Updated: May 23, 2021
Another UTA weekend has come and gone. This one quite a different event to previous, due to 'the virus'. Having had now two years to prepare both mentally and physically for this event has been a task for all, especially those preparing for the 100km. It was on, then it was postponed to later in 2020, then cancelled once again till last weekend. Quite the roller coaster.
Lining up on the start line for 2020, we saw many faces both new and old and everyone with a smile or was it a grimace in the cold and windy conditions! For myself, I was simply grateful to be able to be there and compete over the re-configured 22km course. My goal was to enjoy the day, run my best and keep smiling through the pain, and believe me there was a lot of that going on particularly during the ascent of more than 5000 stairs.
Due to the virus the organisers had to re-think how they ran this event and to their credit they did a marvellous job. Starts were staggered even more than in previous years, and the 22km course requiring a KCC start rather than the standard Queen Vic Hospital which would have needed shuttle buses (not COVID safe!). A very technical course ensued. I loved the nature, the rock scrambling and the single track through the wonderful blue mountains bushland. Others did not share my enthusiasm!!
The 50km and 100km races were over the same courses as previously, however the weather, being very cold, wet and windy did no-one any favours. The 100km runners particularly had to brave freezing winds and sleet during their day out on the trail. Having run a number of Ironman triathlons does not compare in any way to running for up to 24 hours in one hit. I do however understand the mindset and that any endurance event requires so much mental strength.
The body is driven by how much our minds stay focused on the task at hand and the ability to out think the body's signals and little/big niggles, tummy upsets and overcoming the hallucinations that beset one once you are past the point of exhaustion and have to keep going. Caroline Wilson running once again in the 100km had to go through all of this and as she says, " Got a bit colder & windy after CP5 & my stomach said it’s time to rest & digest ! So it was hiking from then on. An amazing tough event but I may just be back next year crazy" Crazy and astonishing effort Caroline, and having said that I may just join you next year.
Caroline finished her 100km in 21.14.47
Many of our friends and hiking buddies also competed this year, some of them for the first time. Deb Armstrong completing her 22km in 3.54.26, Kerry Pymble 11km 1.44.33. Others returning to tackle this relentless course; Ange Wagland 22km 3.32.54, Philio Georgiades who rolled her ankle during the run and still fought through the discomfort to finish in 5.48.21.
& yours truly for my 2nd UTA22km 4.35.4. Congratulations to all who made it to the start line and also to finish.
If you are looking to take this on for next year or join many of us in New Zealand in February 2022 for the Tarawera Ultra it is truly a challenge that is worthwhile.
If you are looking for some training guidance take a look at some of the following options and of course talk to me about anything you might need as we work with many highly. recommended equipment providers such as