A great first race at the Mighty Hunua ranges.
It was a return to Hunua for some, for others it was an initiation into the massive hills and technical terrain that characterise this forest.
Our group of 7 (Hale, King, Thom, Belcher, Davidson and Mike and Alan Lichtwark) competed amongst some 650 others. We brave men all took on the superlong course – 22km. A brief course summary would be 11k undulating MTB tracks, 2k uphill (15% gradient) 6k technical trail with devastating up and down, 3km downhill bomb. Young Mike Lichtwark took off with the front runners, followed by Hale and our latest member Ron King. These early undulating trails proved to really push the heart rate from the very start. Mike Lichtwark pulled ahead and Hale lost touch with King. Further back, Sam Thom edged away from Charles Belcher.
But the Hunua is a long long race where everybody hurts, sometime. Come 2/3 of the way through the gnarly Pukapuka track and the wily King had caught a fading Lichtwark. Hale had been caught, then pulled in front of Sam Thom and was now running with Lichtwark the senior – these changes in position due to the foolish mistake of losing the trail and running off the course for 9 minutes. Belcher too had caught Thom, only to again lose touch with man who sings Justin Beiber (surely an underhand attempt to put off all other competitors??) The authors feels it important to share the unanimous feeling amongst competitors of real struggle and pain that was experienced in the later stages of this race – it was a meaty meaty course.
In the wash-up, Ron King ran a perfectly paced effort to finish 4th – a fantastic effort on his first Xterra offroad run. Mikey Licht was next in 7th place, then Richard Davidson in 9th. Big cheers for Alan Lichtwark taking out the Vet section too. Full results below. All competitors surely deserve much kudos for battling what is the hardest course in the series. Bring on race number 2 – Riverhead on Sunday the 13 June!
Place Number Name Time
4 214 Ron King 2:16:07
7 1037 Mike Lichtwark 2:22:40
9 1019 Richard Davidson 2:31:08
13 215 Mike Hale 2:38:33
14 217 Sam Thom 2:41:36
1 53 Alan Lichtwark 2:41:50
23 219 Charles Belcher 2:52:53