New 50kmul­tra off-road marathon

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

A Manawatu ridge-run­ning event that started as an in­for­mal 15-per­son pack run is back as a triple-headed mon­ster.

The North Range Trio builds on last year’s dou­ble run event to in­clude the re­gion’s first 50-kilo­me­tre event, the Love My Sport Catch­ment Ul­tra.

Race di­rec­tor Gerry le Roux said the in­au­gu­ral 2016 North Range Tra­verse and Hall Block Humdinger, along closed roads through the Te Rere Hau and Tararua wind farms, of­fered run­ners two op­tions - a run just shy of 25km from the top of the Pahiatua Track to the Ferry Re­serve at Bal­lance, and an 11km outand-back up-and-down run from the re­serve.

For this year’s event a 50km race, the re­gion’s first and only off-road ul­tra marathon, has been in­tro­duced, while the dis­tances for the other two races have been stan­dard­ised.

The Tilt Re­new­ables North Range Tra­verse is now 25km and the Salm­ing Hall Block Humdinger is 12.5km.

Le Roux said they had aimed for 200 en­tries last year but the event took off and re­ceived more than 300 en­tries from keen run­ners.

Although bad weather on the day forced the event to move from Satur­day to Sun­day and about 250 en­trants took part.

The event, aimed at be­ing af­ford­able to en­ter, had grown quickly, Le Roux said.

‘‘It’s un­der­gone a rapid evo­lu­tion. Each run now dou­bles the dis­tance of the one be­neath it. It’s the first of its type in Manawatu.‘‘

A Manawatu Strid­ers mem­ber, Le Roux said he worked along­side the club while look­ing to put on events that were a bit dif­fer­ent.

‘‘On the na­tional scene, [ul­tra run­ning] and the slightly longer off-road run­ning events are grow­ing, and there’s a lack of these sorts of events in Manawatu.’’

Le Roux hoped the 50km event would ap­peal to run­ners aim­ing at the Taupo 100km ul­tra event in Oc­to­ber.

‘‘It’s a new event, too, that started last year, and our 50km Catch­ment Ul­tra would make a nice step­ping stone to that.’’

Love My Sport di­rec­tor and ath­lete Chris San­son said they were ex­cited to be sup­port­ing a new event that was unique to the Manawatu re­gion.

‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ence you get run­ning with the wind­mills is in­cred­i­ble and the fact you are up so high makes you feel like you’re in the land of gi­ants,’’ San­son said.

‘‘Par­tic­i­pants from out of town are in for a treat.’’

More of a fun event than strictly com­pet­i­tive, last year’s run was char­ac­terised by hav­ing home bak­ing at one of the aid sta­tions, hand­made fin­ish­ers’ medals and cups of home­made soup.

Reg­is­tra­tions are open for the North Range Trio events at northrange­tra­verse.co.nz.

PHOTO: GAVIN TEAHAN

Par­tic­i­pants on the 2016 North Range run among the wind tur­bines.

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