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Taupo you beauty! Last weekend I took part in the Taupo Ultramarathon. Being the inaugural, we were the first to take on this amazing, well-organised event! Everything down to the finer details was in place, and it all showed on race day! Being a ‘spring chicken’ I was a novice to ultras, and therefore took part in my first 50km race.

The day started out with drizzle and light winds – Pretty much a perfect race day… Well, sort of! Dad had mentioned something earlier about taking it easy, but knowing me I took off. I felt great so I just ran. The first 10km’s was stunning, we made our way down through the bush on winding single track to Lake Taupo. The first aid station was quiet, but a nice place to pause and take my jacket off.

Unfortunately, I did start a little fast, and found myself struggling as we hit the first hill. I found my feet and eventually I made it into Kinloch, the halfway point. A lovely little town, with lakefront views and excellent aid stations. It was only halfway, with the majority of ‘climbing’ to still be done, but I felt relatively good!

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Being a young one, the medics were worried, but I told them I could handle myself and I made my way along the streets of the lakefront town onto the climb. The climb was long and gradual, but after a bit of running and power hiking, I made my way to the second to last aid station tucked away in the bush.

A SHOUTOUT to the young boys there who provided Cola and pretzels and of course told me it was only 18.6km’s to the finish! A simple half marathon right?! Now it was time for the well-deserved downhill which took us around the headlands and gave spectacular views of sunlit Lake Taupo.

It was a nice surprise to slowly pass runners on my way down, and being seen as an incredibly young person running the 50km, I picked up many shouts and cheers. They motivated me! The last aid station was only 8km’s from the finish, so rather than having an awfully long yarn, I was quick. But not quick enough! Grant Guise, the Altra legend caught me with the words “There’s this lady right up my ass!”. He jokingly asked me to pace him, but I kindly declined based on the fact he was running four-minute kilometres on the back of some 90km’s!

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The final descent was hard but memorable, and the finish shoot was an amazing experience! But most of all were the faces when Kerry Suter (SquadRun legend) explained my age! It was something I’ll never forget! If you think 50km’s is bad for a 16-year-old, well think again! I’m planning to be back in 2017 to take on the 100km! There’s a goal!

Thank you’s go to Will and the TotalSport team for the amazing event! Congratulations to dad for his first 100km finish and well done to everyone who participated! With this ticked off…

BRING ON OLD GHOST ULTRA 2017!

By Yonni Kepes

Thanks to OSM NZ for fuelling me on my adventures. Check out their product; www.osm.nz/yonni 

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