Pre race briefing notes.

(to be held in ‘the Marquee)’ at Northburn Station at 5pm on Friday, after registrations and gear check which start at 3pm.

Tom to do the welcome and thanks for coming.

Thanks Tom.

I’d like to welcome you also – welcome to a world of pain that you’ll all be experiencing soon enough.

In 2012 I completed the old 161km in 32 hours , So I have some appreciation for what you are about to get yourselves into. First 100ks were ‘fine’ last 60 was the toughest thing I’d ever done.  November 2015 I did vast majority of the new course. It has more vert but over-all a better configuration I believe. I’ll try to keep this briefing informative and as interesting as I can.

Most of you are well experienced and won’t pay too much attention to what I have to say and that’s fine – How you run a race is very subjective so don’t get too hung-up on what I recommend. Feel free to come up and quiz me after the briefing if you have any worries.

Here’s the crucial stuff!!

6am Saturday all the long distances start together. 161, 100,  50km and Marathon. Yes you will need your headlamp and all your ‘required gear’ with you at the start. If your pack looks a bit light we may do a random inspection. If we find you are not carrying all the required gear you will be given a penalty. (And made to go get the rest of the gear)

Race numbers must be attached to your front – they need to be visible as you pass by marshals – most marshals will be recording your number and time and feeding that info back to us here so we can keep track of you. If your number is under a jacket or something you’ll need to lift your jacket up to show the marshal. Pin it on low down…

Hopefully you have all dropped off your ‘extra’s’ bags that you want us to look after for you here and/or up the mountain. Make sure your bags are clearly labeled. You are also allowed any support you wish from your support crew in start/finish area.

The course is clearly marked with a variety of mediums. Reflective tape, trail marking tape and these standards plus fluro paint so no reason to get lost. (pics)

There are plenty of hazards on the course including rocks  – to stub your toe on or to roll your ankle over and prickly spanyards to give yourself a nasty wee spike. Major area’s for concern are exhaustion, dehydration and hypothermia. This is a very steep and challenging course – you will need to be refueling regularly from just after you start the race. Depending on the day it could be very hot, dry and windy so you may need more water than you’ve been training with at home in Wellington – or it could be snowing so make sure you get shelter behind a rock and put on your extra layers of clothes if you’re getting cold!! I have seen very experienced runners get hypothermia cos they didn’t get their jacket out of their pack – don’t want any of you doing that here. On the 100k and 161k you will be passing TW – a major intersection on the course with an aid station and medical personal – if they tell you to put extra clothes on we need you to do that – after you pass them you will be carrying on up to the top of the mountain it’s relatively flat followed by long down-hill sections so we don’t necessarily want to leave it up to your brain-dead state to decide if you should ‘rug-up’ or not.

Toileting – there are toilets here at the shed – please use these when you come through the start/finish area – the appropriate etiquette if you have to go out on the hill is: for number ones – just pop behind a large rock – for number towes please go behind a large rock – lift up a smaller rock – do business then replace the rock – you should not have too much trouble finding a good rock.

Now for the course notes.

The first loop I’m going to talk about is relevant to all runners.

You will start off with a nice wee trot around the ‘home loop’ – just a bit less than 5km then back through the start finish area to shouts of encouragement from all your supporters and then head out up the mountain. The first 12 Km will be lit with reflective tape.

You will be basically following a ridge so not a lot of natural water – we will have water containers for you to fill-up out of at a marshal point 15km up towards the top of this loop. So I suggest you start with your 2L full and re-fill at the containers. (You’ll know how much water you need for the first 2 hours)

At the water containers you will leave the road for a wee while and follow a fence (4km)  – it is mostly very steep, it is marked with yellow tape every 100m or so, so you know you’re following the right fence – you don’t have to run right beside it, you can get out into the paddock a bit and follow sheep tracks that head in the same direction as the fence. Soon around here you will meet our nasty little friend the ‘prickly spanyard’ they come in a variety of sizes but the leaves/spines on them are all very hard and you really don’t want to kick one or fall on one. Please watch your footing on this section of the course.

You will go up some quite steep hillsides and feel free to pull yourself up on the fence but please don’t cross over the fence because that is not our property and we don’t have permission to run on that land.

Keep following the fence for 4km and you will come to a pink sign that points you off the fence and straight across country following white electric fence standards – some thick sections of spanyards here so watch your footing again – also some awesome open country and hard ‘moss’ fields to tramp/run across. Before you get to the top we have changed the course to include more of the ‘magical’ alpine streams.  You will run down one for a few hundred meters then back up another one before you will join up with a marshal and an aid station at about the 25km mark. More water, some muesli bars and R-line Electrolyte. 

From this aid station it you get back into another stream going downhill for a couple of kilometers – there are no tracks beside these streams, just the most beautiful soft mossy surface you’ve ever run on. After a couple of ks you traverse to your right (following the very clear markers) and get onto a quite steep 12km of down-hill 4WD track. Just up around the corner here – less than a km away is ‘Mirror corner’. This is where the Marathoners will be directed left, back to here and finished. The rest of you will be directed right, back out into the hills for a small but quite ‘punchy’ Loop of Deception that will bring you back with about 4km to backtrack over the first section you ran out of here in the dark. Then you are back through the start finish area and away out on your second loop-

At the start/finish area we will have big pots of vegan Pumpkin soup and boiled potatoes, there will be water, R-Line and you can receive what ever food or support your support crew would like to offer you. There will be tea and coffee available, that sort of thing…

the 100mile second loop and the 100km last loop are the same.

The second loop now starts with the old ‘Death Climb’ – not as bad as it was because you are starting it after only 50ks (not 100 as before!) however it is a little bit worse because you now go all the way to the top (14km) at leaning rock (bypassing TW aid station and drop bag pick-up point). The last 3 kms are not so steep but you are ‘off trail’ so quite uneven under foot. There will be marshals with Water half way up and at Leaning Rock. 

From Leaning Rock it’s a relatively quick 3km down a good 4WD track to TW – drop bags, soup, potatoes, medics… shelter… This is the only time you go through it on this loop.

From here you will be directed down the ‘loop of despair’ however you carry on down quite a bit further (1000m,) before swinging left  joining up the the old track up to Mt Horn. Another 600m vert and you’re at the Mt Horn aid station. At this point you follow the old (3rd loop) course all the way back to the marquee. To finish the 161k everyone used to complain about this section. After you leave the aid station at Mt Horn you have a pretty step decent following some old power lines. This decent was killer after you’d already done 140km but not near so bad after only 80ks or so. You then have a lovely traverse! About the only ‘near’ flat section of the course and you can possibly even still run sections at this stage!

The last bit of this loop is the ‘pylon track’ which was terribly disheartening to finish the 161k as the ‘undulations’ and switchbacks just seem to go on and on for ever… once again, not so bad for you hundred milers this time around but an added bonus for you 100kers!! (This is the second year the 100kers will get to experience the pleasures of the ‘Pylon track’).

Now your back at the marquee and the 100kers have finished!! Wooowhoo!

You hundred milers just have one more ‘loop’ to do.

The final 60km for the 100milers. You will start out back the way you just came then be directed up a different ridge and some new trails ultimately taking you to Mt Horn, Aid station at Mt Horne then just carry on up to TW. 17km from the Marquee with 15 of them being of a pretty decent gradient of ‘up’! 

OK, so the first 117km have been the warm up. Hopefully you’ve paced yourself and taken it real easy cos from here on things start to get tough.

The ‘loop of despair’ is back (with vengeance), From TW you head out onto the original loop of despair which, after 117ks already is quite buggering. However to keep the flow of the course a little better you don’t finish at TW but carry on back to Leaning Rock Aid Station again just like in the second loop. After Leaning Rock and a nice 1.5km of easy downward running we kick you off the main road and down a ‘track’ into the water race. Quite steep and rough underfoot, many of you will be starting to call me all sorts of unsavory names at this stage.

You actually miss the ‘worst’ part of the water race with the large holes high tussocks and come out on the right hand side of it with a nice we traverse across some slipps and cliffs before back onto the main road and a good hike back to TW. (Aid station – soup, spuds, medics – you’ll need them…)

Now you have a long (but not too steep) and glorious down hill all the way passed mt Horne and straight on down to the pylon track. We have listened to your feedback and how much you hated the pylon track so now, to finish you just have one more uphill back to the ‘bicycle wheel’ (you may start thinking the pylon track was bliss comparatively) and then one big down and a wee bit of ‘flat’ to the finish!!

If you keep putting one foot in front of the other eventually you’ll get back here- to a glorious reunion with your supporters… and our medical team.

50kers and 100kers get your prize-giving on Sunday at 12pm so you can get back to work first thing Monday morning!! Your lunchtime meal is included for all competitors and extra meal tickets can be purchased for your supporters/crew. Please purchase those tickets now so we can let the caterers know.

100milers you will get your presentation on Monday 10am – again extra meal tickets can be purchased – You 50k and 100k competitors are most welcome to attend but if you want the meal you will need to buy a ticket beforehand.

Any general questions?


4 thoughts on “Pre race briefing notes.

  1. Hi guys, sorry if I have missed something but is there a briefing/gear check prior to kick off on saturday morning or is it just “see you guys in 24 (hopefully) hours” at 6 am and off you go?

    • The pre race registration, gear check, and briefing is on the Friday before the race – see the ‘Time line’ above.

      Saturday morning will be updates on the weather, last minute issues (if any) and yeh – see ya latter -have fun!!

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