Date: 7 April 2018
Distance: 72km (we measured 76km)
Hundreds of headlamps snaking up the mountainside.
Forty-five hours after we finished the most gruelling event we’ve ever done, and I’m still at a loss for words. Not even a few glasses of the best kiwi wine could help get the creative juices flowing. So here I am, wondering what to make of it all and where to start.
When I first caught wind of this new event on the calendar, I was intrigued. Not just because circumnavigating the mountain in one go has been on our to-do list for the past seven years, but also because the acronym “rof” is actually a word in my home language that loosely translates to “rough”. I thought this was a very apt description for an event of this calibre, and it obviously sparked my interest. Continue reading
Date: 5 March
We were making our way up the hill towards the left.
Wellington already seems far below, while the wind was howling on the ridges.
At the top of Mt Kaukau with stunning 360 degree views.
And just as steep as the uphills were, so are the downhills.
A whole network of trails are scattered around the suburbs of Wellington.
Sheltered from the wind in the bush.
Beautiful scenery and lovely terrain for a run.
Back to a walk up another hill in Khandallah.
As seen from our accommodation: the tower on the horizon is where we passed the highest point.
On a work trip to Wellington on the weekend, we were hoping to fit in a semi-long-run of about 15km between work commitments. Our overnight accommodation was in Khandallah and we thought it a good idea to explore the area. Little did I know that a run in this suburb would involve a rather decent hill training session! Continue reading
Date: 6 February 2016
Nervously waiting for the start in anticipation of the day ahead.
Uhum, is that a slightly nervous face?
Although it was wet, the temperature was fairly warm in the early hours of the morning.
A misty rain covered the whole landscape.
The wide forestry roads helped to spread out the runners.
We looked somewhat despondent.
Deep in thought.
Finally reaching Blue Lake.
I should really try to go faster so that Gerry can get rid of his excess energy!
Trying my luck with crisps. It left no ill effects.
Encouraging signs scattered throughout the course.
Imagine having such a huge group of friends all participating. Must be a blast!
A short stretch on sealed roads.
A jingle-jolly water point before heading back into the forest for more muddy trails.
A big chunk of the trail looked like this.
The single track sections were trampled by all the runners.
Another mud slide.
Beautiful scenery despite challenging terrain.
Some seriously eroded downhills.
A marshall who made herself a little shelter to take cover from the rain.
Peace man! Another lovely water point.
Cool attire and more friendly helpers at the Peace water point.
At the Tarawera falls.
Soaked to the bone, cold and really sore at this point.
We made it!
Finally at the finish line.
Medals to boot.
All photos by us, except the ones containing the TUM logo which are courtesy of Photos4sale and TUM.
Standing at the start line of the Tarawera ultra, it still hadn’t dawned on me what I was about to do. For some strange reason, the whole event hadn’t registered with me at all. Maybe it was a way for my mind to cope with the fact that we were going to run 60km, not having done the hard yards in training? Whatever the case might be, my mind chose not to make it a reality. And were it not for the excruciatingly sore muscles the day after, I still wouldn’t have registered what happened the day before. Continue reading
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: 15 November 2014
The friendly helpers at one of the water points (at about 19 to go?) offered to take our pic.
Mist and blustery wind at the Miridian Energy wind farm.
Runners huddled up behind the bus.
Dave Franks explaining the route change.
A goat (?) skeleton in the deserted part of the country.
The new start in the road leading to Oteranga Bay.
Within the first kilometre we were in our usual position as the tail-end Charlies.
The start of the Mid Monty at Oteranga Bay.
Intense concentration to fight the gale force winds.
Tough going on the rocky terrain.
Gerry finding his way back to the “road” after being blown towards the sea.
With the strong tail wind we only needed to lift our feet and automatically be propelled forward.
Luckily the rain stayed away and the day turned out not as cold as anticipated.
Lots of time spent running in loose sand.
Rather technical terrain, especially with the wind shoving you along.
A few stream crossings. We could mostly get across dry-footed.
Friendly helpers at the most exposed water station offering bananas, Gu Brew, water and Coke.
A lighthouse out at sea.
More challenging terrain.
I was very grateful for the more solid surface of the 4×4 track underfoot.
There’s no use trying to run all the sandy parts.
And more sand.
Our scenery included distant views of snow capped mountains on the South Island.
Very tough terrain to try and run, especially for a slow-poke like myself.
Beautiful flowers lining the path to the next water point.
This water point had the privilege of a sheltered shed.
Making our way round the southern most tip of the North Island.
The sun came through turning the otherwise chilly and windy run into a warm affair.
Run bits, walk bits, you’ll get there.
How do you run this terrain?
Back in a residential area, but being a coastal challenge, we stuck to the beach rather than running along the easier sidewalk.
Some rock hopping.
With the various distance options, we encountered quite a few other participants along the way.
Nice scenery along the coast.
A detour on the sidewalk.
Looking back at the coast line we came along.
The finish at Queens Drive, about 500 metres short of Lyall Bay.
The Auckland North Shore Coastal Challenge has been a popular event on the Total Sport calendar for the past 13 years. Given its continued success, they decided to extend the event to a series (the Coastal Challenge Series), comprising the existing North Shore event as well as 2 new ones in Wellington and Tawharanui, respectively. Numerous distance options were available – the Full Monty (32km), Mid Monty (25km), Mini Monty (19km), Bay Scrambler (13km) and Beach Hopper (7km).
So this was yet another inaugural event for us, which is always exciting, but does mean that not a lot of info was available beforehand about the event. Total Sport described the series as a “run, walk, wade, scramble and rock-hop”, so we knew we were in for something special.