Ultra run ‘cruel’ but satisfying

March 05, 2018 - 57 views

The pain will only be temporary, but the satisfaction of completing New Zealand’s first ultra staged run will last a lifetime.


On Saturday, 100 competitors from the 125 that entered the race crossed the finish line of the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, a 316km staged ultra endurance race on and around the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail, which extends from Aoraki/Mt Cook to Oamaru, over seven stages in seven days.

Self-supported runners had to carry their own food, sleeping mat, sleeping bag and other compulsory items for the entire seven days, while supported runners had their food and bedding carried for them to the end of each stage.

The first supported runner to cross the finish line at Friendly Bay was Australian James Kohler in an overall time of 35hr 23min, the fastest of all runners.

Wellington’s Brendan Thompson was the first self-supported runner home, in a time of 37hr 15min.

Thompson said the gruelling event had left him shattered but satisfied.

"The body’s trashed. It’s absolutely trashed. The course was really hard.

"The most challenging part was probably just the mental side. Then there’s the long and hard tracks, getting up early every day when your legs are aching, you don’t sleep and the food you eat is pretty awful.

"It was so much harder than any other race I have done."

Hailing from the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Kohler lost 6kg over the course of the race.

He said the first couple of days went smoothly, before fatigue started to set in.

To make matters worse, he also battled a leg infection.

"Getting going with the aches and pains was tough. I haven’t been that dehydrated before either. From the big 90km stage on day three and four my leg had swollen up and the doctor gave me some antibiotics. That made it very tough."

In other results, the first self-supported female to finish was Jane Ovington, of the UK (46hr 31min), and the first supported female athlete was Sam Yarnold, of Australia (40hr 46min). Alps 2 Ocean Ultra organiser Mike Sandri, who greeted each runner at the finish line and presented them with a medal, said he was proud of each competitor and the 15 countries they represented.

He said the race had achieved its goal of offering a challenging course that pushed the athletes to their limits.

"It’s better than I ever thought it could be. I knew it would be good, but all of these people from all over the world are absolutely buzzing about it.

"There’s been some hard and cruel days. There is a lot of people saying it was incredibly hard out there."

Race times and placings can be viewed on the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Facebook page.


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