Fresh as morning daisies we were ready to start the tramp: Nettie, Gerry, myself and Johann.
Crossing the Waiau River at the start at Rainbow Reach.
The beautiful clear water of the river is mesmerising.
Enormous fungus growing on a beech tree.
Lush green forest for the first day’s hike. The shade from the blazing sun was most welcome.
Lunch at one of the small beaches of Lake Te Anau. That’s the life!
Yep, we’re definitely lost. The highway we’re currently on, surely cannot be the right path…
Johann bending trees. From now on we’ll just call him Chuck Norris!
First things first – mozzie repellent has to be applied quick smart!
With the tents pitched, it’s time for a tipple by the fire on Xmas eve.
I just love a little camp fire. Contrary to common wisdom, smokey fires don’t really deter sandflies.
Brand spanking new stove that Johann is trying out for the first time.
With suspicion (and trepidation?) the engineer looks at his new stove.
Spending Xmas eve next to a lake with good friends.
A few years ago, Gerry and I did a similar stint: we ran the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, rested a day, then started walking the route again with my sister and her family the day after. I guess there is something zen-like about doing the same route over and over, especially in such a short timeframe.
After our one-day run of the Kepler Track two days before, we again started walking it with family after one rest day. This time with Johann and Nettie. Admittedly I was quite knackered after the 60km track, but the fall on top of the mountain probably made up for the biggest part of my muscle soreness. The 50 shades of green-yellow-purple egg on my arm was still prominent, very sore and always in the way. I kept on bumping it against everything.
Date: 22 December 2014
Distance: 60km (some sources give it as 67km – I would love that to be the case!)
At the Kepter Track car park, rearing to go, and with our smiles perhaps hiding a bit of panic about what lay ahead.
The early morning sun rising over the lake.
The lush green surroundings in the still flattish section next to Lake Te Anau.
About two-thids up the mountain you pass the limestone bluff.
Just out of the treeline, shortly after 8:00 in the morning.
Tussock on the mountain with the small town of Te Anau far in a distance.
A fairly easy section of a couple of kilometres before you reach the hut.
Luxmore hut where we stopped for warm clothing, filled up water bottles and empty bladders.
Still feeling strong despite a cold wind.
Some rough terrain makes the going slow.
These avalanche sections and slips are quite scary.
When running/walking on the spine of the mountains, the drop to either side is rather steep.
Despite it being overcast, we still go lovely views.
On top of the world!
Gerry taking a breather and quenching his thirst.
The little path on the ridge stretches for miles and miles.
These mountain-top sections are quite exposed, but breathtakingly beautiful.
Mountain running at its finest.
It is amazing to experience sweaty heat, cold and snow all in one day’s outing.
We spotted this kea at one of the shelters on the mountain. Beautiful birds, but quite a menace.
Nearing the end of the section above the tree line.
Assessing the damage after my fall. The “egg” started to wobble when running so I wrapped it up with a Buff.
A huge slip down a valley made for difficult conditions underfoot.
Back in the luscious green forest.
Following the Iris Burn.
One of the many little bridges on the way, ensuring we could go through the run with dry feet.
Iris Burn hut was already far behind us when we ran through a bog.
A little stream crossing.
When you start seeing monsters, you know you need more hydration!
Beech tree forest to shelter us from the relentless sun.
I was clearly not dressed in the right colours for a scorchingly hot, sunny December day.
Some welcome shade back in the forest.
Crossing the wetland.
And a tricky swing bridge.
Back onto the path next to the Waiau River.
Not far to go now, but we were both quite knackered.
Happy and relieved to have made our unsupported traverse without any major problems.
4 days after the fall. Still quite swollen and rather sore.
4 days after the fall. 50 shades of green-purple-yellow.
6 days after the fall. Blood filled my sweat glands to cause the “spotty” look?
10 days after the fall. Still quite sore, but starting to look better.
Things don’t always go according to plan. But sometimes they do. This self-supported run had a bit of both.
We were booked to hike the Kepler Track, a 60km circular route, over Xmas with family. And so I thought to myself, why not run it a couple of days prior to the hike? Luckily it didn’t take much convincing to get Gerry on board as we thought it would make for a great last long run before the Tarawera, and we needed to test our hydration and fuelling needs for these kinds of events anyway.
Date: 13 December 2014
Johann, myself and Gerry shortly before the start of the marathon.
A smallish field gather for the briefing.
The early morning sun on the river within the first kilometre.
An out-and-back section next to the river in the park.
Johann and Gerry on lap one.
Crossing bridges – that’s what it’s all about.
A little off-road downhill to pass under a bridge.
Three runners, all three entered for the Tarawera (including the photographer).
Some nice artwork en route.
Self-portrait. A beautiful reflective sculpture of the river.
More artwork. Love these pencils!
Gerry going strong.
Johann all smiles a few hundred metres in front of us on the out-and-back stretch.
One of the water points.
Entertaining signage along the way.
Gerry at another drink station with some Striders in the back.
Had to get another shot of these. We didn’t pass them four times for nothing! 😉
Tired and sore only two weeks after our previous marathon.
Johann and me with a mouth full of jelly babies.
Trying to encourage each other, we caught up with another slower runner in the last few kilometres.
Johann and Gerry only about 4km before the finish.
Approaching the runway for landing. It came just in time.
All done and happy to reach another milestone.
I always find it amusing how people with the same goals in mind, tend to gravitate towards each other. Years ago, 2008, Gerry and I entered for the Cape Odyssey event as a team. It was a 5 day staged race over roughly 220km for teams of two people. (The event unfortunately had a short lifespan of only two years before it was cancelled.)
During our built up for this mammoth task, we entered a lot of other events of various distances all over the country. It’s always infinitely easier to cover long distances when you know there are other runners and everybody is going through the same effort and sometimes pain, plus you get support in the form of aid stations. The company on the road and getting to meet and chat to likeminded folk, sharing experiences and swopping tips and tricks, makes it all the more worthwhile. We’ve met so many wonderful people who became great friends afterwards. Continue reading
Date: 30 November 2014
The two of us with Michael, who completed his 522nd marathon at this event.
The rather small field shortly before the start.
And away we fly!
In the streets of Upper Hutt.
HHH signage on the sidewalk.
The course took in some interesting urban features.
Water station #3.
It takes all sorts: a Kiwi doing his 178th, an ex-Saffer on 20 and a visiting Brit completing his second marathon.
A lovely little off road stretch next to the Hutt River.
Gerry making the most of the trail.
Enjoying the off-road stretch away from traffic.
Gerry still going strong at about the 19km mark.
For a city marathon, the race included quite a diverse range of scenery.
My favourite outfit!
High-fives all round.
Out of town into the farming area.
Having a laugh with other amazing runners – Mel being on 117 marathons.
We may be the rookies in this field, but we had loads of fun.
Another great outfit in the spirit of Michael’s trade-mark speedo.
Running into Michael on our way back for a quick hug.
Next to the river coming back.
More HHH signage both ways.
Look for trains!
Water station #1 (also the last one on the way back).
Only a few more metres.
The finish between the two cones, right where we started.
Gerry and I were both lucky draw winners!
A great idea to use recycled medals from the Dunedin marathon. 🙂
List of participants in the early start.
List of participants in the medium paced group.
The list of fast runners.
The Flying Pink marathon is the brainchild of Michael Stewart – the man who’s done the most marathons in the Southern Hemisphere.
After running into Michael at the Rotorua marathon earlier this year, I was curious to hear his story. His characteristic pink speedo and the sheepskin padding on his backpack is hard to miss. I’m sure there’s not a runner in NZ who doesn’t know of his achievements, but to me, he was (and still is, to a certain extent) a stranger. All I overheard in a short conversation with a fellow runner coming past, was that the Rotorua was his 515th or some such number marathon. I thought my hearing must have failed me during this bit of accidental eavesdropping as I could not believe that anyone could have achieved such a feat!