Race Report: Blackmores XTERRA Race 7 - Hunua Ranges

Race Website: Blackmores XTERRA Race 7 - Hunua Ranges

The last race of this trail series fell on Sunday and it was a brilliant event to finish on.  I'm so glad that I did this series and I'm planning on signing up for next year.  I think I'll do a separate post to talk about my first experience with trail running and what I've learned and sum up this series, but first on to the race report.

Official Stats:

Distance: 6.2km
Time:  0:53:34
Elevation: 74m


We had, what has become our tradition, of a pasta meal for dinner the night before, but also we had tickets to see the opera Tosca which resulted in a later-than-usual bed time.  Thankfully these trail races have a much more social start time of 10.30am but usually require about 1 hours drive to get to the event base.

We woke at a good time, but too much dithering around meant that there wasn't enough time to make porridge, so breakfast was a fruity English muffin and a glass of orange juice.  Coffee was consumed in the car on the way to race.

We arrived a little later than I would have preferred as the race briefing had already started and I had to pay a visit to the port-a-loo while Kane went and picked up our race bibs and chips.  The briefing announcer was telling us that there was things that look like green weetbix on the course that is ".. poisonous to mammals, YOU are a mammal". 

New Zealand's native species are mostly birds (and they're often ground nesting birds) and we have no natural predators, certain things have been introduced either on purpose or by accident so sometimes these poisons are used in an effort to reduce introduced species in order to protect the native wildlife that are put at risk.  I really hate that this happens and I hope that they can come up with a better way.  But we made a mental note to make sure our clothes and shoes were kept away from our cats when we got home.

On the Course

So before we knew it we were off and on our way.  We had no time to check out the course map, elevation chart, or even to find out what the distance was!  Yes, not very well prepared at all.  All we knew was that someone who was doing one of the longer distances had said that it was really tough, so we were expecting the worst.

0 - 3 km

Caught in the pack, we started off running but this is not a good strategy for me if I haven't had a chance to warm up and the long sit in the car to get here meant I could use a little walking to get the joints and muscles to wake up so we eased into a walk and let all the runners pass us.  We kept striding it out for a few minutes until we heard the hooter go off for the walkers to start and then we started jogging. 

It was a long, wide and mostly flat gravel road that we ran along until we reached the water station, which was at 2.9 km.  We heard it said in the race briefing that there was an aid station at 2. something km, but we didn't know how far we had come.

\\ Image from Blackmores Xterra Trail Run/Walk Series Facebook Page

3 - 5 km

We had made a good steady pace for the first 3km but after the water station we turned off the gravel road and onto the trails.  The path was a narrow single track and was very undulating and twisty. 

One of my favourite parts was where you could either wade through the water or walk a bouncy narrow plank across to the other side.  Plenty of people plunged right into the freezing cold water, I chose the plank which still dipped into the water but my feet didn't get too wet.  A few people who chose the plank fell into the water anyway :S

Our course had merged with at least one of the other courses so there were lots of calls of "on your right" as the faster runners negotiated around people on the narrow trail.  We, an a good few others around us would run for a while and then take a walk break so we were constantly passing and being passed by the same people too.  I had a lot of fun on this trail and tried to run most of the up hills and take it easier on the downs.

\\ Image from Blackmores Xterra Trail Run/Walk Series Facebook Page

5 - 6.2 km

At around 5k we popped back out onto the road we had ran along in the beginning; the wide, flat gravel road.  So far this race hadn't been as tough as I expected and it felt quite short too, so I was half expecting some kind of cruel hill at the end like at the first event.  However, no such thing happened and we had a nice easy stretch to the finish line.  This is the first (and only) race of this series that we've finished in under an hour!  This was probably why it felt short to us, and I'm hoping that it's also a result of getting fitter.

Post Race

We grabbed some water and some energy drink and joined the beer and sausage queue.  An onion sandwich and tasty Speight's was had before we made our way back to the car and then home.

The weather had been very pleasant, with it being warm in the sun but cool in shade, perfect really.  On the way home it started to rain, and really heavy at times so I think we lucked out there!

Although I didn't see any poison, as soon as we got home all our kit got thrown in the washing machine just in case.  And then after a shower I spent the whole afternoon playing a computer game before it was time to make dinner - a day well spent!

Other races in the series:






One Response so far

  1. Oh wow, the photos from the race are gorgeous! It's so green! You live in such a beautiful area!! I am glad that the race went well. Thank goodness the start time was later as it would have been tough to get up early for a race after a later night!

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