In the middle of my training for 6FT we were going to be on holiday in NZ so it was a good excuse to try and get some awesome training in. As well as a number of ace training runs in Rotorua I jumped onto https://www.runningcalendar.co.nz/ and found out about the Tussocks Traverse a 26k run between two active volcanos in the middle of the North Island.
And somehow I managed to persuade my wife to join me for this one. Given she still claims not to be a runner and her longest run when she signed up was only 15k I was super excited for her to test herself on a longer race!
The race started eventfully with a bus journey to the start line (it’s a one way race) where the bus got bogged down and we had to get off and walk 3k to the start line… Uphill… Thankfully another bus was able to pick us up and we jumped on board and saved ourselves the extra ks.
At the start line there was a traditional blessing from the traditional Maori of the land and soon we were on our way trudging up our first hill of the day. I warned Jules to take it easy knowing what energy we could save now would help her later on.
The first few ks are on more of a dirt road than trail but it’s great to not get any bottle necking and get a chance for the field to spread out a little. But soon you’re on some amazing easy trails winding through some spectacular landscapes with snow-capped mountains and the shadow of Mount Doom looming over you. It’s one of the prettiest places that I have ever ran. I’ve not got much of a race report for this one as I’ll let the photos to the talking.
The race is a pretty runnable course but also offers a walking course. There was an older guy walking who we kept overtaking on the flats but he would catch us on the hills. He was a legend!
Soon we were over the halfway mark and I was really pleased to see how well Jules was running. Shortly we’d be passing the longest she’d ever ran but still with quite a few extra ks to get through…
The trail passes through some bushwhacking sections and across some small streams all the while being surrounded by the most beautiful scenery. It was a delight to run.
The last few ks were pretty tough for Jules as the reality of the 26ks took hold but with a few gentle pushes up the hills the finish line was soon in sight. With a final push we were able to cross the finish line with a quick sprint finish and one of the best finish line photos ever! Check out that synchronisation!!!
A great race that I would highly recommend to all levels of runners. I’d love to return and race this one solo as I think it is a great runnable course but it was absolutely awesome to do it with the Mrs and enjoy the scenery.
And for her first long distance race we did pretty good coming in at 3:29:25 and 36 and 37 females (and she even pipped me to the post the cheeky cow 😂)