Eve's Tarawera 50km Race Report 2020
Going into this race I was actually pretty relaxed. I had run the same event last year, although on a different course. So I knew I could do it and it was a lot flatter than the trail we have in Wellington. Also I had been running ok in the lead up, not doing huge k’s each week but getting out a few times and doing half marathons a couple of times a month. My strength and stability work had also stepped up a notch and I was feeling run strong. I knew the key to a good race was to manage my hydration, something I learnt the hard way a couple of months earlier at the Queenstown Marathon.
The morning of the race it was cooler than the previous day and there had been some overnight rain. Perfect running conditions! We started at Te Puia which is an amazing place where you are right next to all the geothermal activity. There were a lot of people at the start line and I was quite near the back when the race started. There was not really anywhere for the crowd to thin out to and we squished our way on the pathway for the first few k’s. There was quite a bit of congestion when we hit the trail too but I managed to tuck in behind a guy that was weaving his way through the crowd. I found the gradient was ok to run but there were a lot of people walking so it made it quite tough to get through. I missed out on being able to run some of the single track downhill because of the crowds, which made me a bit sad! I guess the Welly hills really give you the confidence to run up and down on the single trail. The pack thinned out after about 11km, which is a long time! All through the race there were always about 5-10 people around me, so a very busy day out.
I felt good early on and made sure I was sipping my Tailwind regularly from the first km. The first aid station arrived at 14km. I felt fine to just top up my water and tailwind and run on. Over the next little stretch I ran comfortably, it was heating up but there was quite a bit of shade which was lovely. I saw lots of Zeenya out on the course and chatted with as many as I could, I found that really cool!
I ran into Mark from Tailwind and his run crew at the aid station before our out and back loop. We talked some shit and had a bit of a laugh and then they set off before me. I topped up my fluids and settled in for the out and back. It was quite neat to see the runners coming back the other way at this point. The loop went ok, we ran it the other direction last year and it was definitely an easier direction this year. I caught up to Mark and his crew a couple of k’s before the loop aid station, again more shit talk and some laughs.
I was still feeling pretty good and running quite a bit. I had included some roasted potatoes in my nutrition plan, so I was having a small piece every hour, along with remembering to sip my tailwind and water. I felt like I finally had my nutrition and hydration sorted!
There were some fun little trail sections and lots of forest roads in the race but the bit I was really looking forward to was the redwoods towards the end so I could bolt (as much as possible on tired legs) down the single track! The rest of the race sort of ticked by, I ran as much as I could and walked when I couldn't. The ice buckets at the aid stations were amazing and in the final two aid stations I grabbed some watermelon and orange slices, which were so delicious!
Coming down the redwoods was fun, I just yelled out on your right and scooted past people, this time another runner tucked in behind me as I cleared the way. I love that sort of trail and it did not disappoint! The course popped us out early from the redwoods and along the road a bit to the final aid station. With about 6km to go I knew I was going to be able to finish the race. I was not looking forward to the last little section as it is very flat and mostly road….plus you have to go through the sulphur flats! But I kept moving forward and finally the finish line came into view. My kids and brother were there to run the last little bit with me and I could hear all the LIM crew and my parents cheering from the side of the finishers shoot.
Overall it was a pretty sweet run. I finished a little quicker than last year and my watch had the distance as a few k’s longer so a great result. Plus I totally nailed my hydration thanks to Tailwind, it’s bloody brilliant when you actually use it properly (unlike in QT when I failed to drink pretty much anything and spewed for the final 12km of the race).
I am definitely going to keep up my strength and mobility training as ease back on the distance a bit to enjoy some Xterra runs with our Run Club in the coming months.
I’m not sure when I will be back to run Tarawera again, maybe in a couple of years to chase that 102km distance…...
Congratulations to everyone who made it to the start line at Tarawera, regardless of how your race went you are all amazing!