Finishers of all six Tarawera distances
42.2 | 50 | 62 | 87 | 102 | 160km
The now no more Kaweka Challenge was my first foray in the trail running scene back in 2006. Two mates and I rocked up to the event thinking we’d give it a go, having done minimal prep on what the ‘challenge’ part of this Kaweka event was. Little did I know was the next days 28km event would lay the foundation for doing events that have an endurance angle and hurt … a lot! We went on to do 5 years earning a Kaweka glass as reward.
After Kaweka I dove into the Tarawera events. What a rush … the multiple options and yearly target races made for yearly planning and budgeting with the family around our trips to Rotorua for the events from 2012-2016. The breakdown is below:
2012 – 85km: Went for this event because it was double the distance of my last long run. Finished it and wanted more!
2013 – 100km (DNF) – Fire Course: Crashed and burned literally on the fire course and DNF’d. Not sure what happened but I do remember surprising my wife at the finish line by turning up in a car rather than running down the finishing chute!
2014 – 74km – Cyclone Course: After the DNF, training, nutrition got real and the Cyclone course was great. Partly redeemed myself after the mess of 2013.
2015 – 100km Ultra / 50km Trail: 2015 was the double banger. Finally grabbed my 100km medal, finishing the race with my kids running with me over the last 100m. Fully redeemed and content! The Tarawera 50km emerged later in 2015 which was finished in a fog of running colly-wobbles and faceplants.
2016 – 62km Ultra / 42km Marathon: 2016 was another double banger and to be fair I was probably struggling with getting into the training mode now the 100km was completed. Both races this year were knocked off and my Tarawera retirement was pretty much complete.
2017 – Crew member & Volunteer: In the spirit of Tarawera Ultra and Ultra’s in general, my wife (Bianca) and I signed up to support runners in the medical tent in Kawerau after having crewed for my mother in law who knocked off her first ultra!
2018 – 162km Miler: There had been rumours of a Miler emerging and it duly arrived in 2018. The retirement was over and the running coach was engaged to get the structure in place. Happy to have got to the start line fit and firing. Months of training meant there was a solid base with a familiarity with the heat (running around Eskdale MTB park with no water mid-summer – not intentionally!) and cold/wet/ windy places (running around the Tararua’s hut bagging). Just over 28 hours on the trails with family (Bianca), mates (Tom, Ross) and pacers (DG, Mike) who guided me through the quagmires, ripped up trails and mountain bike trails (frontal lobotomy is an appropriate name for a trail we have to run up 140km into a race!).
Can easily say I’m hooked on the big stuff but am content for now … but still looking for what’s next. Thanks Tim and Paul for the events – it’s been simply fantastic!