First foggy 5k a chilly chal­lenge

Central Otago Mirror - - SPORT -

Through thick fog, mud and ice, and with the grace of an ele­phant I com­pleted my first race. I agreed to run 5 kilo­me­tres of a 10km run of the Cromwell Bike Park fundraiser last week in a re­lay with friend Elise Ve­len­ski.

Prepa­ra­tion for the run had been next to noth­ing as dur­ing the week I had been sick, my son had chicken pox and on Satur­day I had a blow-out with the neigh­bour and drank too much wine.

So come race day, I was less than op­ti­mistic about my chances of run­ning well. I just wanted to com­plete it.

Rush­ing from work, I had to change in my car parked in a pad­dock (sorry to the man be­side me who had just fin­ished a bike race), be­fore run­ning through bog to get reg­is­tered. I bumped into Terry who chided me for not bring­ing gloves and of­fered me his stinky sweaty head-neck band to keep my neck warm. Thanks, but I would rather have a cold neck that wear that pongy thing again I told him (he loaned it to me dur­ing a cold train­ing ses­sion dur­ing the week).

I kind of re­gret­ted not tak­ing it be­cause it was ab­so­lutely freez­ing out there, and the fog was so thick I could hardly see the mark­ers ahead of me.

‘‘Geez, I hope I don’t get lost,’’ I thought as I watched the run­ners bolt ahead of me.

Terry had warned ev­ery­one to take care be­cause parts of the course were ex­tremely slip­pery with mud and ice.

The first up­hill stint had my calves burn­ing and the snarky lit­tle de­mon in my head started whis­per­ing taunts – ‘‘How are you go­ing to han­dle the North­burn 50km Moun­tain Run? You can’t even run up a hill for five min­utes with­out want­ing to stop.’’

‘‘Be quiet,’’ I snapped to my­self and in­stead fo­cussed on a lady in a bright pink top ahead of me and made it my mis­sion to not let her get out of my sight.

I passed a few farm dogs on my trav­els, and as I neared the end, feel­ing like I had achieved some­thing a boy on a bike was parked at a check­point.

‘‘Are you on your sec­ond lap?’’, he asks.

‘‘No I’m not,’’ I cried back, and with that I took off, de­ter­mined to get up speed for my poor re­lay part­ner wait­ing for her turn.

The fog was so thick I couldn’t see any­one, but I could hear voices. Then, ap­pear­ing like a an­gel en­veloped in mist, I could see the yel­low jacket of Elise who started cheer­ing me on.

Get­ting ex­cited, I lost con­cen­tra­tion and be­fore I knew it my legs, bum, arms were in the air and I landed with a thud on the wet ground and started skid­ding downhill. Nurs­ing a sore tail bone I hob­bled my way across the fin­ish line grate­ful the fog had shrouded the em­bar­rass­ing end to my first race. ◗ Mu­mand re­porter Jo McKenzieMcLean is tak­ing on one of the big­gest chal­lenges of her life train­ing for the North­burn Sta­tion 50km moun­tain run.

Rear­ing to go: Ja­nine Branje, Shelly Cor­nish, Jo Mcken­zie-McLean and Elise Ve­len­ski ready to race at Cromwell Bike Park fundraiser.

Misty eyed: Jo Mcken­zie-McLean hob­bles through fog over the fin­ish line of her first race.

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