of Mother Nature and rivers; they will win at the end of the day. Nearly 12 hours after set off we got back to the shearer’s quarters we’d spent the previous night in, sat down and had a cuppa, and thought to ourselves ‘Well that was a cool day river adventuring the mighty Hodder, navigating around 70 river crossings! Lucky us!’ Mt Tappy won’t be going anyway, so let’s pencil it in for another day.
May 28, 2019
When the runners are away, the media will play… “Keen for a bit of a hike up Mt Anderson this afternoon?” asks the photo/video guy. “Yea for sure,” replies the kiwi… A 12 hour mission of steep hiking, tough 4WD’ing in a non-4WD van, 🤣 epic sights, wonderful people, cockle-warming whisky, jaffles, guitar jams and great yarns….. And Mac Mac pools in the morning! Fun adventure times at the weekend with Arlo van Heerden, getting a few extra snaps as we captured the action of the brave and daring runners at MAC MAC ULTRA
Phonix Capture cc – Professional Photography and Videography KeyHealth Nevarest Team #goodbetterbest
June 16, 2019
Bumbling around media crewing at the #A1series A1 Adventure Racing Series this weekend, smack bang in the middle of South Africa; where the Free State meets the Eastern Cape meets the Northern Cape.. Eish man it was f🤐🤐king fr🥶🥶zing!! Dot watching the map and getting amongst the action as #TeamNevarest endured 30 plus hours on foot, boat and bike, churning it out in -8deg temps. Old Brown Sherry (OBS) helps warm the cockles at breakfast time, while seeing ostrich, wildebeest, zebra and springbok en route is always lekker fun. What a top effort by all athletes as they endured the elements. Awesome stuff Adrian Vincent Saffy and Castle Lite Adventure Racing Team for putting on such a great show. #A1racing #goodbetterbest KeyHealth Nevarest Team
Check out my write up here.