The Kauri 32km run

After another great off road run last weekend and a massive case of FOMO (and maybe 3 glasses of red), at the last minute I decided to enter the 32km Cranleigh Kauri Run across the Coromandel peninsula. A number of my running buddies were doing the 70km ultra-marathon, but I wasn’t feeling like I was missing out that much ! With only a 12 km under my belt in the past couple of months the 32 had me nervous enough as it was.

We had a great drive down to Coromandel township on Friday afternoon where the ultra guys left me after a late lunch to drive up to Fletcher Bay, where their run started at 6.00 am on Saturday.  I mooched around Coro for a couple of hours, took a photo of how scary the hills we would be running tomorrow looked, had a meal in a local cafe and an early night !

An hour after the 25 ultra runners had started their run I was having breakfast in bed in the motel, before heading off for the 8.30 bus to Waikawau Bay for the 32k run start –  at a leisurely 10:30. The late start really screwed with my nutrition planning as I just did not eat enough for the length of time I was on my feet and I ended up feeling quite nauseous later in the run.

Last night the forecast was for a cloudy day with little wind which is just perfect for a long run. However, as usual, the forecast was wrong and it was sunny with a strong breeze, which made for some tough running and out of the sun it got quite cool on the exposed ridges.

The bus got us to the start just as the first of the ultras were coming through and I was lucky enough to catch Shaun moving at an awesome pace through the transition after 4 hours and 38 kms.

Note the cold pizza in the hand, awesome 🙂

The walk to the start

The 32km run started with a 2k run along the beach, which is just stunning and with the tide low it was not too soft under foot.Yeah ok, I look a bit of a muppet, but it was damn windy and those bibs were not exactly flattering.I wanted a nice slow start to avoid blowing out early, so kept to the back of the pack.

The beach was followed by a nice bit of bush single track with a number of small stream crossings where I managed to pick off a number of the slower runners and then a long climb up to the first drink stop, a hard climb with a stunning view back over the bay from the top.

The next dozen or so km’s crossed over the spine of the peninsula with some gruelling climbs and some fun descents.  In places the scenery was just awesome, one of the prime reasons for doing this run.(look at that wind in the pungas !) The scar in the bush is where we are heading next, and as you can see below it was as steep as it looks, and not the hardest part of that section of the trail.

However, from the top the views to the eastand west

were really worth it. (sadly neither me or my camera were up to these shots).

The final section up to the highest point was a fun piece of gnarly technical single track that I would normally have really enjoyed, but I was feeling pretty broken after 4 hours of running and took a  fairly conservative approach to avoid busting an ankle.The view from the trig (and the highest point of the run) back down over Coromandel township and the gulf was inspiring.

From the trig it was a 5km run down to the finish line at Coromandel School, I was feeling a bit nauseous on the run down so had to stop and walk a few times as the bouncing was pretty unpleasant and could have got messy.  I finished in 5:01, 85th out of 104 finishers, very pleased with the result as I was really expecting to take around 6 hours due to my lack of  running.

After my race was done I waited around in the sun for the rest of the ultra guys to roll on in. Shaun had been in for a while before I arrived, finishing the 70k in 8 hours 15, with the winner of the ultra finishing in a stunning 7 hours !

Mal (and Sal who beat me by 5 or so minutes)Vicki (and Dougie who had been apparently puking for hours).and Barbarella.An awesome result for all the ultra runners, a first official race for Vicki, Mal and Shaun. I stand in awe of anyone who can complete a 70k event over that (or any other) terrain. It was a great event, with a great feel amongst all the competitors.

The beers after were great 🙂 though it was an early night for all.

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.