Some time ago, we dreamed up the 5-in-5-in-5 Challenge as a way to keep us motivated and out of trouble. In a nutshell, the challenge involves running five full marathons over 5 consecutive weekends (from 30 April to 29 May) in less than 5 hours each. But there’s more… Since the fourth weekend of the challenge period is totally devoid of any running events in New Zealand even approaching the marathon distance, our challenge also means we will have to stage our own marathon in order to complete the challenge. We considered various options, including running the route of one of the existing marathons in our region, but in the end, to simplify issues such as hydration and nutrition during an unsupported long run, we came up with an alternative solution.
And so, ladies and gents, we are happy to introduce a brand new fun marathon scheduled for 22 May – The Lords of the Ring: Massey 21 Marathon. This circuit marathon will comprise 21 counter-clockwise loops of the walkway hugging the Massey University Campus Ring Road – a circuit we measured to be a bit under 2km (1980m to be exact) in length. That brings us to a total distance of 41.58km, so to make up the 615m to the official marathon distance of 42.195km, the route will start with a little extra loop out to the Bledisloe car park, around to the main Massey entrance and back to the Ring Road.
With the course being a 2km circuit, participants simply have to arrange nutrition at a single support point en route (e.g. left in your car next to the road), which can then be easily accessed on each loop. Along the circuit there are also a number of taps providing potable water, so basic hydration is sorted. Any specialist hydration needs can be left at your support point. The Massey Ring Road does not have any public toilets along the route, but a small detour gets you to the Campus cafeteria which has ample ablutions available.
To keep things simple and minimise traffic management requirements, we are keeping the Lords of the Ring Marathon unofficial this year (despite it being a proper, correctly measured marathon, with official go-ahead from Massey). While we will be sharing information about the event, and would love others taking part, we are not anticipating loads of people doing the full circuit marathon with us. Being a circuit course, however, we are hoping a fair few of our fellow runner friends will join in on the day and come do a few loops of the race as a social outing or even as a final training session for the official Palmerston North marathon the week after.
For those who do the whole marathon, thus becoming Lords (or Ladies) of the Ring, we promise to have a unique finishers medal on hand.
Hope to see you there!