Thursday, May 23, 2013

Race Report: Blackmores Xterra Auckland Trail Series #1

Otherwise Known As:
The Hardest Run In My Life...

In the weekend we drove to Shakespear Regional Park about an hour north of the city, where the first race in the Blackmores Xterra Auckland Trail Series was being held. I entered on the day so I hope that still means I can be part of the series, as you accumulate points over the six races to determine your eventual placing, and I'd love to do all the rest.  This year I am concentrating on the Mid Course runs which vary from 10-14km, and this one was 10.7km long.

Event Base Camp

Halfway through this run I was cursing Total Sport, the event company that organises it. Grinding my way up yet another hill, and looking across the stream of runners in the distance ascending and descending many more hills to come, and I seriously thought of taking down the "I love Total Sport" in my blog side bar and replacing it with "I loathe Total Sport". But funny thing, the moment I crossed the finish line I wondered why I ever thought such ridiculous thing, and now I can't wait for the next event in Riverhead Forest.  Apparently it's muddy.....

These races take you to amazing places that just make you want to jump in the air, and they always leave me on a runner's high for a few days afterwards.

At the giant hill halfway through the course, I looked up to see my family taking a photo of me walking up the hill.

Well, yeah - doesn't every runner want a photo of themselves walking to show off to friends and family?!  I didn't feel so bad when I saw this photo of the leading men walking too!

There really was no other way up that hill.  At one stage I pulled to the side for a quick breather, and a guy behind me doing the long course said "C'mon, let's do it!", I replied "OK, no stopping!" and carried on climbing.  His encouragement gave us all a burst of energy.  

C'mon, let's do it - it's my new mantra.

I'm making this part of the post really long and drawn out - like the hill itself...

Thankfully there was a drink station at the top.  The rest of the course continued undulating along the ridge to the end of the peninsula where there were fantastic views.

I came a gutser twice.  First my foot slipped out from under me on a muddy downhill and I earned a sexy slick of mud up my right side.   That fall was kinda fun.  The second fall kinda wasn't.   Descending the wooden steps to the beach, I slipped on a U-turn and fell on the 'non-slip' netting.  I'm so glad the netting was plastic and not wire!  And big thanks to all the ladies behind me who checked I was alright - trail runners are awesome!

The final stretch was along the beach, and I admit to taking a quick walk break halfway along.  Then you run up, over the small sand dune, and down to the finish.

For the first time ever, I raised my hands in victory at the finish - I was so relieved to be done!  The photographer didn't quite capture it, but you can see my relief in the race photos.

I finished in 1:14:03, 30th out of 61 in my age group. I'm the classic mid-packer!

Oh, and after the race, in the long queue for a Jimmy's organic sausage and Speight's, I got talking and both the runners ahead of me slipped on the same hairpin bend on the steps!  Although I had the best injuries:

My shoes performed well - I didn't notice them at all so I suppose that means a pass.  I know I fell a couple of times, but one was in a really muddy spot, and the other - well, I knew that foot plant was risky in the microsecond before I took it...

So that's my 4th trail race this year in Jill's 13 in 2013 challenge - only 9 more to go so I better hurry up.

Happy running!


  1. AnonymousMay 24, 2013

    The photos are simply gorgeous!
    And wow- that sounds like a challenging race! I'm glad you're ok after the falls. And trail runners do sound like a great group of people!
    I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing about the other races in the series!

  2. Wow, beautiful pictures from the race, but looks tough! :)

  3. Your photos remind me why I love trail running! Beautiful! I'm curious about your shoes. I've been looking for new trail shoes and the closest I've come to deciding has been Merrill's.

    WTG with your 13 in 2013! I just ran trail race #6 last weekend!

    1. Oh I have some catching up to do!
      This is the first trail run I've done in these shoes and they felt good. They are 'Door to Trail' but to be honest I haven't loved them running around town, and I would buy the dedicated trail shoe next time. They aren't a minimal shoe (?9mm drop) but they are strong and stable, and I think they will be good for long distances. Good luck shoe shopping!

  4. Wow, gorgeous photos! I have love trail running but haven't had a chance to do much of it lately. I miss it, and your post is really making me want to go run somewhere really cool! :)

  5. AnonymousMay 25, 2013

    That was such an amazing spot for a run! And awesome work on the timing there! See you in Riverhead!

  6. Woah- that is one intense race, but it looks gorgeous! I've never done an off-road race... I really need to one of these days!

  7. What a gorgeous place to run! Love the views!

  8. Beautiful pictures, looks like an amazing course!!!!


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