Date: 22 May 2016
On a chilly Sunday morning …
… a few friends embarked on a crazy adventure …
Bobbie and Graeme starting their first lap. [Photo supplied by Rachael]
Rob looking happy to start his first lap. [Photo supplied by Rachael]
Gerry, Pete and I on our first lap. [Photo supplied by Rachael]
Smiles all around, as if this would be a walk in the park. [Photo supplied by Rachael]
Sometimes the sun came through.
Our water point after 20 laps – we ransacked the table.
Cheeks still stuffed with food from our last stop.
Gerry in the wee redwood “forest”.
Rachael tending to supplies.
Our traffic management entailed cones at all road crossings.
Rob collecting cones afterwards, still with a spring in his step after 42kms.
Our lap counter and motivational board.
The 5 marathons team still smiling after our fourth event: me, Gerry, Graeme and Rob. [Photo by Rachael]
And just like that, it was winter. When Gerry and I woke up to get ourselves sorted and head over to Massey to do the set up for our run, it was three degrees Celcius. When we started at 8am, is was only five degrees and at the warmest point during the day, the temperature reached 13 degrees. As luck would have it, this day also marked the start of the first snowfall in our region. Continue reading
Date: 14 May 2016
Early morning with the sun just up over the sea.
The start banner up ahead and a sea of runners/walkers.
Wondering what is going to happen over the next five or so hours.
A lovely sunny day…
…with colourful streams of runners stretching out ahead and behind us.
Rob going strong.
Up on the first stop bank, being chased by Mr Farty-pants.
The stop bank went on for miles and miles.
There were quite a few spots where friends and family could support participants.
A percussion band made for some wonderful entertainment.
This little bridge bounced quite a bit – out of sync with your steps, which felt very weird.
Haven’t I seen this before somewhere? 😉
The halfway point and 21.1km start.
Gerry powering up one of the little hills.
The ‘pimped up’ Air New Zealand snack trolley.
Apple orchards all along the route.
A welcome sight after having no water points for a while.
Apple orchards …
And more apple orchards.
Some motivation on a shelter belt.
Yay! not far to go.
Finally the vineyards.
Extremely helpful volunteers – running backwards with me to fetch a jelly snake. Admittedly I might not have managed to get going again if I stopped at that point.
Running through the autumn vineyards provided a nice change of scenery.
What we thought was a water point, turned out to be a supporters area.
Passing a supporter areas, with Graeme’s family in the background.
Have I mentioned that I just love olive trees?
The end is in sight.
Great to finish in such a festive environment.
Happy to be finished!
Graeme just after he finished.
And Rob staggering in. 🙂
The 5-in-5-in-5 team: Graeme, Rob, me and Gerry.
Our third event in the five marathons challenge was snugly sandwiched between two full working days in Wellington. How’s that for luck. We left home before dawn on Friday morning, returning at around dusk, quickly unpacked camera equipment and repacked running gear, and dashed off to Napier to be in time for registration. Unfortunately, we were too late for the Expo. Continue reading
Date: 7 May 2016
Waiting for the race to start, with our usual mix of excitement and panic.
Some nasty little hills on the 2km loop through the paddocks at the start helped to quickly spread out competitors.
Meet Chris, in red behind me. We managed to stay within shouting distance from each other for the entire race.
Enjoying the early morning sun as we ran along the logging track.
Happiness is running through the trails on a crisp autumn day.
Slippery conditions early on when we could still spot some other participants.
Beautiful views over the Tongariro National Park.
Nothing like crossing a mountain stream to keep your feet fresh and frosty!
The downhills were great for making up time, but hammered our quads.
Some downhills definitely felt safer on foot than we would have felt on MTB’s.
Taking a cautious approach on one of the wider crossings.
What goes down usually goes up again, so after some major downhills it was back to slogging up some never-ending hills.
The rain of the preceding few days made for some very slippery downhills.
…and muddy uphills!
Despite all the mud, the stream crossings helped keep our shoes uncharacteristically clean.
It required concentration and fancy footwork to keep upright on some of the more slippery downs.
The aid stations were quite far apart, so after miles of non-stop climbing this was a very welcome sight.
Speeding through the stream to limit the time spent in the chilly water.
Whenever we saw these signs we knew there was some exciting obstacle ahead…
…in this case, another icy stream.
Some puddles could be avoided, even though I’m sure the speedy front-runners charged straight through.
Many parts of the route looked completely unfamiliar, including this bridge.
One of the official vehicles, transporting the bicycles of some unfortunate MTB participants.
Signage (including the familiar blue TotalSports ribbons) was excellent, and we never felt we might be on the wrong route.
Taking a photo-break about 3km from the finish. Thanks for offering to take the photo, Chris!
Our second event in the challenge turned out much better than I expected – great weather, good physical condition, and manageable terrain. After a not-so-nice experience at Rotorua, I feared that things can only get worse. I was still tired from the Rotorua marathon, and on top of everything I’ve picked up a couple of niggles. Continue reading
Date: 30 April 2016
Time: 5:05:07 (or as one friend suggested, our time was 4 hours and 65 minutes :-D)
At the start with lots and lots of participants all around.
Eagerly awaiting the cannon to fire.
The first incline as you run down along Rotorua’s main streets.
Making our way through the industrial area.
Early days, but still going strong, with Graeme.
Moving out of town, but still good support around.
Nearly a quarter done.
Lovely bagpipe music greeted us.
High-5’s all around.
Gerry enjoying the early morning sun.
Nearing the far side of the lake.
Halfway! I knew long before then already that I wasn’t going to make it in 5 hours.
Lots and lots of traffic on the stretch back to town.
Gerry speeding along to catch up after a pee-stop.
Worms-eye view – one of my gutter moments.
Event T’s and medals.
Celebratory drinks were immediately shared when we saw this. The perfect gift.
The Rotorua Marathon in conjunction with Athletics New Zealand ran a leap year competition where, if you entered for the marathon on 29 February, with a mate, you stood a chance of winning back both entries, and also receive a goodie bag from Asics (containing a technical T-shirt, socks, a cap and a backpack). We were going to enter anyway, so Gerry grabbed the opportunity to enter us into the competition, and we won! It was fantastic news, as our stint of 5 marathons in 5 weeks (starting with the Rotorua marathon) was turning out to be quite a costly affair for two people from the same household. Very chuffed with our entries and a gift pack from Asics to boot, we were eagerly looking forward to the marathon. Continue reading
Date: 10 April
The marathon runners and walkers have started already. Next up are the half marathon guys and girls.
Walking to the start a few hundred metres from the race HQ. A colourful stream of participants ahead of us.
Gerry, Wouna and Cheryl at the start.
And a fairly long stream of runners behind us as well.
And away we go!
The first water point.
Cheryl, and me still in longs as the overcast morning chill started making way for a warm sunny day.
Fun signage for our entertainment.
Even some music at this water point.
Always great to run with no traffic worries.
Gerry going strong.
Lots if these bright mushrooms all around the forest.
A typical scene at this event.
Some muddy patches here and there.
About halfway at the Manawatu River.
A welcome water point in a clearing in the forest.
Lovely and warm in the open patches.
Signs of industrial activity.
The 10km participants linking up with the 21km course in the last few kilometres.
Some more entertainment at the start of the only “hill” on the course.
Happy at the finish, with Powerade, an apple and medals. It was the nicest, most welcome apple I’ve had in years.
A cute sign to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this great event.
Catching up with some mates at prize-giving.
The Neva Bean clan from Whanganui.
Each year thousands of participants make the trek to the Matariki forest at Waitarere Beach near Levin. And why won’t you if you live only a stone throw away? The Great Forest Events chose their name wisely. It remains a great event; with lots of participants, great atmosphere, good organisation and medals to boot. Continue reading