I guess you can call this a painfully funny moment. (Photo: Supersport Images)
Equally excited and worried about what lay ahead. A lovely Hawkes Bay morning despite all the severe weather warnings.
En route to the beach. The destruction caused by recent storms and high seas can clearly be seen on the side of the road.
A wonderful morning on the beach, with the early morning sun causing blinding reflections on the water.
It may be flat, but the uneven terrain ensured that you work for every kilometer gained..
Nice to run into fellow Manawatu Strider and friend June Wirihana along the way.
Wouna passing the majestic Cape Kidnappers cliffs, which we had only ever seen from a distance before.
On this section of the beach the sand gave way to large, flat rocky sections.
An early morning run along the beach with the wind at your back – life doesn’t get much better than this!
Out of breath but still smiling – near the end of a 120m ascent up one of the early hills. (Photo: Supersport Images)
Photographing the photographer, while I put up my best pose. (Photo: Supersport Images)
This photographer picked a great spot, catching runners at the top of a picturesque hill where even the most hardy competitors would be moving fairly slowly.
All gates had to be closed behind you, or scaled near the post, which sometimes proved the faster alternative.
Clear directions all along the route.
We noticed a caution sign ahead…
…and soon realised what it was all about – the gnarliest downhill, requiring some clever footwork.
Approaching the first water stop and transition point for the relay teams.
The complimentary bananas were a welcome alternative to our regular race diet of jelly babies (and occasional baby food).
Descending all the way to sea level again – no doubt a precursor to another giant climb.
The very novel checkpoint system, logging your splits along the route.
Running along the coastline on the southern side of Cape Kidnappers.
Enough to stop you dead in your tracks – the mother of all climbs (246m) shortly after Rangaiika.
Taking an involuntary breather.
Clearly Red John was here! 🙂
Relieved to be near the top (or so we thought!). (Photo: Supersport Images)
Despite the climb I still managed some on-camera silliness. (Photo: Supersport Images)
Like ants scaling an anthill.
Just when you think you’re near the top, another uphill appears.
Looking back at the majestic views behind us made the climb worthwhile.
Wouna doing some windsurfing in the 100+ km gales threatening to blow us back down the hill.
No matter how tired, the amazing views kept us energised.
A change of scenery, running through native forest along a jeep track.
Showing off my mid-race snack – some super-tasty chokolate custard baby food!
A rare mild downhill helping us regain our breath.
Approaching the second transition point, where we almost missed the water point as some confused official told us the water point for the solo runners were still further ahead.
The excellent route-marking made sure no-one could get lost.
Another scenic downhill amidst the blustery winds.
With the race happening earlier than in previous years, we passed lots of young livestock along the way.
Tiny specks of people on the opposite hill (with a huge valley in between).
An early river crossing, giving a taste of what was to come.
Up on the hill where we saw little specks of people earlier. Scary gale-force winds threatening to blow you off your feet.
The picturesque Maraetotata waterfall marking the start of our river-crossing section.
One of the few sections reminding us of our Tora experience from a few weeks back.
At least the muddy section was flat, helping you stay upright despite the slippery conditions underfoot.
One of many ankle deep crossings (or knee-deep, depending on your height!).
This looks idyllic, but the path underfoot was very slippery and we saw many spots where previous runners slipped off the path into the river.
A small makeshift ladder helping you get up the riverbank.
The “elbow-deep” river crossing coming up.
Wouna negotiating the best way down the riverbank. I cannot imagine how cold this marshall must have been, after standing in the river for who knows how long to help us poor runners across the water obstacle. (Photo: Supersport Images)
Co-o-o-o-l-d!!!! (Photo: Supersport Images)
Getting a bit more used to the cold, we were even able to smile for the very well-positioned photographer. (Photo: Supersport Images)
After the elbow-deep experience, mere ankle-deep crossings were a walk in the park.
I even tried running through the river every now and then.
Wouna finishing our final crossing before the last little stretch to the finish.
We ended on a short, flat tarred road section, which was most welcome after the preceding tough terrain.
Tired but happy – the end of a truly enjoyable run. (Photo: Supersport Images)
Our timing splits receipts – a great race innovation.
At the prize giving, where some amazing spot prizes were handed out. Not our day to win any, but still a great feeling to sit around with other contented finishers.
I don’t think anyone can blame us for feeling some trepidation in the days leading up to the Cape Kidnappers Challenge, a trail run on the Hawkes Bay coast near Hastings. This race came four weeks after the Tora Coastal Challenge – the mud bath we muddled through in early September. As with the Tora Challenge it was a 32km coastal trail run, taking place on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. As with the Tora the weather leading up to the event had been pretty dismal.
Given our Tora experience, battling through 32kms of mud for 6 hours, we weren’t exactly expecting a fun day out on the trails as we set off to Hastings the Friday before the race. It was a miserable day – cold, wet and windy – and Metservice had issued a severe weather warning for the entire Hawkes Bay area for gale force winds over the weekend. We were clearly in for crazy weather. We even briefly contemplated abandoning the event – weighing up the cost of not doing an event we already paid for, against the added costs of travelling the 150+ km from Palmy to Hastings, paying for overnight accommodation, and risk having the race cancelled and losing our entry fees anyway (the race had a no refund cancellation policy). Continue reading
All smiles at the start of the race: Johann and Nettie who joined us again for this event, moi and Gerry.
A large-ish field for a small town event.
Some super heroes also took part. I was trying to catch the “well endowed” banana, but he stayed a few hundred metres in front of us.
And away we go! The blue t-shirt worn by the lady in front of us is the official race t-shirt, kindly sponsored by Hatuma Lime.
Nettie and Johann in the first kilometre which is an out-and-back stretch to make up the distance for a 21.1km event.
Me at the second turn, finally about to head out on the open road.
A typical scene of me in three layers while the locals wear T’s and shorts.
The snow-capped mountains made for beautiful scenery (and a bit of a nip in the air).
Country ro-o-ads, take me h-o-o-ome!
A nice chap next to the road had beers on offer. Would have loved to just park there and share a couple of beers with him. Next time!
The transition and water points were usually a jollyfication with lots of supporters and team members cheering runners on.
Fly, fly away.
The last few kilometres are run in the streets of Waipukurau.
I recently read in Runner’s World magazine that a PB has an expire date … of about 3 years or so. And here I thought I could still claim my PB’s from when I was in my early thirties.
But I think most runners have an urge, or a longing to reach those goals that have always been eluding you. Whether it’s a 5km, 10km, half or full marathon (or whatever distance), there will always be a little voice in the back of your head wondering if you can still go faster. Even if you’re 15 years older and much weaker. And even though it hasn’t been a conscious decision for me to try and improve on my fastest 21.1km time, I have been hoping to still one day complete a marathon in under four hours. I have never really trained for it, and with 4 hours being a very reasonable target, I’m sure it’s still do-able. Continue reading