Monday, 26 March 2012


I think I’m right in saying that each runner can remember the time or race that sparked their love for the sport or the idea that this is something they want to do.  For me, it was the Northburn 2011.  When deciding to compete in last year’s race I got a little serious; a coach, trained particularly hard, planned ahead and got to the start line proud of my achievements.  With this in mind going back this year was super exciting and slightly daunting. Daunting because I still have those 3 big letters in my mind…DNF!  Opting for the, quote of Race Director Terry Davis ‘50km is the nice loop’, this weekend I was confident of getting through but nervous about what state I’d end up in.

Northburn start/finish area and homebase

Arriving late into a very mild but blustery Cromwell I was anxious about the mornings weather prospects. This was put to rest as I woke around 3.30am to prepare for the start line, although still blustery there was no sign of rain, yet! Once again the general excitement overruled any fatigue I may have had from a late night and early start and come 5.45 I was checked in and ready to roll.
This race is a mass start, so all competitors regardless of distance begin together making it a hub of nerves and excitement. As we looped our way around the Northburn vineyard and back past the marquee (used as a home base/basecamp for 100km and 100 mile athletes) we were out into the action. I worked my way to the front of the pack and settled into running with Aussie Daniel Trevena (he completed the 100 mile last year) which was all familiar as we ran together for a while last year too. As we gradually made our way up the mountain the light took over so head torches could be removed. I was quite content knowing that they would not be seen again!

Daniel and I ran together for around the first 16km to a point which gets very steep and was very windy. I just put my head down and focused on getting through the section, once at the top I’d created a little gap. Still climbing, but not as steeply now, the wind began to get really aggressive as it ripped up some of the valleys. Cresting the summit at around 1660m it was low body position and leaning into the wind. I haven’t quite been in anything like it. Even a couple of the storms I hiked through while on the Appalachian Trail had nothing on this! By the time I’d got to the 25km point, where a marshall was, we had to turn straight into the wind. I was quite confused at this stage just because of the battering from the wind. I pretty much was a dribbling/snotting mess. The head wind again was low body position with head down and counting my steps to ten. It didn’t last very long and once we started descending the wind gradually died down and the temperature rose. 

There are some fast sections of downhill over this 50km section and I opened out on plenty, a luxury I could afford knowing that I wouldn’t need to save my legs for enduring the night as many others would have to. At the 40km mark I felt positive to go under 5 hours and checked over a couple of calculations in my head which lead me to believe it was on. However I hadn’t factored in the last couple of climbs in this section. Although not the length of what we initially tolerated but a couple of grunty bursts that was enough to take the wind out of my sails and watch the sub 5 slip away. Knowing this I relaxed and enjoyed the last few kilometres reflecting on what was a great morning of running!



So couple of big thanks I need to get out there, Rosie, who has put up with plenty over the past few weeks. Loads of travel but plenty of fun too, think we’ll enjoy a quiet local weekend! Duncan and Jess for coming down to Cromwell. The Northburn team, Lisa, Terry and Tom you just know that this weekend will grow and grow! Backcountry Runner for the epic race coverage! Glenn and Matt at Adidas, you guys have been so awesome! Well done to all of those that went down to Cromwell to support or take part (50, 100km or 100m). Always a shame that these things only occur once a year! And the winners of the 100 mile, Glenn Sutton in 26.31 and Jean Beaumont in 26.47. Crazy crazy stuff! 

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Backcountry Runner roaming reporter

(R to L) Duncan, Jess and I

Well done for all of you that ran Christchurch’s City2Surf. Wicked to see the iconic ‘03’ event back in the swing of things.

As for me the upcoming week will be recovery/plod around. Just want to make sure the legs are fine so I can really up preparation for Rotorua, which is only 5 Saturday’s away now.

 From the week some stats:
Avg Distance:20.02 km 
Avg Time:1:42:06 h:m:s
Count:10 Activities
Distance:202.78 km
Time:17:00:59 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:4,875 m
Avg HR:129 bpm
Calories:9,934 C
Max HR:183 bpm
Avg Elevation Gain:488 m
Max Time:5:06:02 h:m:s  

And around the region this week we have loads happening, especially the Arrowsmith Thee Run!


Leeston Wednesday Night Road Runners, Leeston, Canterbury

The Rock Race in Rolleston, Canterbury
Meet at the community centre 6.15pm to register for a 6.30pm start (no web)


Arrowsmith Thee Run, Canterbury (Meant to be one of the best views in NZ!)


Sri Chinmoy Waimairi Beach Challenge

And those of you who enjoy two wheels Le Race in on in Christchurch. Good viewing spots on Dyres Pass Road and at the roundabout top of Colombo before they head up the hill.


  1. great to catch up in the weekend Blair and congrats on a solid outing!
    back to the mile next year?

  2. Yeah really good to catch up mate. Great work with that coverage and your site. Feels like exciting times ahead and it's wicked that your at the forefront of it!
    A year's a long time, one day though!
    Defo have to stretch the pins together one day man, rest up and catch up later