Routeburn Track turns on weather
Endurance athletes find going tough in challenging conditions
Rain, wind and fog created challenging race conditions but could not deter runners taking part in 12th annual Routeburn Classic adventure run on Saturday.
The exclusive 33km race was staged on New Zealand’s world famous Routeburn Track, through Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, and attracted some of the country’s top male and female endurance racers.
Welshman Hywel Dinnick, 25, was able to take top honours in the men’s section, while Kat Reynolds, of Waimauku, was able to take out the women’s section.
Dinnick, who has lived in Queenstown for 18 months, was a first-time Routeburn competitor whose only experience of the track was when he and friend ran in both ways in one day over the Christmas break.
He said he felt ‘‘pretty confident’’ early on.
‘‘It was tough though; the weather was atrocious and there was a very strong headwind between McKenzie Hut and the Harris Saddle.
Reynolds, 24, who only took up trail running as a weight loss tool two years ago, has been on a roll in 2015, having recently won the Coast to Coast Mountain Run and come second in the Hillary 34k trail run.
‘‘I’ve done pretty well with three podiums in three events so far this year,’’ Reynolds said.
‘‘I tramped the Routeburn over summer with my family but I’ve never run it, and even in that terrible weather I still loved every second of it,’’ she said.
Race organiser Evan McWhirter said after a number of benign years with good weather, it was possibly time for a more challenging event.
Routeburn Classic adventure run winner Hywel Dinnick, 25, of Queenstown.
Routeburn Classic adventure run women’s section winner Kat Reynolds, of Waimauku.