Why run the Tarawera Endurance 100 miles race?
Father, husband and runner, Steven Blackburn contemplates why?
What a question. Where to begin?
Why run at all? To push further? To transcend, to keep in shape, to challenge yourself, to be free, to escape, to belong? There are no right answers to these big questions, all of them are right. All of them are personal, all of them can only be answered by you.
Why run 100 miles?
In a way it’s an arbitrary number as much as 42.6 kilometers is.
And yet there is something captivating about it, something that says maybe that’s the pinnacle.
Although now you hear about 200 mile races… so maybe not. But 100 miles. 100. It says something.
If you’re a runner you have already thought about all this in those long dark hours when the noise echoes in the silence of the world…how far can I go? How far do I want to go? Why do I need this?
I started out running 5kms and have now run my first 100 miles at Tarawera this year. 5kms gave way to 10kms, then half marathons, then marathons, then the first ultra, then the 100km and then suddenly after years of reading about Western States, Hardrock, Leadville and UTMB, in our own backyard my favourite trails were setting us up for the possibility of racing (well running) 100 miles.
Could I do it? I had a small new baby and so many obligations, could Ido it? I had to try. And I did it. And it was brutal and hard and terrible and wonderful and made me trust my instincts and my body in a way I never have before. It brought my closer to my wife in a way I can’t articulate. I broke myself and remade myself so many times out there.
Running 100 miles…that choice is up to you. I can’t tell you what part of the challenge is going to get you to toe the line – you have to figure that out for yourself but here’s what i know: If you have run beyond 50km you can do this. If you want to push yourself to breaking point and seeing if you still stand then you can do this. The 100 miles is a very, very personal and honest race. There’s not much glory, there’s plenty of guts and almost too much introspection. It’s not a showy and gaudy achievement, it doesn’t shout from billboards – it doesn’t need to. It’s quiet, it’s at peace in you. It’s a stillness. You got this. And you got it under your own steam and through your own amazing body and sheer strength of will, stubborness.
It’s only by going to these depths and these edges and that we really truly know what we’re capable of (it’s more than you’ll ever imagine). So what are you waiting for? Step up and see.
Specifically why run the Tarawera 100?
It’s a stunningly beautiful iconic race. The trails pass through some of the most lush landscapes and the power of the people and history seeps into those trails. It’s a community that will carry you, and your competitors will encourage you every single step of the way however destroyed they are. In the silence of the 8 lakes and the crazy churning roar of Tarawera Falls you will find inspiration. As the glowworms light up the undergrowth, as you head through the night you will push further in your own personal race. You will overcome.
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