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.