Tarawera 50km Race Report
The biggest attended event I have done to date, there are so many epic runners at Tarawera.
The morning started early as I had opted for the 7am wave. On arriving at the Events centre I meet some familiar faces ready to board the bus. Running buddy Steph was in the same wave so we jumped on the bus together. When we arrived at the boat departure spot there was still a big group of runners waiting to be taken to the start line. We waited a while then managed to score the jet boat for our trip across the lake! After a speedy trip including a jet boat spin we landed at the start line just in time to see Camille run through leading the miler event! Although different, I quite liked the casual start, just go when you are ready! I wished Steph luck and headed off, starting at 8:45am, about 45min later than I thought, I should have packed a banana to snack during the wait as I was getting a bit hungry.
The first 15km was lovely running, trail with lake views. There were some climbs but they were manageable. The trail was familiar as I had run the other direction in January. There were lots of miler runners coming the other direction which was neat and I passed a heap of people over this section which was a confidence boost. I felt a bit flat energy wise, so kept sipping my tailwind. The Buried Village aid station felt like it would never come, but when it did it was epic! So many people cheering, I felt like a celebrity. I refilled my fluids, put some sunscreen on, poured iced water down my back and grabbed some watermelon.
The next section was a stretch of road, it was hot but I chugged up it, just walking a little bit. Then there was a section that was so hot and flattish and did I mention hot! To be honest I wasn’t loving it. We ended up back on some trail with a huge flight of stairs. I got to the top then had to sit for a bit as waves of nausea came through, there were a couple of retch noises and a few swear words said in that little moment! I knew I had to get to the next aid station. 2km later I was at the Green Lake aid station where I sat in the shade and munched on watermelon, it tasted amazing! I shoved some in my pocket and carried on. The nausea had subsided and I fell into a rhythm of running and walking. It was a gradual uphill for quite a while so it was taking it out of me. At this stage I decided I’m definitely not doing my next event in March, I’m out, this running business is just awful! But still I plodded on.
It wasn’t too far to the next aid station and I felt ok going through this section, running when I could and walking the bits that were rough.
At the Tikitapu aid station I kept up the watermelon strategy, it was perfect, full of water and not too sweet! I wasn’t quite prepared for the stretch of forest road that came up next, so hot and barren. There were a couple ahead of me who I tried to keep up with which was a bit of fun and kept me focused.
After the long flat section I came up a hill to find Chloe from Zeenya waiting to cheer me on! It was awesome to see a friendly face and it really lifted my spirits. I was running with a girl from Chicago who had chased me down on the flat, the hills were killing her (thank you Welly hills for that training). The next little bit was quite nice running, a bit more trail. I caught up to the couple who were from Australia and not used to hills either! Then came an awesome descent into the Redwoods aid station, I loved that bit and ran pretty free which was awesome. Just as I came in to that aid station Courtney who was winning the 102km race whizzed past. I totally had a fan girl moment watching her at the aid station, full of focus with 5km to go! More watermelon for me and a bit of coke and I was just 5km from finishing which was such a good feeling. I definitely walk/shuffled that last 5km, especially when we got to the smelly and hot sulphur Death Valley! My goodness that was rough! Coming down the finish chute was amazing and there were friends and my brother all cheering me on. I was totally toasted but stoked to get in at 6hours and 57min. 19th in my age group and 186 out of 716 runners.
To be honest the heat really had a big impact on my day and it was hard to stay hydrated. I wasn’t prepared for as much flat, which sounds weird. It was quite different trail to Wellington, some of it reminded me off the Remutaka rail trail, but hotter, way hotter!
Next up is Triple Peaks on the 9th March, I changed my mind about half an hour after finishing. I am definitely going to give this ultra thing a bit of a break after March and let the body recover.
Thanks for having me Tarawera, it was a big day out and ultra number 3 ticked off my list.
Congratulations to everyone who ran over the weekend, those beautiful medals are well earned. A special congratulations to all the Life In Motion crew who were at the event, you guys are awesome