Triple Peaks Race Report
With Tarawera 50km fresh in my mind I was nervous about doing Triple Peaks 55km Ultra. My body was still pretty sore and I hadn’t done much running at all since that event 4 weeks earlier.
But I was ready to tackle the course, how hard could it be right! There were a group of us from Wellington doing the ultra-event so it was great to see everyone at the start line, it’s always a fun atmosphere, with nervous energy all around.
The run started with a few k’s along the roads, winding us up hill to the start of the farm track. It was nice to get off the road although running on the paddocks and farm tracks was quite tough going, with lumpy grass, thin single trail and a gradual up most of the way. This part of the course carried on for a while and then we were taken up a very steep climb to the top of Mt Erin. There were some mountain bikers having enormous difficulty trying to get their bikes up this section, I felt so sorry for them! Once we got to the top we were greeted by bagpipes and spectacular views. Yay, 1 peak done! We then headed down from Mt Erin to the river crossing, this was a very steep downhill section and my quads were really feeling it as well as a stitch in my side. I took my time and picked my way down the lumpy hill.
The Tukituki river crossing was next and it was so much fun! It was quite wide and came up to my knees, the water was cool and refreshing. On the other side of the river was the transition point, where we would cross back through after the next climb. I came in to see Kat who was supporting all the LIM crew. We had a quick chat and then I was on my way to the second peak. There was a 5km gentle uphill road section up next to get to the base of Mt Kahuranaki, I was quite happy this was going to be downhill on the way back to the river!
Then we hit the base of Kahuranaki and it looked so daunting! There were lead mountain bikers screaming down the tracks and I even got to see the lead male runners whizz past. This was a long slog up, about 5km and hard going, I ran/walked with a guy called Simon and we chatted about other runs and work to pass the time. I left him with about 1km to go to the top and was welcomed to the trig with Def Leppard blaring from big speakers. I was starting to hurt all over at this point, there had been a lot of climbing in the first half of the run. The downhill from the summit was shorter than the up and fast, I actually quite liked it and it felt good to be running again after such a long slog up. I moved as quickly as I could along the road section back to the river transition. I was greeted again by Kat and Rose another LIM runner was there! I took advantage of a seat to tape the bottom of my feet as I felt blisters forming. I also had watermelon and stashed some in my pack for later.
Right, one more peak to go! I headed back through the river, which was lovely and cool again. What followed was a long section along the side of the river and along the road. It was hard going and everything was hurting. I was starting to get sick of holding my arms at my sides, but there is nothing else you can do with them when running really. I actually just wanted to lie down, but I knew that would be then end of my run if I stopped now.
After the road we went back into farmland and started what I thought was the climb up Te Mata peak……it wasn’t! It was just a really steep track and what followed was a long gentle run down to the base of Te Mata, which meant the only way was up. I knew Te Mata had a narrow steep climb but this was something else. I looked up from the bottom and I saw tiny people still climbing right at the top, it was an insane zig zag up. Once at the top I looked back and saw the other 2 peaks I had already been up, they looked so far away! The down from Te Mata was so much fun, after a bit of road we were put onto a mountain bike track and it felt more like the tracks we have back in Wellington, I ran pretty freely which felt awesome.
The final little stretch along the streets was a bit of concrete torture, but within 2k’s the end was in sight. I saw my kids waiting for me and I was so happy to cross over the finish line and punch in my time tracker for the last time. 8 hours and 25min, 7th woman in my age group and 17th woman home.
I am hanging up my ultra-shoes for a while now, my body needs a rest and I want to get back on the trails for some shorter adventures with the Life In Motion crew. I have finished 4 ultras and all with quite different experiences, I have seen some amazing parts of New Zealand too and there are still plenty more trails to be run……maybe just not all day!