WUU2K 2019 62km d+2600
Three years after the inaugural event (original race report here https://larkyphoto.livejournal.com/113794.html) I've decided to tackle the same distance. This race something especial: organised by wonderful bunch of people, supported by a great bunch and in heart of the coolest little capital. No wonder the weather gods 4 years in a row deliver a stunning day in middle of the winter for all the runners to enjoy.
This year I'm not so fast as 3 yers ago and I plan my race accordingly. First of all get a pacer organised for the last 18km.
A bit of eye infection on the day before doesn't boost my confidence — but no turning back now. I print out the previous attempt split results and aim to be 5-10 minutes slower for each of them.
Race morning is always exciting, luckily the start venue is only 10 min drive from my place and thanks to Uber ($13nzd) I'm there on time.
It was great to see Matt and Blair on the start line, Blair looked fit as hell so I let him sprint from the start line.
This race is famous for it's brutal elevation profile.
The start at 6:30 is the same — from Khandalah pool up to my spiritual place Mt Kaukau — 250m up!
It is darker here than last time and the ground is wet from yesterday's rain. I decide to stay on the cautious side — my shoulder hasn't been that stable lately. I arrive to T1 at Makara South Road 5 minutes behind previous result and 5 minutes behind Blair — just as planned. Nice to say hi to Iain & Tiffany.
Climbing up zig-zags in Makara is relatively easy and here comes the sun for some epic views!
Then the endless Leaping Lizard followed by other MTB Bike Park tracks follow me to T2 at MTB Park Parking Site. Quick transition and off to Salvation.
This is where I've been passed by some of the shorter distance (42km!) runners. They started an hour later but didn't do the most of Makara Bike Park extras. It was great to see Andrew T running strong past me — he would finish a bit disappointed at 4th place, still a great effort.
I almost lost the trail at the Wrights Hill and then onto fence line where you have a nice excuse to walk the steep climbs. T3 at the Brooklyn Turbine feels like top of the world. It was great to see David&Anthea chasing some runners on the road bike light training ride!
Then onto Barking Emu following into Red Rocks. This is where I'm passed by a consistent and 1st female Fiona.
Great views opening from here — I'm keeping Oliver up to date with my pace. Now it's time to see the marshal at the top of Tip Track for the first time.
Red rocks is always been special to me — one of the favourite local tracks for running and mountain biking. The bottom part is quite rocky at the moment but still a great fun! I underestimated the next transition location so run out of water — had refill at the spring just at the bottom of the track. Tasted ok. Onto the coast road heading to Owhiro Bay where my loyal swedish-kiwi-awesome-pacer Oliver is waiting for me!
Apart from great company and keeping your morals high — pacer is a great opportunity to have a lot of photos. The first 2km flyby quickly until we reach Tip Track.
Going up is hard not only physically ( cramps are coming in) but physiologically as well — you see all these fast runner going down already. It was great to see Blair, Ange & Bruno out there.
Chatting all the way with Oliver and spraying the anti-cramp remedy. Thanks Oliver for reading the instructions and pointing out to spray 5 times x repeat after 15 seconds and not only 1-2 :)
Doesn't matter how fast or slo you are going the last 15-20km of the ultra are the toughest one. I was happy to stroll a bit faster going downhill form Tip Track and off to the Rainbow T5 — great atmosphere!
Ok, 10km form here and only slightly over 600m of elevation but every meter to climbs feels hard, going down not much easier. Thanks Oliver for keeping my brain entertained — it makes such a difference not concentrating on the misery and being distracted! And the photos...
Last T6 with only 5km to go and the final push. I was going to finish 45min slower than 3 years ago — as expected.
It was a very tough day but no regrets and want to do it again next year- may be as a pacer, or a relay 30km or as a volunteer?
Huge kudos to everyone involved — great people, great city, great atmosphere , great hills (?) = great running!