2016 Tarawera Ultra, nearly but not quite

Revrun reports

Buildup: B+

Very happy with how my late spring / early summer went. I had two races (SkyRockNRun and Westcoaster) of around 5hrs with lots of climb in November and December. I was consistent, managing to get my 60-70k per week in around my other priorities. Then in January I ramped up the climbing further and got some great trail runs and hikes in. Only thing really lacking was a couple of runs around the 50k mark. I think having one that finished with some gradual road climbs would be good specific prep for this race.

Pre race prep, physical: A

Got down the day before. Hydrated and carbo-loaded well. Noticed that I was really tight in my hips so foam rolled them to bits the night before. Had all my crew instructions ready to go and got to bed just after 10.

Pre race prep, mental: D

I was fit, in probably the best shape I ever have been for this race. And so my goal was a small PB – 15 mins. Very reasonable. However, I had not dug the motivation deeper than that. This is a race I have loved. But still it is an event where experincing discomfort is certain, and suffering and misery are likely. Therefore, having a single time goal is a very vulnerable motivation. A breadth of goals is what is needed e.g. Run my best race on the day, come top x in my category. Push through the pain to finish strong. Never give up, stay positive, keep moving.  This is Racing 101, so big points off for this lapse in preparation

Race execution: C

Ron, Caleb and I met at the start and ran together as planned. We actually started a bit further back than ideal but made up by catching plenty on the first 5k. In retrospect, I pushed a little hard on some of the first leg single track in aid of getting to a pace that felt most efficient. Lesson: Start further up. If caught back, bide time and protect legs and await some firetrail to get into position.
Interestingly my heart rate (HR) was a bit high for the first leg. Not sure why, I felt fine. Still thinking on it. Came right by Leg 2 to Okataina.
The trip to Okataina is the most familiar part of the course, and I was happy with our progress here. The effort felt manageable and the HR came back to expected. We came to the Okataina aid station in 4:09:05, just 4 minutes down on my predicted splits for a 10:45 finish.
The third leg to Tarawera Falls was hard. We ended up doing it about 10 minutes slower than expected, but the body felt like we had being pushing hard, not taking it easy. This is still a bit of a puzzle. With the rainy conditions, I thought we would have an easier time (less effort shifting heat), but perhaps the mud made our legs work just that much harder that they fatigued sooner. I had great grip in my X-Talons, but was very glad to swap them out for road shoes at the Falls.
As mentioned in Ron’s report, our three man team collectively stepped off the gas at the Tarawera Falls. I saw we were about 15 mins down on time needed to make goal of 10:45, and not feeling nearly as fresh as expected/desired. That felt like there was no chance of hitting the target (huge mental mistake – counting your current state  of wearyness/energy/misery as if it is fixed, when actually you can recover). In actual fact, we were in the top 35 at this point (but unaware) as everyone was behind schedule! We transitioned from pulling each other along, to happily going at the lowest common speed – i.e. whoever was slowest set the pace. Toilet stops, walking breaks, we all took them together.
It was nice to have company, but if I am honest, it was real hard going. I have had more fun pushing myself hard in this section, drawing everything out of my fatigued body. I was downcast at missing my goal, and Caleb wasn’t having a happy time either. Ron seemed content, and we all trudged in slow silence. The quiet company of three was no match for the motivational force of an engaged pacer (or a competitive/positive mindset). No complaints from me, I was very glad to have the boys to run with and wait with – but just a reflection that I wanted to share as a lesson.
On the way to Awaroa after Titoki I noticed my pee had gone from yellow – dark yellow – brown. I started to drink more, but was feeling fine so not particularly bothered by this. Then just as we left the Awaroa aid station (83k) I noticed that it was brown and red. Oh. Not good. I won’t go into the difference between myoglobinuria (extremely bad) and exercise associated haematuria (maybe bad, maybe benign), but I knew that my kidneys were likely stressed regardless. This left me quite stressed. Ron gave me the good advice to go back to the aid and slam some fluids. I did this, asked if there was any medical person there (no, they had just left) and filled both my bottles. I made the decision to run it to Fisherman’s bridge 8.5k away. Dad would be there, which meant an objective opinion, and potential evacuation in his car if necessary.TUM_2016_Bluelake
Ron and Caleb had waited for me (much appreciated) and we picked up the pace and ran down the hills. I now had motivation to get there quickly and was moving the fastest I had in a couple of hours, with little change in effort. Amazing how perspective change can impact your performance. We got to Fisherman’s Bridge and I was very relieved. I took a couple of minutes to check my urine and think and discuss with Dad what to do. I decided to take the safe option and pull out there at the aid station. I sent the guys who were now quite wet and cold from waiting for me onward and I spoke to the race medical team who concurred (nice medical word eh?) with my decision. An hour later in the med tent at the finish I had put on 1.3 kilos (i.e. over-hydrated) and shortly after this I was peeing clear again. The kidneys had bounced back from the hydration and I was fine. In retrospect I can see that I had rehydrated sufficiently (actually too much hypo-isotonic fluid – hence the weight gain) and would have made it to the finish OK. However, I wasn’t to know that at Fisherman’s Bridge and so while very disappointed not to finish, I am reassured that I made the sensible call on the day. Better to live to fight another day then die trying to prove you’re a hero.
So, another year at this excellent event, but definitely not my best or my favourite performance. Some great results from the MEC though, and I will live it to those chaps to tell you the story for themselves. See you soon on the trails.

Onehunga Half Marathon 2015

Gonna try something a bit different here – a wiki-report. I have uploaded some pics and stats and now I invite you, the MEC team to give us your story in the comments section.

A perfect day. Still, sunny and cold. Ideal for racing on the fast, flat waterfront course of the Onehunga Half Marathon.

The MEC was well represented with a crew of eight runners (plus a few mates as well) taking part.

Sam Thom took first place in 1:19:29 with Caleb Pearson completing the MEC quinella in 1:19:51.


Personal Bests:

Sam Thom: 1:19:29

Caleb Pearson 1:19:51

Michael Hale 1:22:16

Brent Kelly 1:23:19

Evan Atkinson 1:38:44

Westcoaster 2014 – Report from the Rev

Back to one of my faves. Love this race, the hills, the windy single-track, the river, the dunes, the ocean. This race has been very successful for me over the years and this time I had my sights set on Reece’s 2011 CR (4:45) and a win. I knew I was in better shape than last year so why not go for gold?IMG_1091

Thom, Dave and I ventured out for this year’s Westcoaster marathon, with James having a crack at the half marathon (his first). The wind was gusty from the West, with the odd shower coming through – moderate temps made for a much more pleasant running experience than last year’s race.

The only time I was in front of Andrius

The start was relaxed and it was easy to get to the front. I didn’t notice any familiar faces. A lithe runner who looked decidedly European took off as we went up toward Razorback ridge. A few others trotted past me as I was content with my early pace which held me in 5th. Onto the ridge I marvelled at the view and found the others came back to me on the downhills. All except ‘the foreigner’. He was off and gone. You knock off a good 600m of climb in that first 12k section, and most of that in the first 8k. I rolled into aid station number 1 in 3rd equal. 1 min behind 2nd and 8 minutes behind 1st. That was that then. I was in a race for 2nd place.

Leg 2 is the beautiful coastal single track of Te Henga Trail. A real delight to run. It wasn’t yet hot and I enjoyed my pace through the rolling hills between Oneill’s Bay and Constable Rd. I marched up the stairs to the second aid station and caught the 2nd place chap (who was in a team) at the top. A quick refill of the bottles from supporter Stu and I was away. Time deficit now 15 minutes to the front.

Up the mean stairs to Constable
Up the mean stairs to Constable

The order of the next leg had been switched from previous years. I have to say I enjoyed it. It meant for more room to pass the 21 and 30k runners on the way up to Horseman Rd aid. I kept running as much of that hill as I could 0 a strategy that I used this race – less hike, more baby-step running. It served me well.

Wet feet
Wet feet

It was a great downhill bomb from Horseman Rd to the Mokoroa Falls. I think I hit faster than 3min k pace at times. The toes were hurting but I was grinning. Then down the river I went, loving the criss-cross canyoning and relishing in the cool of the river. One helpful chap found a big hole right where I was about to walk across. As he floundered about and asked for a rescue, I thanked him for his discovery from which I benefited. I pulled him out and moved along quick.

Race winner: Andrius Ramonas from Lithuania (very fast!)
Race winner: Andrius Ramonas from Lithuania (very fast!)

Up onto Constable Rd and back to the Aid station marked the end of Leg 3. I had just done my best split for this section ever and I was feeling pretty good for the leg home back over Te Henga. I topped up my water supply, and charged down the stairs toward the Tasman sea. Glorious.

Things got a wee bit hard here, but nothing bad. Just the fatigue in the legs meant a bit more slow hiking than I would have liked, but I kept pacing. I had plenty of water to avoid last year’s dehydration/overheating fiasco. I noticed that the course was going to be long at about the 36k point.  It was clear then that this would be at least 44k on my watch. And with the new finish across the dunes, those extra km would be juicy.

I counted the big hills down, made my way into O’neills and then around the last climb to Bethells. Aha! No disaster for me. Up the river and over the dunes. I caught James sneaking a quick break in the 21k and told him to start running with me. My PB was 4:51 and it was going to be close. I picked it up for those last flat kms and made it home in 4:50:33. My best time, on a course that was somewhere around 1 mile longer than previous. I reflected on a successful day – A race plan that was spot on for my fitness – and executed to within the minute. Happy with that.

I refuelled, caught up with the winner (Andrius Ramonas who absolutely SMASHED it in 4:15) and cheered on the boys as they did MEC proud. Dave and Thom crossing together in 6:02 for top 20, and James in 2:45 for top 20 in the half too. Such a privilege to push yourself with the support of an amazing crew (Dad) and knowing you’re doing it with your great mates. Bliss.

PS Andrius has been in NZ for just a month and this is his second big trail run win. Watch out for him.

All photos – Stu Hale

Westcoaster 2013

I came back to the Westcoaster Offroad Marathon intent on giving it heaps. It’s long been a favourite event of mine. I had my race of the season here back in 2011, it has the best views in the Waitakere Ranges, and is choc-ful of hilly goodness. Plenty of reasons to get excited for it.

I was disciplined in my build up too. I had the ol’ calf trouble revist in late September at the Onehunga Half.  I took my rehab seriously and I exercised self control and didn’t enter the Auckland Marathon though I wanted to dearly – wisely knowing that such a long flat run would risk re-injury and potentially thwart my plans for a bad-ass race at Bethells.

I was joined at the event by fellow Maungakiekie Endurance Man – Brent Kelly. He was lining up for his first official marathon, himself coming off a hamstring injury which had denied him the opportunity to race the Auckland Marathon. And so it was that us two runners, plus crew-extraordinaire Stuart Hale made the early drive out to Bethells beach for this adventure.

Pre Start with Brent and Steve
Pre Start with Brent and Steve

I had targeted this event, and was even contemplating going for the record – 4:45:53 by Reece Billington in 2011. But when I checked the forecast on Friday and instead of the earlier rain, saw that there was a massive high over the North Island, I figured that fast times were not likely. I guess we were all expecting a beautiful, hot day – but we would all be surprised when we ran through the hottest November day on record.And we're off

It was already warm at the 7:30 start. I lined up next to Brent and Steve Neary. Steve is hard as nails, and has many long endurance runs and events under his belt, and I made a mental note to watch him. We started with a couple of kms straight upto the high point of South Bethells, almost 200m of climb. No one started with too much urgency, and I settled into a group of 5 or so guys that included Steve, with Brent just a few positions back. I took it easy on the steep climbs, often dropping into a fast hike. I had suffered a flare up of the calf strain on Tuesday and had only made the decision to race on the night before the event. In the end I figure I had a 50% chance of the calf being OK, and that was enough to warrant giving it a bash rather than wondering “what if?” The calf was feeling sweet though and I managed to catch up all ground lost on the downhill sections without much difficulty. It quickly became a group of 4 as Steve and I ran amongst two young guys – Chris and Tom. Tom was doing it as a team so I didn’t mid as he ran away from us near the end of the first leg. I stretched out down the hill and across the sand-dunes to arrive at the first aid station just ahead of Steve, and with quite a gap back to Chris.  I got some more water from Stu, which was just as well because the aid station hadn’t got their act together and there was no fluid out at all.

So I set off onto the Te Henga trail with Steve just ahead. Steve had been a bit faster than me on all the climbs and he moved away as we wound up the climbs of Bethells and Oneill’s beaches. I saw his lead gradually extend through this delicious piece of coastal single track. I felt my pace was reasonable, but boy was it hot on this trail. Almost no breeze whatsoever, very little shade and blazing heat. By the time we climbed the stairs up to Constable Rd, I was poked and Steve had a lead of just under two minutes.

Private 4WD track, South Bethells
Private 4WD track, South Bethells

I grabbed some more water and gels from Dad at the aid station on Constable. I also slammed three cups of fluid as I was feeling pretty dry. This was a low point in the race for me, I felt significantly more fatigued than at this point two years earlier. I was thinking that the heat was playing a role in my discomfort, so focused on getting some calories in and hoped that the river run through Mokora Falls track would help revitalize me.

This river section is very technical with a trail that zigzags across from bank to bank and then winds through the trees surrounding the river. Its not really possible to run fast, and I was able to cool off really well on this section. I thought Steve might have made some more gains on me as I wasn’t smashing it through here, but I knew I needed to get myself right if I was to run at my potential. By the time I started the climb out of the stream, I felt much better and I ran the whole way up to the aid station at Horseman Rd.Brent River

There at the aid was Steve. It was great to see that I had caught up and not fallen away during the last section. I grabbed a couple of cups of cola, flicked on my tunes and took off after Steve down the Goldies Bush Track. I was feeling super good, and I happily stretched my legs out on the downhill section. I caught Steve and accelerated away. If he was still climbing well, it would pay to have some time in the bank as a buffer.

The climb back up to Constable is steep and stepped. My climbing legs were well done by now and I hiked the stairs, running the flats. At the top, I ran along Constable Road, now mixing with lots of runners from other distances. I arrived back at the aid station with my hammys twitching in pre-cramp fasciculations. It was baking now, we had left the shade behind and I asked for an extra water bottle in order to have some spare fluid to tip on myself for the scorching 10ks of Te Henga I had yet to cover.

The Constable Rd aid station is only 4.5k from Horseman Rd, so although I didn’t know how far ahead I was from Steve, I didn’t think it was a big lead. Te Henga was now a busy trail, with plenty of other runners making their way back to Bethells. If I had been able to run faster, I would have been asking to pass a lot more, but I quickly found that I was struggling to run any hills. My hydration pack ran dry far earlier than I had hoped and I was left with just 250mL in a handheld and 75mL in a gel flask for maybe 8k. I slowed markedly, and found that despite leading a race in one of my favourite places to run, I wasn’t having much fun anymore. I walked the climbs and waited for Steve to pass. There would be no contest when he came, I just didn’t have it in me. The Tasman Sea some 60 meters beneath us looked so refreshing, and so out of reach. I plodded on, counting down each of the major climbs that I would endure on my return journey. I felt about as fresh and free as Frodo climbing Mt Doom and my stooped gait on the climbs was not pretty – hands on knees, and all hunched over like Quasimodo’s Kiwi cousin. Had I played my hand too soon? I would still be happy when I got to the finish, happy to have had no injury setbacks and to have experienced a taste of my own limits. As I scaled the bluff above Oneill’s beach, with only 3k to go, I wondered if Steve was also struggling – why was he taking so long to get me?Brent Constable

I was starting to get in a little bit of a bad way – stumbling and kicking bits of the trail and lurching around a wee bit. I took a swig of gel with my last sip of water and trudged down into O’Neills. I kept focused on getting to the finish. Because of the heat, the finish and its promise of shade and water was the only real option – to stop would just leave you baked and dry on the side of the hill. Down the last hill I could finally see the finish, and my pace quickened again. Across the stream, and 500m to go, looking back every minute and still there was no one who looked like Steve approaching. For the first time since Goldies Bush, I thought I could win and mount a defence of my position should I need to. The short-coursers around me left me for dead as we ran the last 100m to the line, but I wasn’t troubled by that. I crossed the line, and collapsed into the nearest shady spot – thrilled, and thankful to have made it back first.

As I lay down in the shade, Steve finished looking much fresher and just 4 minutes behind.

I lay and wondered about everyone out there – would there be some casualties of the heat? I felt I had gotten pretty close to having to pull out, I guessed others would have too. Brent came home in 6:01, securing 10th place and joining the salubrious club of other MECers for whom Bethells had been their first marathon.

Some reflections on the race:

If its going to be hot, take more fluid than you would usually – especially on a course where you may be >90 minutes between aid stations. Drink to thirst and pour the rest over yourself to cool down.

Dress for the day. I nearly baked, and I was running in a midriff-showing tri-top. I’m not an exhibitionist, I was just deliberately trying to get as much ventilation as possible. I saw tons of people running in t-shirts – even a few in tights! Do yourself a favour and make it easier to shed heat.

How does this performance rate for me? Well, I am stoked to get the win! I think my pacing was OK, I would have done better though with two things: 1) more hill endurance training (I lost my climbing legs way too early) and 2) having more water and regularly drinking and pouring it on myself. The fact that I felt bad both times on the Te Henga track, and was able to recover so much in the river makes this seem like the most likely explanation for my struggle at the end.

Great crew makes a big difference. I was met at several aid stations by my Dad who had full bottles ready for me and helped get stuff out of my backpack that I couldn’t reach. I got information on my competitors, and some objective feedback as I progressed through – invaluable contributions to my day.


Onehunga Half 2012

The Rev’s Report:

There is nothing like your local. The Onehunga may be topographically the least appropriate for me and my off road inclinations, but it is such a sweetness to be able to roll out of the house, down the hill and be warmed up by the time I hit the start of this little road gem.

My purpose was clear, set a PB for the half marathon distance. I haven’t really raced the distance properly, my best performance was performed during a marathon back in ’04. I have been feeling in great shape this Winter, and although I haven’t done much work on my speed, I figured a 1:24 or quicker was a reasonable goal.

I met up with the MEC crew at the start. Vern and Ian were down from Warkworth. Sam Thom was there too, looking to kick off his season in style. Bryce had turned up to spectate, seen the great weather and decided to have a crack at the 10k following on from his PB 1:28:59 half at Whangarei last week.

I saw an old Med buddy Reuben at the start and we ran the first km together. He was gunning for a 1:24 finish so it worked out well. Bryce shot off ahead right from the gun. I had to call out for him to turn when he ran past the 10k turnaround. I was feeling good and running at or below 4 minute ks, and lying in about 5th spot. We ran the Onehunga Foreshore Cycleway out and back, then headed out across the old Mangere Bridge to Ambury park. The pace felt quick, but achievable and I left Reuban and a few others behind.

Pretty soon after crossing the bridge, one of the front runners turned and came back – excellent, that meant he was in the 16k and I was now in 4th. I was already quite happy as I could tell that I had more than a minute in the bank up on goal time, and was still feeling good. The Northeaster had picked up and pushed us along to Ambury. I was surprised to see one of Barry McGee’s young Ethiopean runners tie up along this section – Barry is a big mileage man and those boys are fast. But I breezed by him at the 15k, just before the turnaround at Ambury.

The course is dead flat, and mostly off public roads, so is fast and fun. The wind was really driving into us as we headed back to Mangere Bridge, but I had a bit extra to give and plowed on. My right calf was getting quite achey now. I crossed the old bridge, and now passing lots of 16k peeps, I could tell that a low 1:20s time was on. Dad gave me a big cheer at the Onehunga end and I set off hard for the last 2.5k. Bam! The calf muscle bit real hard and a dozen memories of having to walk out of long runs came flooding back. Any other day that would have been game over for the run. But I didn’t get that far and that close to a PB to walk away. An injury had already occurred, I either stop running and be injured, or run on, see if I can hold out for  a good time, and be injured.

So I dug in. I tried to take the load off the calf, I pushed on my glutes, I grimaced. I kept going. Remarkably, my pace was not too bad – still around 4 minute ks. I could see no one over my shoulder and just hung on. My strong finish was not so much a lift in pace, as holding pace despite a bit of pain. I crossed in 1:22:48, 3rd place.

So, mission accomplished. I’m hobbling now, and may need some time off to rehab this leg, but I’ve gotten quite good at that over the last few years.

It was a great day in the sun and wind with the MEC crew and our loud supporters. So nice to have the whanau out in force. I need to let you know that I was joined in setting a PB by Sam Thom, who was looking very good throughout and brought it home in 1:27:09 for 7th place. Bryce Robinson too was sensational, WINNING the 10k in 38:45 – so good my man! Rich Drake ran the 16k in 1:16:59 for 5th place.


Ian felt a bit disappointed with his 1:39, Vern was OK with his 1:55; and Stu was disappointed that the marshall had directed most of the 10k field to turn early, giving them a 7k race (of which he won the Masters section in 38min)! Only Bryce and a few front runners avoided the dodgy marshall!

Still, a great day, with lots of success from our team. It may be a bit flat for my running preferences, but I’m sure I will return again and again. Go local!

Bryce Robinson’s Report:

Woke up 6:30am ready to go and watch Mike race. Wasn’t really planning at all to do the race as cash was a bit tight but when I saw it was an overcast still day I threw my running gear in just in case! As I drove to the race the possibility of me competing entered my mind. When I arrived at the reserve the music was pumping and the atmosphere was buzzing and I really started feeling it! Quickly I changed into my gear and went for a wee jog up the road just to feel how the legs were. My archilles felt a bit tight and my shin a bit tender but otherwise okay. Did a few accelerations and legs were turning over smoothly. Everything felt right, so I thought why not? I jogged back to the reserve and signed up for the race!

The start was exciting I got towards the front for the start and when the hooter sounded I started quick. I accelerated from the main pack and found myself running near the front at a fast speed. Was feeling positive everything was good. Ran the first km in 3.30 and realized that I had started too quick! I pulled back the pace and ran the next km at 3.45. I thought if I hold this pace I should go sub 40 which would be great. Things seemed to be going smooth until I ran past the turnaround for the 10km race. Fortunately Mike was behind me and shouted at me to turn back. I quickly turned and by the time I got back to the turn sign the second placed guy was already turning. I managed to get past him and kept the pace on with him chasing me. I could hear his footsteps and hear his heavy breathing as he tried to reel me in. The pace was quick for me and I was leading the race, but I was full of self doubt as to whether I could hold him off for much longer. I could hear him coming and finally I slowed and he ran past coming onto Orpheus drive. I was gutted realizing that I had started too quick and felt like I had no answer. So I sat in behind him and tried to recover as best as I could knowing that if I could stay in touch I might have a chance at a sprint finish.

Coming off the bridge I could hear the PA at the finish and the announcer saying that the race could be decided by a sprint finish. My moment had arrived and I  let loose with a burst of speed and accelerated past him and kept the pace on. The heavy breathing and footsteps behind me disappeared and I tried to keep the heat on to distance myself from him in case I exploded before the finish! My lungs were burning and my legs felt numb I was praying for the finish to come. Finally the welcome sight of the finish appeared and I crossed in 38:45 winning the race and achieving a PB. What a moment. Intense pain gave way to elation as I realized what had just happened! When the discomfort subsided I got to relax and enjoy what was a really special moment for me. Maybe next year I might come a little more prepared!

Cornwall Parkrun #1

Five from team MEC made their way to the inaugural Parkrun at Cornwall Park on Saturday 28 July 2012. This is a great new event – a FREE WEEKLY 5k in our own park – every Saturday at 8am.

The course is all within the park, a few hills, lots of turns – so a good workout. This is a great event and well worth utilising in your training plans and supporting. I will be back.
MEC Results below (place/athlete/time/age graded score/yadayadayada):


1 Martin DE BOCK 17:36 SM30-34 74.15 % M 1 First Timer!

2 Mike HALE 17:53 SM30-34 72.69 % M 2 First Timer!

6 Ben HORNE 21:46 SM25-29 59.26 % M 6 Maungakiekie Endurance Club First Timer! 1

7 Richard DRAKE 22:08 SM25-29 58.36 % M 7 Maungakiekie Endurance Club First Timer! 

21 Stuart HALE 28:45 VM55-59 54.84 % M 20 First Timer! 1

MEC 10 Miler 2012 Report

The second Maungakiekie Endurance Club 10 Mile was recently held at the Nikau Cave Cafe in Waikaretu. It was a classic Autumn event – cool and still, with a heavy fog adding to the atmosphere. A hardy crew of runners and walkers had made the drive south.

Although not able to race due to a bit of calf trouble, I kept my mind happy by organizing timing on the day. Richard Drake (who first came up with the idea) had done a superb job of course marking.

The event is an out and back along Waikaretu Valley Road. The road follows the course of a small river with a few gentle hills, then after five km climbs steadily upward to the turn around. It has a rough seal, little traffic and plenty of great views making it ideal for this kind of event.

The merry eventers were set off just after 10 am. There were a mix of MEC regulars, some local Waikaretueans and one large extended family group. Along the beautiful course they were all pleasantly surprised with a family-organised drinks stop at 4km.

How could you refuse a drink from these guys?After the completion of the event, folks were able to enjoy to a hot shower and some good old homestyle cooking from the Nikau Cave Cafe.

So how did it go?

Well, in the 10k walk we had the speedy pair of Anne and Lucy Horne take off. They were first home in 1:34:43.The best rehab for an ACL repair for sure Bec Horne and Janie Rich upgraded their 10k walk to include some good running and finished strong in 1:22:41. Chris Horne did his own thing, coming home in 57:32 after walking an unknown distance. 

Jenny Hale, Natalie and Murray Stephenson walked as a team and were over the line in 1:48:48.

The 10k run served up some sweet surprises. Richard Drake, feeling a bit worse for wear changed from the imperial mile to the metric kilometer and ended up taking out his local event in 45 plus change. After staying with Richard, Trav Reynolds got a bit weary and found Chris Horne to be a perfect recovery buddy. Trav was a starter (and finisher!)  in last year’s edition as well.

He started up his running engines just in time, before was almost mown down at the finish. His 54:22 narrowly held out a fast finishing Stuart Hale who crossed the line in 54:23.

In the full distance, Myles Robinson and Todd Calkin traded places at the front on the way out, both reaching the halfway point in 36:50.

Myles was able to pull ahead on the descent following the turn and crossed in 1:11:14.

Ben Horne raced it well to work his way into second after a wicked-fast descent also. Todd was able to work back into second on the flatter sections and finished in 1:12:45, with Ben next in 1:14:42. 

The ‘local lads’ of Richard Lang and Andrew Woodward looked to be having a good old chat out on their run. THey ran the whole thing together and finished up in 1:18:05.

The Warkworth teachers track club – Vern Dempster and Ian McHale also ran together and  easily took out the Masters section with their time of 1:27:36.

It was a great day, with many smiles at the finish and a few requests for a rematch. Big thanks to the Woodwards and Rich and Nicola Drake for the support and organization at the venue. We will be back.