Well, I did it – my first 100km foot race, completed!
Videos of the race
Here are a couple of links to some video that was shot on the day of the race. It is a family-shot movie i.e. it is more about me during the race than the race itself, but it shows a considerable amount of the course and will be helpful for anyone wanting to know more about the terrain.
High-res version (recommended): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydexXiq8CZc
Low-res version (for slow internet connections): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYrE3Pr7Bg
What was it like?
The day was a great success. Weather was perfect, a cool day with no wind and only a very few spots of rain. The pre-dawn start saw us running the first lap in darkness, head-torches bobbing along the forest track as we ran. It was difficult to run the first lap in the dark, and at least one entrant became lost after missing a course marker. A good reason to stick with a bunch I reckon!
Dawn came midway around the second lap, and what a beautiful moment it was. The sight of snow-covered mountains greeted us as we reached the top of a raise, and it was hard not to be taken by the awesome beauty of Central Otago.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the race, but I do want to share a few small tidbits.
A 10km loop track, the course is an even mix of gravel road and forest trails. It was dry for us, but on a rainy day it would have quickly become quite muddy. With the weather on our side I was able to switch from my off-road shoes into my regular road shoes – there were no problems at all with traction. The course contains 230 metres of climb (i.e. a total of 2.3km of climb for the full 101km race), which was a bit more than I was expecting. The climb is well spread-out though, and there are no long “grunts” uphill. I liked the variety of terrain no the course, from standard gravel roads to easy forest tracks to rock-strewn mountain bike single track.
Everything was run very smoothly, as you would expect for a race that has been going on for several years now. The organising group were very professional and friendly, and the volunteers on the course were amazing. Such an enthusiast bunch, I sometimes wonder if they realise just what a huge difference they make to the competitors in terms of motivation and support. The halfway mark was manned by the sprightly Liam, who always had a small and an encouraging word. He even took requests for the song to be played as you ran through his aid station for the final lap. The start/finish line was constantly buzzing with support crews (all very friendly), time keepers (always a smile and a laugh), and officials (checking that runners had a clear path through the supporters, and chatting to runners as they paused to restock).
Some basic stats:
Ascending: +2,304 metres, 34.26km
Descending: -2,283 metres, 35.89km