Vicki Wooley has been waiting for this since about 11am on Saturday morning when I was crawling up the hill to the Lone Road checkpoint and had a wee chat with her. I was high as a kite, pretty much as close to being on P as you can without actually taking it. The southern tip of the Waitakere Range had been showing me some of the coolest trails I’d run on, my legs still felt fresh and now I was getting to see people on their home trails instead of at the finish of some other random event. I was just a little bit excited, but maybe not quite as excited as Vicki was.
Backcountry Runner has the reason why I was going (http://backcountryrunner.co.nz/2013/04/01/wild-turkey-vs-nimbys/), now here’s what unfolded. This was to be a cheap bastards trip, airpoints and standby flights, being shuffled around, fed and lodged by James and Anna down in Bombay. It mostly turned out that way but all good plans usually come apart at some point.
For the run itself I wasn’t sure what plan to have. I pretty much had no idea about the course except that it had 3 climbs and descents with 99% single track. Mal Law reliably informed me that the track would be dry, even after some rain. Mal is lucky he stayed in bed. It turns out Jaffas are all talk, 80+ people had signed up for a fat arse run on the Hillary trail. Of those, only 12 turned up to run the Wild Turkey. Jaffas are also lazy, only 7 were backing up from Tarawera even though they were offered a big discount. There were around 100 all up for the three events, that’s pretty rubbish for a city of 1.4 million people, Dunedin with a population of 110,000 will throw out more than that for the 3 Peaks next weekend.
So 12 of us toed the line for the 2 loop marathon at 7:30am. I got to run with Chris Morrissey and Sam Manson for the 1st time, that lasted for 2 minutes until we started the 1st climb out of Whatipu and up Gibbons Track, it was fun while it lasted but they seemed intent on smashing hell out of each other. I walked. 30-40m back was Nathan Bycroft, he ran, these are his home trails and he made good use of them, quickly catching and passing me prior to the 2nd climb up Buck Taylor to Lone Road. I wondered if I’d see him again or not. I really was pissing around enjoying the varied trail, the views and the Torrential Rain. Poor Marshalls were taking a beating as I’m sure they’d prepared for the forecast fine conditions. They did come later, but in the 1st hour the trails were running like streams.
So not knowing the course and not wearing a watch I was unsure when or where to have a gel. I’d figured a 2:15 lap was sensible, but again had no idea what sort of effort that would require. So I had gels more or less at the bottom of the climb to Lone road, then again at around the Odlins camp, and a final one near the top of the course before the run home. There’s so much variety on the loop that you’re always interested in the surroundings and your effort levels are always changing. Steep technical descents, long flowing open and very fast grades, hands on knees hiking, short rock scrambles, gentle runnable uphills, rutted, rooty, rocky, steps, stream crossings, nikau palms, kauri, scrub. The course has it all in what is a very natural loop up and around Whatipu.
I came into the start/finish at around 2:16, I don’t think I’ve ever been as fresh, it was a strange feeling, but i had been pretty lazy on course. As an added bonus nothing hurt. For some reason I woke up to no back/butt/hammy pain for a change. I still have my bruised foot that doesn’t like the off camber nature of the course, but 150mg of Diclofenac helps. More pissing around drinking, chatting I thought it was worth asking where Nathan was, quietly hoping it was 10+ minutes and I could just wander around the course again. 1-2 was the call. OK, pretty sure I’ll out hike him, could be a sprint finish. Off we go for another lap.
I had a great deal of anticipation for this lap, even before we started. It’s always fun seeing other people out on the trails and this set up meant running with some I’d normally see when we’ve finished. It reminded me of the first time I ran the St James and I finally got to see the great one, Martin Lukes, in full flight after he started an hour late. I digress, so hiking up Gibbons again, legs feel great but the photography team ruin that. Damn it, ugly face on for running uphill. Aaaargh and then another one, haha run whitey run. It flattens off a bit and there’s the tail end charlie and Nathan. Shit that was a quick catch. At Lone Road there was more mucking around, I asked Penny how far Sam was, 5 minutes or 20 minutes. With 20 minutes being the call there was no point chasing, he would need to fall off the track and stay there for me to catch him.
Photo Credits – http://www.heythatsme.co.nz
So on it goes, more fun, more people, high fives here and there, more photo’s in the stream and a sprint finish, followed immediately by Leah Anstis thrusting a cold beer at me. It was quite difficult sitting still, it was one of the most enjoyable trails I’ve run, great bunch of people, all out for a good time and then just hanging around in the sun. The chance to catch up with University mates, run with people on their home turf and see new things was fantastic.
Shaun – thank you for the invitation come, the trails easily exceeded any expectations I may have had. The people of Auckland are lucky to have a guy like you putting on events in cool places.
James & Anna – thank you for running/driving around and making it pretty cheap for me. Great time down at the Lodge, fun going out for a run with your group and climbing trees getting avocado’s.
Standby is a rubbish way to fly and I am glad Air New Zealand are removing that temptation. I spent from 10am Sunday morning until 2:30pm Monday at Auckland airport, eventually getting home at 6pm. At 32 hours, it’s nearly as long as it took me to get home from Tarawera last year.
No not the town that is now part of Greater London. Croydon Paton, yeah him, the guy that killed a Rabbit in the middle of the night while completing the Northburn 100k a couple of weeks ago. Hard as Nails would be my guess. He’s taken to trail running and long trail running like a duck to water, and most importantly likes to explore.
This post is for him as it’s the best way to answer his question about where I’ve been running. He somehow googled his way to a video I made of a run Frosty and I completed a couple of years ago. So here’s the description. It’s probably not as interesting as you think it was. We had to entertain very fast Roadies for a while. It was 50k long though, Frosty mad us do a short out and back at the finish, something like 2000m of climb. It was fun.
Start at Woodhaugh Gardens and go up North Road as if doing Waitats. Turn up the Organ Pipes Track, over Mt Cargill and down Cowans Road, Patmos Ave. and turn right up Leith Valley to the Nichols Creek MTB track. Up that, turn left and across then down past Ben Rudds Hut, out and down the road towards Whare Flat before turning up the forestry roads (take your pick) Back over Flagstaff and return down to Woodhaugh. Run it properly and you should look like me, not bright and cheerful like Anna.
Quite possibly the best quality long run I’ve had. Two weeks after this Frosty ripped shit out of the TNF50 in San Francisco for the 2nd time and I ran my best Kepler. After one of the runs with the Salomon team Francois D’haene suggested this would be a perfect place to come and train for TNF San Fran.
I see in the last frames of the video I requested that next time , Salomon should bring their own Film Crew, Helicopter and some Speedcross 3 shoes. I’m pleased to say they delivered on all those things last month.
What I’d like, is to go for an explore in the hills one day with Croydon. I reckon that would be fun.
In order to get my BCR Visor back I’ve been sucking up to the team manager.
Way way back in some dark and distant memory we actually lived in Auckland for a year. But I only visited for school holiday’s as we were at boarding school in the Wairarapa. My only other running trip to Auckland was fully catered by the Clendons and involved 503 laps of the track at the Millenium Institute. So this weekend I’m off to Auckland courtesy of Airpoints with a one way ticket and whats is likely to be a standby ticket for the return. James Kuegler after more or less demanding that I come up, has kindly offered accommodation and transport. It will be great to explore somewhere new and shock horror will still be loops, just 2 though.
So the main reading is at the BCR link. Having read it I am amazed at how many words are missing and sentence structure has failed even after proof reading it.
I don’t have to run big long hard brutal events any more, and that is somewhat of a relief. Mal Law had made a post about how difficult he found this years’ Vibram Tarawera and how little he enjoyed it. I made a cheeky remark that 100km races weren’t fun but 160km was. I have changed my mind. Some 35km into Saturday’s run I had already begun to hurt. Everything had started well enough and had gone exactly as I’d expected it too. Marty, Dennis and I ran together for the 1st hour before Marty got his game face on and showed what he is capable of.
We hit the best part of the course, the off track section between Middleton’s, Shrek and Top (see map and table of locations below) that often resembled a moonscape yet contained some of the most delicious water I’ve tasted. Dennis and I quickly picked off, Ray Sanchez, Shona Stevenson and Glenn Sutton and found ourselves running happily, talking about rubbish and generally enjoying the place. The downhill came and I’d hoped to run to my strengths. Instead it hurt and the realisation came over me that I no longer wanted or needed to test myself in such a way and with that simple clear thought and a suggestion to turn left instead of right. I walked off the course. The next 48 hours were some of the most enjoyable I’ve had at an event.
Immediately after wandering into the start finish area Tom (Pinckney, owner) dragged me off with my bike to go in search of Matheus Rafagnin. Matt was suffering from an unexplained loss of vision, perhaps it was the wind, but he couldn’t see the track or the track markings well enough to keep going. The plan was to ride with him for the last 7km but he stumbled straight into the truck as he was unable to see more that large fuzzy shapes. So I enjoyed a downhill MTB to Mirror and waited for Ann to come through.
Little Annie had a perfect day, barely possible goal of 7:30 for the 50k. So while she got a bit grumpy that I was around to give her a shitty pep talk she managed to battle her way home in 7:25 and win the 50k by an hour from her training partner. They both trained well and it was great to be around to see them finish instead of being up near Mt Horn somewhere talking more shit with Dennis who had completed the 1st 50k in my target time of 6:15ish and sitting in 2nd place.
Next up were the kids 1.5km events. Miss 8 was in tears when the toddler’s race went off as she thought she’d missed her start. So it was much joy when she worked out what had happened, ran her race and nearly caught the girl in 1st with a big sprint finish. I managed to run up high and get some pictures of Ollie during the rock scramble. Later in the afternoon I was ordered out by Terry (Race Director) to clear up the markings. This is the toughest, most brutal and fun kids course I have ever seen. Multiple deep (for little ones) stream crossings, rock scrambles, steep hiking and fast running. All the kids were buzzing at the end which included medals and a podium for the place getters. Far from putting kids in Cotton wool, they were allowed to explore, have an adventure and get the occasional scratch and bruise.
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After a shower then dinner with both sets of Grandparents (thank you) it was time for the 5/10k night runs. Ollie had been looking forward to this for a week. We thought he was too tired, but a quivering lower lip at the thought of not running saw me standing on the line with him. How much fun does a 10 year old have running with his dad, at night, on trails? A LOT. He power hiked the climbs, hands on knees all Kilian Jornet style while I struggled, and then hammered the long downs (I really struggled). He doesn’t say a lot, but the grin on his face said it all. He won, outright as most were doing 10k, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that he feels good about himself, had a lot of fun and loves to be out running. “Daddy I need to go to bed now.” He was shattered, the good kind of shattered that we all love to feel.
At 10pm a Quick trip to Ewe/Loop Bottom to swap and drive some marshalls back. I find Croyden Paton, high as a kite, he’s just killed a rabbit with his poles.
Martin Lukes had come and gone for his 3rd Loop by now. He was well on track for a sub 24 hour time. How much under we could only guess at. Fatigue had to slow him at some point. But 22 and even as low as sub 21 looked possible. So with the thought that if I saw him finish I may well end up with no sleep, I retired for a 90 minute nap. Up again before 2am where I found Emma and Rachael the comms team still at it. No campervan for them to nap in this year. At around 2:30am Marty arrived at Brewery, 10k from the finish. So I was back on my bike to ride out and see him. He duly arrived, shattered his course record with 22:09 and went to sleep.
More riding was on the cards to check on Keiron and Shona as they finished their runs. Some coverage for BCR and short videos for each to say hi to their families. For Shona that meant saying hi to her kids (6 and 8) who were up at 4am in Sydney waiting for the result. That is one of the fun parts of BCR coverage, allowing people to share their events with family and friends far away. Grant and Jane are doing a great job and sharing the sport.
More friends arrived at the finish but next on the cards was a need from Tom to replace the marshall up at TW. I pleased that Tom and Terry feel they can flog me and fill the gaps when they open. One of the biggest challenges at Northburn is managing the time frames of the course. It’s big and very very long. 48 hours is an exceptionally long time to manage volunteers. Between 6 and 24 hour marks approximately 80km of track are open and marshalled. Only the ignorant would ask for the 1st 50k to be reopened and volunteers to stay out for another day.
So I find myself at 11 am (29 hours) at TW. There were ~15 people who needed to pass through here on their final laps. It was windy, cold and they were tired. They’d all been on the go for 30 hours. All bar one are the most vibrant and positive people I have seen on a course. There is no doubt that any of them will do anything but finish. For many it is to be their 1st finish at 100 miles and for some (Dan Lee, you’re nuts mate) it is the first time he’s done anything like this. I tried to be honest with you all, some of you didn’t like that and proved me wrong, running exceptionally fast to the finish. Virginia was the last through at 8:15pm. The final 22km took her 9 ½ hours. I learnt a lot from those at the end. I don’t have that courage.
Back to the tent and sleep. But not before I’d planted a seed in Tom’s head that will help the event to continue. To the Mountain Bikers out there. It’s my fault, but you have been warned so there is no point in complaining. It’s hard, we already know that.
A big thanks from our family must go to Tom P., Glen C.and Terry D. Thank you for creating an opportunity for us to have some quality time together in the outdoors.
Top Waenga? – That is what TW stands for.
Location and Distance
“No, you will not catch up with me at Tarawera.”
“No, I am not running Tarawera.”
“No, I am not going up to support.”
So the greatest race in the history of the world since the last greatest race in the history of the world passed without my presence being missed. That’s not surprising, I knew it would, I’ve only been to one of the previous 4 events. It doesn’t need me.
Paul has done a great job, even bigger and better than last year, and that was pretty good. I’m rapt for him, he’s incredibly proud of where he comes from and loves showing it off to the world. With plenty of high-profile athletes from all corners of the globe and associated media in its various forms some might have thought the circus was in town. The race sponsors certainly got some value for money coverage this year.
Any comments about Tarawera are meaningless without discussing Ruby Muir. She’s good, probably better than most people think or realised. She’s on par with Frosty, Lizzie Hawker and Emelie Forsberg. Not better or worse, they all have different strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been lucky enough to train and/or race against them in varying states of fitness. They are all a level above anything else running in these parts of the world. The Hour Plus gap on the best that Australia has to offer was no surprise. I hope that Ruby and her manager (12 beers gets a conversation started), photographer (someone has to take the pictures, he’s cheap, surely he can get some lucky shots) writer (he can dribble with the best of us) can find a way to get to Europe and run Zegama, Sierre-Zinal, Dolomites and other classics. She is or should be the poster child for Vibram. $10,000 will get them more high-end racing coverage than they would ever have thought possible.
So No! I was never going to Tarawera, it didn’t stop me from reading the irunfar coverage all day and defending Vajin’s right to high mileage against some moron from Europe who kept contradicting himself and then got banned for insinuating Sage was on drugs. I was never going because of NORTHBURN.
The no training policy has been fantastic. I’ve had a couple of long races as preparation and then the Salomon Circus came to town and I got to play tour guide for 4 days. The short day was 2 hours, the others were 4+. They had fun, I got to go surfing, see the Kepler as I’ve never seen it before, taste wine and see some freaks running. Francois D’haene running blind on a dodgy track where you often can’t see your foot placements was 2nd only to Greg Vollet leading him with a camera. I didn’t really try but I think Grant did and we got blown out the back, easily.
The team got stuck flying out of Rotorua yesterday. No surprises there, it took me 40 hours to get home last year. That’s the same time it takes me to walk out our door and get to Paris. Damien (http://droz-photo.com/WordPress/en/) put the weeks pictures to music. I like it and can’t wait to see what the African Attachment come up with their Documentary on Anna.
Some funny things from the week.
To one driver “You know that if you get stopped doing more than 40kph over the speed limit they will take your license?”
The 2nd Driver “What about me, I am just following him?”
not saying what we were doing, Frosty didn’t try to keep up.
I snore , and I didn’t take a sleeping bag to Luxmore hut. Greg and Francois thought that was a good idea. We all slept in front of the fire. Greg kindly kept it going all night as well as kicking me. “Share Matt’s Passion”
Heavy French accent “We are having Pleasure with Nature.”
Eating and drinking is a serious pastime, I like the French. I like two pints of Emerson’s, for lunch, on a Monday, after surfing. It sure beats going to work.
So I’m ready for Northburn. Looking forward to running many many miles with Marty and Dennis. Mike Beaumont will be there, but has a habit of starting very slowly. Hopefully he’ll join us. Glenn Sutton will for sure. It’ll be fun, we know each other and all know that there will be no racing, just getting the job done, listening to stories from Lukes and then slowly drifting apart as fatigue sets in and different strengths come into play.
There’s one problem when travelling with Photographers, they put everything you’ve ever done to shame. Enjoy Droz’s work.
I’m not flash at navigating. Not compared to the guys I compete with anyway. They’re not shy in coming forward and letting me know either. Tim and JJ certainly let the old men know where we belonged in the lead up to the World Rogaine Champs. At one point they sat on a control while we floundered around 50m away up the wrong stream. That was on the practice course.The beating we dished out in the main event was satisfying but doesn’t change the fact that Tim Farrant is a hell of a lot better at navigating than either Robert or I.
My lack of skill regularly leads to an argument between Robert and I. His decision-making is much more efficient and my need to go a bit slower can add up. Losing say 30 seconds at each control that takes 30 minutes to collect might not sound much. But over the course of 24 hours that adds up to extra 1 or 2 controls.
Nothing highlights the small things more than our finish at last years Worlds. With Robert doing a stirling job just holding his leg together and keeping on moving I had received a promotion to chief navigator. All OK until 90 minutes to go. The planned route was 58 (lower left circle), 81, 76, 44, Finish. Going down the track and spur between 58 and 81 I got pushed too far right and we ended up looking for the control in the added red circle. Eventually finding it and now short of time we went straight for the finish.
Had we been more efficient during the 1st 23 hours, even with the small error late in the piece we’d have been able to go for the 76, 44 Finish. That 15 minute could have been made up with 20s at each of the previous 47 controls. In the end we lost by 40 points. Mistakes always happen, you just try to minimize them. We actually had a very good day and did everything as near to as well as we can. BUT it could be better.
So time to go to the dark-side. Pure Navigation, Orienteering. There is only one way to get better at reading maps, and that is to read maps, at speed, under pressure. Ollie also likes running around with a map, so Wednesday night now see us at the local Summer Series.
After doing the 1st event together, Ollie now rips around the white course by himself in about 10 minutes and then plays in the bush or where ever while he waits for me to come back from the Orange (no reds in the Summer Series).
Maps and route choice are going to get posted, because there’s a couple of people reading this who are quite handy and the nature of the event means they are geeks and have their own map collections. I want advice.
Logan Park – straight forward map and able to run hard although that meant a couple of mistakes. I turned right going out of 3 to 4, and then the same mistake going right between 8 and 9 in the buildings (Logan Park High). Interesting result at the finish, I managed to beat World Juniors team member Alistair Richardson by 12 seconds. He tells me later he replaced a couple of controls. At least I can try to keep him honest.
Ross Creek – More trail running, but some more challenging placements off trail forcing me to keep track of gullies and bends. All good to 5 and then I took the upper track as planned, but in hindsight should have used the lower track to the marked bank/spur. Collected it easily none the less than dropped onto the track. But had to jump a log, misjudged it, bounced down and rolled off the track another 2m down into the water channel (hurties, see below). I should have planned to run the track to 7, but for some reason had decided on crossing between the dams. Dumb, lost a lot of time. 7-8 was good, but 8-9 I tried to take a straight line but didn’t use the compass and was drawn to where I knew the track was anyway. Same thing for 9-10 where I popped out near an earlier track junction with a control that had a very similar code to the one I wanted, so I had to double-check and lost more time. Not sure of the result, but definitely slower than Alistair.
So a couple more Summer Series orange courses to go and then it’s on to some more challenging reds. I expect to get lost. The one time I previously had a go at a red, I got lost. The local club has some good navigators, so I’ll be picking some brains. As well as having some fun with Ollie.
Goal – become one of those people gets mentioned in the list of navigators who clean up most of the trail races around the place
On Wednesday I woke early for what is supposed to be a tempo run. I was tired, it was cosy in my sleeping bag so went back to sleep for another hour. When I eventually crawled out it was still Wednesday so I should do some form of speedwork. I opted for 3k downhill, HARD. I expected some sort of soreness on Thursday, I didn’t expect the involuntary grunts that were still present late on Friday night as we set up camp at Moke Lake. I think I ran a bit too hard.
I then proceeded to write 2 pages of dribble about my run. Then I remembered a lot of fun things that made my day so much fun. I think it’s still dribble, but we had a great weekend.
- I sat in front of Martin Lukes on the bus. It was a 60 minute trip in Skippers. I learnt all about crossing rivers. I learnt that if you get 3 Brits together in a race you better make sure the course is marked well. If you’re running with Martin Lukes and he has his shirt on, you’re ok. When he takes it off. Game Time.
- Andy Town, Ruby Muir, Malcolm McLeod and Matty Abel are great people to run with. All with different skills. We spent most of the day together. It was fun. Simon Green, Marty and Kristian Day hung around for a while as well.
- Grant like to refer to the race as SMMM, I think it sounds like a line from 50 Shades of Grey. Maybe appropriate. Plenty of hurting.
- Malcolm and I were both racing for the Old Pricks podium but never spoke about it. He knew I’d kick his arse on the downs and he was smashing me on the ups. In the end it didn’t matter. Martin Cox won the race and Adrian forgot about Martin Lukes and called me out for the win with Malcolm 2nd. Frosty thanks you for the wine Marty.
- Ruby loves to sing. I already knew that, it happened on the Kepler as well. But she’s a bogan as well. Running across “The Point” I hear a sweet little voice singing a song I’d heard somewhere before. I found the clip on Youtube.
- Not long after I took the last of my 10 dives, almost doing a Darren Blackwell but managed to land on a patch of grass the size of a stamp amongst a pile of schist. Sadie Cranston, Dazzler, pay attention, use your hands when you go down.
- Yelling at K Day mid race is always fun. Yelling at Andy Town is also fun.
- Adrian Bailey – you have to see it to believe it really. A dynamo.
- Running across the open patch in the middle of the new section. Two guys are looking at me smiling. I think they thought I was going to shit my pants with the news they had. Couldn’t be happier when they pointed my down a vertical slide with a soft, deep, powdery layer of dirt. Pretty sure I got close to breaking Greg Vollet’s world 100m record. So much fun.
- Wanaka Beer Works – Yum. Lots.
- My Family – Awesome. Ollie 1st in the boys, Samantha 2nd in the girls and Ann 1st in the Old Duckies. Mum and Dad 1st in coolness taking us all for a Helicopter ride over the course.
- Horse Trekking – yup that was cool on Sunday.
- Frosty – ”That’s the last time I’ll let you beat me!”
- Back Country Runner – Grant got some great coverage and took some cool shots. A tip for novices. When the BCR store has a sale, get onto it. I picked up the Slab 5 (see photo) for $220
- Amisfield – mmmmmm tasty wine on Sunday.
- Nutrition – I drank less than a litre and ate about 400 calories. Someone please show me the evidence that we need more!!!!
- Results – in lieu of the timing system crashing, here’s what I know.
Martin Cox (looks like he needs a feed)
Flavio Vianna (guns)
Richard Ussher (holy shit, big hammy’s)
Vajin (short course) Armstrong
Martin Lukes (should stop pissing around for the 1st hour)
Gary Melhuish (The Hack)
Kristian Day (now 2 for 37 against Ruby)
Matty Abel (obligatory convict)
Matt Bixley (dribbler)
Ruby Muir (Freak)
Malcolm McLeod (another from the Val Burke coaching school. Great Run)
Elina Usher/Anna Frost
Andy Town (dead set good bloke)
they were all under 5 hours
Whitney Dagg was 4th woman
Louisa Andrew 5th Woman
I love sport. I love the competitive nature of sport. I enjoy watching excellence. I enjoy watching suffering at the highest level.
What I hate are events, actions and dare I say it, organisations that lack validity and lower the status of their sport.
I don’t think much needs to be said about the Sonny-Bill Williams v Francois Botha. It’s not really SBW’s fault that his manager (Khoder Nasser) is narcissistic, but it is SBW’s fault that he allows himself to be manipulated and made to look a fool. There is no legitimacy to the belts he has. Any talk of a genuine fight is just that, talk.
Of more interest to me is the emerging story of the use of Drugs in Australian sport. The Australian Crime Commission last week presented a sanitized report outlining extensive and systematic use of drugs in a variety of codes. But most notably the AFL and NRL. The two sports with the probably most money in Australia. Cricket might come close at a guess. The report is actually titled
“Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport” and for the interested can be found here.
To me it was a great read. No names but it’s come to light that 6 NRL clubs are under investigation and the Essendon AFL club is suspected of systematic doping. They also present a case study from Rugby Union that resulted in 2 players receiving bans. I seriously doubt that Rugby Union was used as a name had it not been involved.
What I found most interesting though was the detailed use of what was being used and where to get it, especially the Peptides. I very quick google showed me where I could get them, how much and what it was going to do. I shouldn’t have been surprised really. I would imagine a number of substances are upstairs at work in the reproductive biology lab. That search will add to the plot below taken from the report.
FIGURE 3: Searches on Google using the term ‘GHRP’ between January 2007 and January 2013 showing volume of searches, countries from which searches emanate and related searches conducted.
With some luck, few Kiwi’s will be tangled up in the controversy. But if we think New Zealand is essentially free from drug use bar the occasional positive, we’re dreaming. NZ will always be a minor player in the sports drug scene and with the exclusion of rugby we just don’t have the high finance required. But rugby has had its share of positives and rumours from people trying to step up a grade. A number of years ago fringe Otago player Name Removed (couldn’t find the report) was banned after testing positive which was blamed on Creatine. He is now a provincial level coach. There were also amusing rumours about an angry little man who bulked up very quickly, got pimples and became an All Black.
Number of Tests and positives in New Zealand. This comes from Drug Free Sport NZ. In the last year there were 13 positives, not shown in the table. A reasonably consistent 1% rate of positives from approximately $600,000-$1,000,000 worth of testing per annum.
So how do those things relate to my original premise of Validity.
There are organisations and people within the running fraternity who are in denial about the use of drugs. Who knows what goes on in the highest offices of the IAAF. But at least they having testing programs and associates/affiliates (eg IAU, WMRA) all agree to codes of practice that involve testing both in competition and out of. In the case of the WMRA the IAAF pays the cost of an EPO test. In the case of the IAU they test 3 deep plus randoms at all their championships.
Comrades Marathon have testing and the International Skyrunning Federation are also introducing testing. I think that’s a great step of the ISF and enhances their validity as an organisation rather than just a ‘commercial’ operator. Comrades have long been plagued by positive tests. But that’s what you get with a lot of prize money. What would be nice though is that instead of each group trying to claim their own little patch and claim authority, championship status and Olympic glory. Just become another event under the IAAF. After all, 100 miles on a trail is just an event like Cross Country or 10,000m. It’s nothing special.
What I have been disappointed to read though is some high-profile athletes questioning the system as ineffective and an impingement on our rights. http://sharmanian.blogspot.co.nz/2012/04/drug-testing-for-ultrarunners-or-any.html
I’m sure Ian is aware of the high-profile US athlete who smokes pot during 100 mile races. The story has been told to me by 2 different people many months apart, so I have no reason to doubt it. If there was ever an event where Cannabis was going to be performance enhancing it would be in the back half of a 100 mile race where everything just bloody hurts. I find it somewhat surprising the person is held in such high regard given the apparent common knowledge of cheating.
So you get the picture. I hate drug cheats
Andrew Shelly – yeah I think are large number of the Charity runs are just rubbish. Athletically they are achieved by very ordinary people. That alone makes them ordinary events and often are more an achievement in finding the time and money to do them. I will be impressed when someone has a serious go at Sigi Bauers length of New Zealand record. Jez Bragg spring to mind. What he achieved in 53 days gives me hope that there are people doing things that are genuinely difficult and beyond the physical capabilities of all but a very few.
I have one caveat for the Charity Brigade. Raise an enormous amount of money (thumbs up Mal Law) otherwise get your sponsors to donate directly.
EDIT: – for Martin Lukes. I ran 5 times last week. 56km Total. Still not training.
Bixley vs de Monchy will just be a side-show to the main event though. Cox vs Lukes should be interesting. Both Martins are very good runners. MC sees himself in a different light.
Back to Bixley vs de Monchy. I first met Dennis at the Heaphy in 2008 (I think). He and I ran the 3 hour uphill to the 1st Hut together. He promptly dropped me and then I proceeded to kick his arse by around 1 hour. We then ran all but the last 5km on the 2009 St James together before he smashed me by 2 minutes. We’ve also competed in Rogaines. He has the edge in Nationals, with his brother Pim he beat Robert and I quite comfortably. Robert and I turned tables at the Worlds in Cheviot when he teamed up with Richard Mountstephens (Winner of the Heaphy in 2008). We thrashed them an enormous 15 points, the value of a road crossing. Our last hit out was at Tarawera last year, Dennis ran him self into the ground trying to stay with me early, blew up and grovelled home. Silly really, because I quit at 36km.
There’s more back stories to Northburn though. Michael Beaumont and I have known each other for some time. Several Keplers, the Heaphy already mentioned, where Mike passed me mid way, I got him back after 3/4 and he finally got the last laugh with 5K to go. I’ve never beaten him and he’s never run this far. The best race we’ve had is the only 100k race I’ve finished. Naseby in 2009. I lead for about 78 km, in the remaining 22km Michael passed me and put 22 minute son me. Finishing 3rd that day is current Northburn champion Glenn Sutton.
So while I’ve never beaten Michael, Glenn has never beaten me and Dennis and I have wins and losses. If Cox and/or Lukes stuff it up we’ll be there. But I’m not training. I’m not really interested in it. I’m quite happy just making sure I’m injury free and having fun. Races over 100k seem to be where I have fun and success too. So I don’t think training hard will help too much anyway.
In the plot above, which represents the distance I have run each day since I began in 2004, are 6 points above 100km. They are all in event that require little in the way of speed and involve a lot of tactics and walking. Northburn is a walking race and requires some skill. Sure you have to be fit, but it’s 90+% in the head.
Like all races it’s as easy as you want it to be. I haven’t been running very much, I don’t really want to, so I wanted it to be quite easy. While I don’t really want to run I still want to do events, really hard ones, they’re fun. So I’ve chopped my running in half, no more twice a day runs to and from work. More biking, more recovery and no long runs. I’ve also employed the services of a coach by proxy. I don’t have to pay them anything, they don’t even know they’re coaching me. But if you ask the right questions and look in the right places you can get a program written for you. I feel a bit stink doing it like that, but the information is out there and it’s not rocket science, my injuries are going away and I’m happy about that. A bit fat, but happy none the less.
Back to the Big Easy. It’s no secret that I like what Ed and Terry at Highland Events do. They are outdoors people, Ed climbs and Terry likes his Adventure Racing and tramping. Their events are not “corporatist” and might be described as no frills. There are however a LOT of prizes. The Big Easy was initially started as an MTB race from the Snow Farm, over the Pisa Range, down to Luggate and over the flats to Albert Town. A marathon has been held in conjunction, for I think, 3 years now. It’s easy because it’s downhill. 801m of climb and 2089m of descent in the accurately measured 42.2km I know it’s accurate because Ed said so as we walked towards a random bend on the track some 500m away from where we’d be let of the pass which itself was some random flat on the tracks above the Snow Farm Lodge. It was apparent that it did in fact have to start at that corner to make it a Marathon and not 43km or 41km or some other number that would have been logistically easier to start from.
When we were let of the bus to start walking Mr Jarvis and I promptly walked of up the hill discussing future domination of the World Hide and Seek Championships and everyone followed. Why people followed us I’m not sure, we were going the wrong way. What the hell would we know about directions? So eventually we started, I wanted an easy run, just training for Northburn. But Robert had entered so team supremacy was back on the cards. In a pathetic display of athleticism Robert and walked faster than me to the finish of the Kepler.
So of I went, chasing after the Superstar Spaniard Luis Alonso Marcos. We had 9km of uphill to run at a very nice gradient. I trotted along happily letting Luis run away, hoping that he would be rubbish on the 21km long and technical downhill. He wasn’t rubbish and seemed to grow the gap on all the little down-hills At the top he had 2-3 minutes and at the bottom it was nearly 10, that’s the way it stayed. Fun bloke with mega quads who has had a very cool year running all over the world.
The course itself is stunning if you like big open exposed and rocky surfaces which I do. Lake McKay was a treat and I’d love to go back and visit the place, camp for a night and just sit, look and wonder. The last 10k isn’t the greatest, but that is due to the wisdom of DOC not allowing the use of the Upper Clutha River Track. Ed and Terry have done a great job with the help of landowners and working out a zig-zag type route across paddocks, the airfield and roads to take us back to the finish at the Albert Town Pub. It’s undulating, I should have saved more for it and it was hot. 30+ degrees. So I crossed the line as a disgraceful, flabby bellied, shirtless 40-year-old wearing white lycra. Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to be ill. It’s so wrong but very comfortable.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and shit my hamstrings hurt. I really should do some more training But I’m not going to. I’m pleased the Big Easy has stuck to the last weekend in January, it has clashed with two other events in the past, but they have shifted and the timing suits preparation for other events. There were at least 6 out there who will be toeing the line at Northburn.
The Bixley’s will be back next year. We had a great weekend.
Run of the Day
Mel Aitken winning the women’s race. Mel is relatively new to ‘racing’ having only been making a serious attempt at running for a year or so. She won the Dunedin marathon last year in 3:12 after running a 3:20 in Christchurch. Now hitting the trails and getting better it’s great to see some depth being added to the women’s fields. BCR got a short interview with her at the finish.
Silvervision have a bunch of very cool photo’s as well
|Luis Alonso Marcos||
edit: deMonkey got shitty with my grammer and spelling. Fair enough.