Rotorua Rainbow Kiltathlon

Saturday, 9am. The Redwoods, Rotorua.  A morose grey sky, a fresh breeze and a tipple of Jameson.

Perfect conditions for a 34k run on the Black Track. We set off. Fourteen guys and gals in Buffs, Hokas, and kilts. And frilly tutus.  It was a Kiltathon, after all.

I’m fast learning that trail runners are a bit different. A bit nutty. And a bit keen on getting their hairy legs into pink tulle.

One of these dudes (dressed entirely in pink) started running at 6.30am, meeting with us at 9am to scoff an ice cream and chug from the whiskey bottle.

Needless to say, it was an eventful run.

And a long run. With only one mankey between us (mankey = man-sized handkerchief with the map printed on it) we had to stop at every fork in the trail and argue about which turn to take. Or at least, stand back whilst the guys argued.

Amazingly, we only had to backtrack once;  partly the fault of the tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-them black arrows marking the track and partly the fault of a certain Princess Anne leading the way.

Tutus aside, it was a beautiful trek. Anyone who’s done Tarawera (which seems to be nearly everyone) knows that every hundred metres is different, every twist and turn brings you either green forest, a lake edge or, well, a bulldozed clearing. Selfies happened.

Some four and a half hours later – with the snorts, jeers and remarks from witty mountain bikers ringing in our ears – we arrived back at the carpark. To refuel and de-tutu. Cake and beer went down. Tutus came off.

Fantastic fun. Lock it for next  year. Real men wear skirts (apparently).

Report by Katie Stone