Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Routeburn Classic Mountain Run

Jane and I raced in the Routeburn Classic, a 32.6km mountain run, this past Saturday. the Classic follows the Routeburn track, starting at the divide near Homer Tunnel on the Milford Road and finishes 32km later near Glenorchy.
Just after the Harris Saddle and just before Dan (in front) unfortunately twisted his ankle. Photo from Magic Memories
After we both had all of February out with injury we had struggled a little with motivation and I especial had trouble getting back into a good training routine.
Leading into the race I wasn't sure what to expect- I hadn't run 32km in almost 8 weeks. The longest ran I had done in a while was about 3 weeks earlier, 2h45m and I was preparing myself to be out for a hour more than that as confidence wasn't high. But I did manage to rest and eat well in the week before and was ready to get out and have some fun with the event, rather than get caught up in the "race".
It started to lightly snow as we got ready to start the race and I purposely started out slower than what I normally would, think I was in the 20-30s. As soon as the track steepened the folks in front of me went to a walking place and I knew it was time to move on. I quickly passed about 8 people and caught 2 more just after 3km. I then latched onto 2 runners, one, Dan, whom I knew from when I lived in St Arnuad 5 years earlier, and there I stayed for the next 15km. I managed to twist my ankle and hit the deck twice during this time as well as pick off another racer and we were also told we were in the top 10! 
At this stage I was both really surprised and stoked. All I was thinking was "top 10", but in a 32km mountain run a little luck always helps. Now this was defiantly not my luck, but when Dan unfortunately twisted his ankle and the other runner I had been with had the stitch, I took my chances and made my move. I of course check that Dan was not seriously injury and even offered another runner to pass me. I spent the next 11 or so km looking over my shoulder and throwing in surges (after the Coke I drank kicked in). I'd never been on the Routeburn track so it was hard going on the final few km not knowing when the finish would be. I finally rounded a bend to see the the finish line, crossing the line in 6th place, in 3hr 12min, less than 1min behind the 2007 winner and under 10mins off 3rd. 
Pretty happy and surprised to say the least!
Jane had a similar race, finishing in 54th over all! She was the 5th female in a time of 4hr15min.
Now we will be resting little before upping the training for the winter and the upcoming ski mountaineering races.
A race report can be seen HERE and results HERE

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"The skier who forsakes the lifts to climb under his own power to a mountain summit is a very different person from the downhill only piste basher and is often regarded by the latter as something of a curiosity.
But he was the creator of the sport; and possibly with him lies the future"
-Robin Fedden, The book of Europen Skiing, 1966
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