Well. . . Lets just say that Taupo was awesome, and it certainly put on its best winter weather for this event!
Ok, let’s rewind a bit and start at the beginning. . .
PRE RACE SETTLING IN BIT :
So I planned to run the full marathon in this event for a number of reasons:
- Because I love running marathons.
- Approx. half this course was a trail run.
- I love traveling and running.
- The event was sponsored by Hoka NZ (If you follow me on Instagram, you will understand my love/obsession with Hoka running shoes)
- Some of my favorite running friends were gonna be there.
- Someone was bringing me a surprise (it turned out to be my favorite north island based brownie cake. . . Yummmm).
- And after qualifying for the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, i just wanted to go out and run a marathon for the sheer joy of it.
Ok, I could probably fill this page with reasons, however the ramblings of this old runner are hard enough to stomach, so on with the story.
Flying into Taupo and settling into my Airbnb was all pretty straight forward. Finding a brilliant local coffee shop was easy, as one of my Instagram friends, @runner.running, who lives in Taupo had already given me the heads up on the best places to go.
Caught up with my favorite bestie and talked about all things running and life for a bit (Hint. . . she’s also an ambassador on this site).
RACE EVE :
Right. Apart from my pre race meal, which I won’t go into here. My evening before a race is pretty much the same each time.
So I usually check the weather forecast and lay out all my gear as required. This includes clothing including a handy disposable plastic rain poncho, shoes, GPS watch, nutrition, race pack info and bib, Bodyglide and anti chaffing items, any bus passes or parking/entry tickets, a $20 note I slip into my running shorts, as i like to get a coffee or a massage straight away after i cross the finish line, usually before I pick up my race bag from the bag drop tent/kiosk.
Then I go through the pre race/post race info several times, including where the drink stations are, course elevation and maps, and double checking the start time.
Then the obligatory Instagram flat Ian race gear pic and post. That’s about it. . .kinda boring and routine really. . . However it gets my head in the game and I go to sleep easier.
RACE DAY :
Woke up to freezing cold wind and rain, and a possible snow forecast. . . well that’s race day for ya folks. You never know what’s gonna happen.
Chatting with one of the Hoka Athletes (Curly Jacobs) on the bus ride up, he suggested a slower steady pace for the first part of the course. And as he had run it the previous year, I took his advice and decided to go out very conservatively.
So as we lined up to start, the first few drops of snow/sleet started to fall.
Well. . . The first 20kms of the race was a slippery, muddy, undulating trail, that I fell over on a few times. I even managed to damage my knee and rip my shoe in one fall. . . However, I was there to race, so just got up, and got on with it.
Because of the trail being so muddy, I settled back into a very slow, steady pace, and just worked on staying upright and moving forward. This paid off, as when I hit the lakefront and paved road, I had plenty left in the tank to pick things up a bit.
So the best bit about starting slowly was getting faster and faster during the last 10kms of the race. Finally crossing the finish line and placing 1st in age group (45-49) and 8th overall.
RACE RECAP :
For me, this race was a great event. I actually loved the course, as it was a mix of trails and road. The course marshals and event planning was on point. The scenery was amazing, and on a fine day, it would be spectacular. I would definitely put this on my “to do” list of New Zealand marathons.
A big shout out to all the winners and runners who turned up and got out there on the day. Especially those of you who came up to me for a chat pre/ post race. Thanks to the event sponsors and organizers. Thanks to my friends old and new that I met in Taupo. And thanks to Taupo and its wonderful, friendly people for hosting all these crazy runners.
Happy running everyone.