So last Saturday was the turn of Mt Campbell to host the NZ Mountain Running Champs. This being my first attempt I was pretty excited and not there just to make up the numbers! I travelled up on Friday in beautiful weather that seemed destined to continue into the weekend. I popped into Lake Rotoroa on the journey for an hour to ease my mind and escape the roads. The previous day I had an uncomfortable pain in my lower calf, this may well have been from over doing the speed work. The run around the lake was bliss and my calf felt brilliant.
Saturday was ace with clear blue skies and typically warm Tasman sunshine. The race didn’t begin until midday so I began a relaxing morning with a light run, some paper reading and coffee. This was followed with a short drive to the start line for a warm up and few chats with other guys there.
This race can be spilt into two halves. The first is quite flat and fast with a gradual climb. The second contrasts with steep climbs making you pay for a quicker first part. Being my first Championship race I was a mix of nerves and enthusiasm at the start line. As Eric, the RD, counted down from 30 seconds Grant Guise settled my nerves by mentioning he had a DVD for me in the car that I needed to remind him to grab at the end of the race, always working that bloke! With 10 seconds to go I was relaxed, smiling and ready to get to that BBQ up the top!
Now I had heard that the time to the top is similar to your half marathon time so I’d worked out a couple of estimations but ultimately knew that this could all change while on the road. I was in the lead group with 5 others, Phil Costley, Dougan Bulter (2011 champ), Glenn Hughes and Steve Day. Around 4 km Phil stretched away and the remaining 4 began to fracture. Dougan and I went in other directions, him forward and I backwards, as I battled to keep up with the group. Glenn and Steve chased hard after Dougan while I was left holding onto 5th. This was how it stayed for the remainder of the race, with Phil triumphing to take the title, making it National title number 31. Class! Up top there was a BBQ, hot drinks, biscuits and a really social atmosphere. Unfortunately the summit had clouded over so the view could not be seen through the cloud cover, I’ll have to get up there again to see the view for myself one day.
From here it was mission home and on a plane to Queenstown for the back end of a roadie. Shoes packed, and not much else, for some trail goodness around Lake Pukaki and Mt Cook.
|Gravel roads never look so good|
|Looking towards Mt Sefton|
|Looking back down the valley towards the village|
|Post run breakfast|
|Post breakfast enjoyment|
Looking down the track, Rotorua Marathon is tomorrow (Saturday) week. In between this I’m lining up for University in the Hagley relays. Really looking forward to this as I’ve never taken part before and this relay kicks off the winter club season around Christchurch.
Stats: Avg Distance:12.50 km
Avg Time:55:55 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:2,366 m
Avg HR:139 bpm
Max HR:184 bpm
Avg Elevation Gain:235 m
Max Time:1:16:50 h:m:s
This weekend, very late notice and the following week and weekends
Hagley Relays at North Hagley. Beginning around noon.
Apline Lodge Loop the Lake. 25km trail run around Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes
Backcountry Runner race coverage will be via its Facebook page so check it out, starts around 8.30am (tomorrow the 21st)
Mt Edward 23km mountain run plus 5km, 10km and 15km forest run options. Lake Tekapo.
This looks pretty sweet, I was down there on Wednesday so expect dry, hard and warm conditions!
Leeston Wednesday Night Road Runners, Leeston, Canterbury.
These guys are still going strong!
Few more entries available on the website