Congratulations to all Hawks/Hawks-friends on their efforts at Tarawera. The Hawks aid station was a huge effort, and got great feedback from runners. Big thanks to the team for making that happen and getting our club name out there.
Kovo MacDonald had a fantastic run to come 5th woman in a world-class field in the 100k, finishing in 9.57. Ants Hancy was 9th male in a stellar 9.08, which Hadley reports on below. Orla Heron was first woman in the 85k.
As you can also read about below, Kerry Suter, Phill Murray, Jai Davies-Campell and Garit Read were first team in. Dion Hardy knocked the 100 off in 12.18. Ceana Priest also completed her first 100k, in 12.41. Lisa Joblin did the 60k (8.36), as did Bridget Spragg-Mclaughlin (9.47). Jean Dorrell was having so much fun on her 60k that she kept going to 85k (12.35).
Various Hawks teams placed in the top 10. Now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t Dan Philpott completed the 60k on a rumoured regime of only three training runs. Sorry to anyone I’ve missed – there was Hawks everywhere! Tarawera Ultra 2015: How We Nearly Didn’t.
By Katie Stone. The night before Tarawera, we did all the right things. We didn’t run. We didn’t have beer. We didn’t stay up late. We were good boys and girls. We loaded up on carbs and protein and coconut water. We packed our bags and laid out our freshly-laundered running gear. We compared head torches. We discussed, for the hundredth time, who was running which leg, and why, and who had to be where at what time. We set our alarms. We went to bed. In the middle of the night, the phone rang. Why… phone….bloody… who calls… middle of the night… “F***! Guys! It’s 5.26am! F*$%!!!” Four minutes, that’s all it took. Four minutes and we were awake, out of bed, dressed, packed, bathroomed and belting down the dimly-lit street to Charlie’s car. Twenty minutes, and I was shivering alongside hundreds of other headlamped lycra-clad runners at the start line of Tarawera Ultra Marathon. With a good deal more sleep and a good deal less breakfast. Trish – calm, groomed and already digesting her 4am toast and coffee – was mildly amused. “Sleep in, did ya?” Later, after the shock had worn off, we found that Charlie’s alarm had been set for 4.20 PM, not AM. My alarm, we still don’t know. Either we slept through it or it just didn’t go off. I blame Samsung. In hindsight, the adrenaline surge of our near-fatal error probably served me well. I fairly zoomed through the first leg, tripping only twice (spectacularly) and flying in to the first transition at something like 1:31 (apparently quite good). I even managed to appreciate the stunning beauty of the Redwoods, the Blue Lake and all that other neat foresty stuff. Tennent’s Track, however, had me cursing the sheer ignorance of misplaced tree roots. Trish skipped away just after 7.30am, hot on the heels of that other Hawks team (with another on hers). Charlie took up the next leg at Okataina, where the supporters were deafening and the Nutella sandwiches were too-too excellent. We sent Kevin off into the dust at Tarawera Falls before casually recruiting a worn-out Charlie as our waiter (“Just grab me another bacon-and-egg pie, please Charlie mate? Oh – and another sandwich? Oh, and …” Then it was back to Kawerau to await our final runner (who finished in time to place us as sixth team in!) and see those crazy folk finish the100km. And laze in the sun, talking about that leg and this leg and that bit with the hill and did you see that guy who… And drink beer. And laugh about how we nearly, very nearly, missed the whole goddam event.
Antz vs the 100 – a coach report
Hadley Craig Anthony “Little Brown Runner” Hancy (aka Antz) was rather excited about the prospect of running the full 100km at the 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon. Amongst other reasons, it would make up for the minor let down of the race having to be shortened to 73km in 2014 due to Cyclone Luci. Regardless of the adverse weather conditions that year, Antz placed 13th overall in the long course race and also claimed the honour of 3rd placed Kiwi, in a star studded international line-up. This year Antz had something to prove to himself. He had trained to finish strong and very much wanted to improve his overall placing. His efforts would surpass his own expectations, and admittedly, mine as his coach.
Through the help of Craig and the team at Hoka One One New Zealand and Colin at Trek ‘n’ Travel (Hamilton), Antz rocked up to the start line kitted up with a much needed new pair of Hoka One One Huakas and some Ultimate Direction hydration gear. The original plan was for Antz to take it easy until he reached the Okataina aid station, where I would see him for the first time during the race. On his arrival, well ahead of schedule, I pointed out to Antz what his pacing was like and politely suggested that he “take it a bit easier” until he reaches the 60km mark at Tarawera Falls. He had reached Okataina (37.3km) in 3:11:29; equating to 5 minutes and 8 seconds per km. Fortunately, according to his next split at the falls, and his own word, he had slowed down enough to regain some of the composure that he appeared to be lacking at Okataina; to say the least, he was in great shape. Antz arrived at Tarawera Falls a little over five and a half hours (5:35:34) into the race. His average pace had slowed, thankfully, to 5 minutes and 33 seconds per km; still almost half a minute per kilometre faster than our race plan. It was at Tarawera Falls that I joined Antz. With just on 40km to go, I was still amazed at how composed he was. Nonetheless, we set off from the falls to tackle the last 40km together. We discussed our plan of attack as we ran the first few kms, “walk the hills fast to save the quads, then work the downhills and smash the flats”. We hit the 70km mark 52 minutes after leaving the falls; 5 minutes and 8 seconds per km for the 10km section. Somewhere around this point was passed a very cool calm and collected Chris Morrissey, whom we had seen at the falls. He too was in great shape and looked well in control of the task at hand. We slowly crept away from Chris as we maintained our momentum. Although we both felt comfortable with the pace, the 70-80km was a little slower than the previous 10km. We certainly made up for this ‘slow section’ with the following, and final, 20km. We covered the next 10km (80-90km) in 48 minutes flat; a smashing 4 minutes and 48 seconds per km average. This amazed me given how far Antz had already run. It was obvious that his hard work in training had paid off, and that he was also keen to ‘get this over with’. With 10km to go, Antz went through his only real rough patch, which surprisingly only lasted for three or four km. With less than six to go, Antz could see the woods through the trees and I could see that he was confident that the run was going to end with his head held high. We completed the final 10km section in just on 52 minutes. Antz crossed the line in 9 hours, 8 minutes and 26 seconds; over 50 minutes ahead of his goal time, and 20 minutes ahead of his expected best case scenario. Antz had run the second 50km faster than the first and together we had passed five 100km runners in the final 30km of the race, pushing Antz into 10th place overall (9th male; 2nd Kiwi). Antz, you are amazing. The sky is the limit. I am so proud of you; as a coach, as a friend. Chur.
Congratulations to all the solo entrants and team runners that took part in the event; what a fantastic achievement. Big thanks go out to Paul Charteris, Tim Day, their sponsors and all the volunteers for making the event happen. My final thanks go out to Anthony’s sponsors, Hoka One One New Zealand and Trek ‘n’ Travel (Hamilton).
Please sir, can I run some more?
Jean Dorrell I entered TUM 60km on 1 June after a month where lots of stuff in my life went wrong, except for running, so the obvious solution was…run further.
My training was alternative/haphazard but it seemed to work out OK on the day. I arrived at the start line full of energy and with minimal nerves. My goal was to complete my longest run ever with a smile on my face.
I started near the back in the company of the most watched runner of TUM, Paul Charteris, and a few of the more entertaining TUM returnees such as Nat Thompson and Ash. This meant constant cheering for the first 5km or so. Yes, I suspected that it wasn’t for me but I just ignored that suspicion and enjoyed my moment of glory.
I had been switching between the ideas of 60km vs 85km for the previous few months and had initially decided to train for 85 but stay with my 60k entry and continue further on the day if I felt like it. Then I was told this was not an option so I dropped the training plan back to 60km. And then at the race briefing I was told that so long as you weren’t wanting to be on the podium, you could change your mind during the race.
I insisted to all my running buddies that night that I was not going to do that. Evidently few believed me! At about 10km mark I decided that so long as my body was not screaming at 60km, I was going to run (or crawl) to Kawerau.
I had plans for the three legs in my mind: Leg 1 start at back and run or walk slowly until Blue Lake, then first real run, followed by a tiptoe over Tennants Track as no desire to fall over this early. Leg 2 was a walk up Millers Rd and then put on music for my fastest leg. Leg 3 was enjoying the company and making sure I had enough energy left to make it to 85km. I had great support from 100km runners when I said I wanted to go to Kawerau. Not a single person laughed or suggested that maybe I should have trained for 85km, if I planned to run it.
At Tarawera Falls, my main concern was finding who I had to tell I was carrying on. And then just carrying on…walk, run, walk, run, chat, laugh, repeat.
After 25km with no familiar faces (although loads of smiling, cheering friendly unfamiliar ones) I came into Firmin Field to see the finishing chute. But my exhausted brain could not work out how to get there. Then the runner on front of me stopped and waited for me. So I crossed the finish line hand in hand and laughing with a Chinese 100km runner who I had not seen until a couple of minutes earlier. So goal – achieved. I ran more than twice the distance I had ever run before, and with a smile bigger than my face.
Tarawera – the teams
Hadley Craig With its second year of inclusion in the Ultra-Trail ® World Tour, the Tarawera Ultramarathon stepped up another gear. The calibre of the solo entrants has moved to the next level, and it seems that the teams have followed suit. The four person Team New Balance Hamilton Flyers were always expecting a tough race to defend their title, but not in the form of a formidable two person team from Wellington Scottish Athletics Club. At the end of the day, only 35 seconds would separate the victors from second place. Kerry Suter got off to a great start with a new leg 1 course record (1:13:54) on the amended course, coming in 55 seconds ahead of Stephen Day of Wellington Scottish.
New Balance’s Jai Davies-Campbell backed up Kerry’s lead with another course record (leg 2; 1:19:57), and reportedly redeemed himself for a less than satisfying result on the same leg last year. Nonetheless, a sterling effort from James Richardson of Wellington Scottish kept the NB Hamilton Flyers’ lead to a meagre 3 minutes and 42 seconds. Garit Read shined on his favourite leg from Okatina to Tarawera Falls in a blinding 1:48: 20, producing the fastest time of day for leg 3. Stephen Day’s second run of the day only cost his team a minuscule 2 minutes and 1 second; a small loss considering his competition and that he had already run 17.8km prior to starting the 22.7km leg.
Leading out from the start of the final leg, Phil Murray of Team New Balance Hamilton Flyers was handed a mere 5 minutes and 43 second lead after 60km of racing; and Wellington Scottish weren’t about to turn the heat off. In the dying stages of the race, Phil, the existing leg 4 course record holder (1:41: 32; 2012), was well on track to improve on his best time on the leg 4 and comfortably take out the win. However, due to removal of some much needed direction markers, Phil (along with a few other relay runners) ran several extra kilometres before finally making it to the finish line. The lead had faded to 35 seconds, but the New Balance Hamilton Flyers held on to narrow win over two outstanding athletes in Stephen and James of Wellington Scottish. Coincidentally, Phil’s leg 4 course record of 2012 remained unbroken.
Big thumbs up also go to New Balance’s second team at the Tarawera Ultramarathon, Team Hamilton City Hawks GBM (Oliver McLean, John Bowe, Stefan Wagner and Marc Scott), who took out 3rd place a mere 1 minute and 3 seconds over their club-mates, Team Hamilton Hawks Likely Lads (4th). Both teams were closely pursued by 5th placed Team Hamilton Hawks Masters (ironically made up of three Lake City Athletics runners).
Hawks then popped up again in 6th. Hats off also to the first all-female team home (Hawks Winging It), who secured 8th place overall.