Go Easy On Your Heart!

After having two Pericarditis situations in successive years (2014 and 2016, there was no 100k or 100miler in 2015) of the Northburn100 miler I think it’s important to share some information.

Below is a post written by Ben Winrow, Doctor, endurance athlete, mountain runner and sufferer of Pericarditis. People please beware!

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the heart outer membrane caused by a viral infection – can be agitated by extreme exercise!

I am writing the following  in response to what happened to me and seemingly another runner during the NB100. I am a Doctor specialising in ED and ICU. I do not listen to my own advice and am as obstinate as any other ultra runner but I need to make people aware of what can end not only your race but also any form of endurance exercise.

So I suppose I should begin at the beginning.

I used to be fat, obese actually. BMI 32, waist 37 inches, out of breath walking up stairs. I purchased a road bike with my first paycheck post university and didn’t look back. I began running soon after I had lost a large amount of weight – well actually I did a duathlon – 12km run, 42km ride and 12km run – having never run before I thought, ‘how far could I take this’. Three months later I ran a 64km ultra in the Welsh hills in the UK. I finished 40th/80 and felt awful, anterior tibial tendinitis, right sided ITB issues, vomiting when I got home – no idea about fluid/food/training etc. I did finish though.

Over the following 2 years I trained, ran, trained, ran, trained, ran (and cycled) to see how far I could go.

I finished my first 160km with 4000m climbing 2.5 years after I first put on running shoes – finishing in 20 hours and 29th/270.

I have run ultras in Nepal at altitude, placed in races in the UK and felt invincible.

I signed up to the NB100 having finished 2nd in the 100km. I trained hard…..I mean really hard. I altered what I ate – I got down to 5% body fat, and 68kg. I pushed my limits…….hard.

Average weeks would be 100-130km running, 250km cycling and 5km swimming. I was smashing all my PB’s, I was KOMing all over the place on Strava. I felt invincible.

I ran my fastest ever mountain marathon as a training run at the Big Easy, I placed 7th in the Shotover Moonlight marathon, again as a training run. I placed 9th/300 in a 56km fell race in Devon. I was mentioned in UK trail running magazines, the pre race report for NB100 as a potential podium and also by Matt Bixley (legend) – I was feeling on top of the world, my world, which was running and endurance training.

I entered race day and started as if I was going to win – its all I wanted.

1 month prior to the race – I had a head cold (my wife was sick also – it comes with working in a hospital – she was a lot worse than I was) it lasted 2 days – I didn’t have body aches and so I continued training. I did not let up in my schedule at all. I look back on this time as foolish.

I look back at my training log 2 years later and realise a pattern – I could not run uphill at all. I remember running my usual hill runs that were never an issue and I would be pulling myself up with a stick wondering why my heart rate was going to 180, I couldn’t control my breathing and I could not maintain an effort at all. I had no chest pain, I had no other issues and because I was tapering I never tried to push it on the flat.

I distinctly remember Terry Davis phoning me and talking about being on fire with my form and not to get sick. (Also cautioning against not over training!! Edited. Terry)

That’s fine, I thought, I only had a tiny cold for 2 days and I feel fine right now.

Race day.

I felt awesome, I was the lightest I had ever been, I had nutrition sorted and my pack was epic and light. Everything was going to happen as I had visualised in my head so many times – I wanted the glory and I wanted to win. (Did not listen RD who told him to start out easy!)

I set off on the run at 6:30 miling. I ran all the ups and before the first check point, took the lead – I remember it well and the feeling was amazing. I got to the top of the first climb and was traversing the top thinking that I was feeling great but I was finding it difficult to put and effort in again – like some of the previous training runs.

I began the descent of the first loop, leading the NB100!! and then I got a strange pain underneath my shoulder blade on the left. I had never had it before, it was sharp and painful and it felt muscular. I mentioned it to the many runners that overtook me as it worried me but I carried on. I love descending and to have people overtake me on a descent worried me also.

I finished the first loop feeling sick, tired, out of breath and the pain had gone from my back through to the front of my chest. I mentioned to my wife that something wasn’t right. I knew it deep down but I wanted to win – why wasn’t this going to plan? What was going on? I left for the second loop in 5th I think – I was unable to walk uphill without significant pain in the shoulder blade, my heart rate went through the roof and I couldn’t eat. The pain then went to my jaw.

I have never felt like I was going to die before but I felt like that in that moment. I remember waking up on a rock and wondering how I had gotten there (I must have collapsed) I then did some test runs – If I walked the pain wasn’t that bad but even running downhill with little effort put in it was like being stabbed in the chest. I mentioned this to the next checkpoint – I said that my legs were feeling awesome, my body was great but the pain in my chest is NEW, NOT LIKE ANYTHING ELSE, and I think I am going to have to stop – they radioed the medic and the medic then pulled me from the race.

I cried sitting in the mud, looking at the lake wondering why it had gone wrong and whether I was actually having a heart attack or dying or whether I was just being a pussy.

An ambulance was called (I was mainly concerned that I was not going to get to use my new headtorch!!!) and an ECG showed that I either was having a massive heart attack or I had a condition known as pericarditis.

Dunstan and then Dunedin Coronary care were the next ports of call. An ECHO, a cardiac MRI and ECG’s later and viral/exercise induced pericarditis was the diagnosis.

It was a mixed bag of emotions.

No exercise for 6 weeks – not even walking fast. I put on 10kg and felt unfit and unwell.

That was 2 years ago.

Recovery is a bitch – I genuinely thought I was going to die, which I haven’t but the purgatory of not knowing how far to push yourself again is just as menacing.

I began with short runs and rides and slowly built. I have since cycled 300km non-stop and did my first running race of 34km last month (which was awful and way too hot!!) but I am getting back there – not as capable as I once was but getting back there.

I plan to come back and finish what was started 2 years ago in 2017.

Next time however I will be sensible.

I suppose this post is cathartic, to understand what I went through, to get it out there and also to warn others.

I felt invincible and unstoppable. Even as a Dr I knew that with severe colds you need to rest but I didn’t hold much by what I had. Having said that, when reading my training log all the signs were there and I didn’t listen to my body. During the race I didn’t listen to myself either. Winning and recognition became too much.

Given that what happened to me has happened to another runner it should be said that if you are planning to do the NB100 or any long distance event please know that the race will be there next year, listen to your body and if you have been ill with a viral illness or chest infection in the 2-4 weeks prior to it, please consider doing it the year later – it is not worth the 2 years of recovery and inability to do anything at all rather than the waiting for a little while, resting and coming back stronger.

The hardest thing to get over is the mental aspect of it – I had an ECHO today that showed no difference and physically I feel great again but every niggle, every muscular ache, I wonder – is it coming back? It is this not knowing that kills me every time I go for a run – will this be my last?

I have since done so much reading on ultra running and cardiac health – if anyone wants a detailed synopsis of this reading I am happy to provide it but it is hard to read if Ultras are your passion!!

I consider myself lucky to be able to run and cycle again – I know personally of people who have continued running and training with colds that have been left with cardiomyopathy and find it hard to climb stairs.

PLEASE – look after yourself, look after each other and listen to your body – remember, the first rule of mountain climbing is to know when to turn back. The mountain will be there long after we are gone.


the 100miler and 100k are back for 2016!

OK, the rumours can all be put to bed. The Northburn 100 miler and 100k is all go for 2016!

Click on races above and for more details or click on the big blue ‘Click here to enter’ button on your right and get entered!

See you in March, 2016.

Along the top od the course...

100miler and 100k postponed for 2015 – will be back 2016!

Hi from the Northburn100 Team,

We regret to advise you that the Northburn100 km and 100 mile races will not be held in 2015, however we plan to be back Stronger and Safer in 2016!

As some of you may be aware there has been a tragic accident on Northburn Station recently, a staff member died in a fire on the hill, (near Mt Horn for those of you that know the course).
As I’m sure you can imagine this has been traumatic for all involved, we are in the middle of a Worksafe investigation, the findings of which will be made public in March 2015.

We will still be running the March 2015 Northburn 50 km event and the half marathon and kids events, We will be trialling new safety initiatives at the 50k event.

We are very aware of the time, effort and commitment you all have put into training and general preparation for Northburn in March, however given the recent tragic events on Northburn and the very real danger that you all face as ultra-runners (especially at a high altitude event such as Northburn), we feel it is prudent to ‘take a deep breath’ to recover from this recent tragedy and ensure that we do everything possible to ensure your safety at future events (indeed in all activities on the Station).

If you have already entered the 2015 event we will of course be happy to hold your entry over until 2016, however we are also very happy to reimburse your entry fee if you wish, if you have any particular issues please do not hesitate to contact us at terry@highlandevents.co.nz.

Again we regret this situation and rest assured we have not made it lightly but we want to assure you that the safety of all people on Northburn is paramount and we want to make sure we have left no stone unturned in that regard for the 2016 event and onwards.

Never stop running!

Entrent List 2014

As of 11/03/2014


Registration Type Age category Full Name (First Last) Town/City
100km Up to 39 years Barrett Hocking Lower Hutt
100km 40-49yrs Carla Lucas Kurow
100km 40-49yrs Dianne Judson Perth
100km Up to 39 years Emma Johns Dunedin
100km Up to 39 years Haisley O’Leary Hastings
100km Up to 39 years Ian Masterton Wellington
100km Up to 39 years John Whiteford christchurch
100km 40-49yrs Kim Sheppard Melbourne
100km Up to 39 years Koleighne Ford Christchurch
100km Up to 39 years Libby Masterton Wellington
100km Up to 39 years Losa Pegler Auckland
100km 40-49yrs Mark Guy Auckland
100km 40-49yrs Mark Howard Dunedin
100km Up to 39 years Matty Abel Sydney
100km 50-59yrs Roger Leslie Mosgiel
100km 50-59yrs Roger Woods Southshore
100km Up to 39 years Sean Beale Queenstown
100km 50-59yrs Sharon Weir Chapel Hill
100km Up to 39 years Simon Green queenstown
100km 50-59yrs Sue Brookes Leithfield Beach
100km 50-59yrs Tony Weir Brisbane
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Andrew Readinger Fort Worth
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Becky Nixon queenstown
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Benjamin Winrow Eastbourne
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Bruce Adams Dunedin
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Brun-Smits Marina Mullumbimby Creek
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Charlie McNally Alexandra
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Croydon Paton Dunedin
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Dave Graham Kingston
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Glenn Kelly Alexandra
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Glenn Sutton Dunedin
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Gordi Kirkbank-Ellis sydney
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Greg Yee dunedin
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Gregor Wilson BRISBANE
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Greig Hamilton Christchurch
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Hannah Roberts Honolulu
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Helen Chignell Dunedin
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs James Fraser Lower Hutt
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Jean Beaumont Porirua
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Jeffrey Hannah Scarborough
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years John Fisher Auckland
100miler (160kms) Over 60yrs (you are my inspiration!) Lance Hunnifordas auckland.
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Leigh Finlayson Martinborough
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Lynette McDougal Boise
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Mahla BRANNOCK Brisbane
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Malcolm Brown Freshwater
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Matthew Hall Christchurch
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Michael Beaumont Silverstream
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Natalie Best Wahroonga
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Parrish Evans Gold Coast
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Paul Stevens Masterton
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Peter Wardle Eketahuna
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Richard Charles Auckland
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Richard Law Blenheim
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Rob Iremonger Auckland
100miler (160kms) 50-59yrs Sally Nicoll Waitati
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Simon Horan Dunedin
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Susannah Harvey-Jamieson Rocklea
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Tayebeh Alirezaee Hawthorn
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Víctor Manuel Ferrando Monfort Sabadell
100miler (160kms) 40-49yrs Virginia Winstone christchurch
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Will Styles Invercargill
100miler (160kms) Up to 39 years Wouter Hamelinck Merelbeke
100miler (161km) first installment. Up to 39 years Geoff Tomlins Brisbane
100miler (161km) first installment. Up to 39 years George Mihalakellis mt waverley
100miler (161km) first installment. 40-49yrs Kelly Bennett Gordon
100miler (161km) first installment. 40-49yrs Richard Lee Auckland
100miler (161km) first installment. Up to 39 years Shaun Gear Auckland
100miler (161km) first installment. 50-59yrs Yukimitsu Taguchi Yokohama
50km Up to 39 years Adam Lympany Queenstown
50km Up to 39 years Adrian Riepen Dunedin
50km 40-49yrs Alice Stewart Alexandra 9340
50km Up to 39 years Andreas Jareborg Dunedin
50km Up to 39 years Angel Mathis Seattle
50km Up to 39 years Anki Lindström Dunedin
50km Up to 39 years Anna smyth Cromwell
50km 40-49yrs Barry Hobbs Albury
50km 50-59yrs Bernie O’Fagan Christchurch
50km Up to 39 years Brenda Stringer Cromwell
50km Up to 39 years Bruce McCallum Dunedin
50km 40-49yrs Carolyn Kng Hong Kong
50km Up to 39 years Diana Partridge Washington DC
50km Up to 39 years Erica Aarsen mosgiel
50km Up to 39 years Gary Erving Queenstown
50km Up to 39 years George Strickland Wellington
50km 40-49yrs JACOB LAMONT Christchurch
50km 50-59yrs Jamie Sinclair Dunedin
50km 40-49yrs Jan Taylor Wyndham
50km 40-49yrs Jane Thompson Auckland
50km Up to 39 years Jenny Halliday Christchurch
50km Up to 39 years Jesper Albertsson dunedin
50km 40-49yrs Lai Kwan Ng Hong Kong
50km Up to 39 years Liam Burgess Cromwell
50km 40-49yrs Michel Katia SAINT PIERRE
50km Up to 39 years Michelle Blair Christchurch
50km 50-59yrs Monica Aarsen mosgiel
50km Up to 39 years Morgan Garandel queenstown
50km Up to 39 years Natalie Hannah Scarborough
50km Up to 39 years Nathan Stuart Ashtonfield
50km 40-49yrs Nicola Benzie Christchurch
50km 40-49yrs Nicole Harrison Gold Coast
50km Up to 39 years Orlaith Heron Hamilton
50km 40-49yrs Paul Klitscher Jakarta Selatan
50km 40-49yrs Phillip Miller Alexandra
50km 50-59yrs Rene Aarsen mosgiel
50km Up to 39 years Sage Canaday Boulder, CO
50km Up to 39 years Sara Boucher Dunedin
50km Up to 39 years Sarah Holborow Dunedin
50km Up to 39 years Shelley Baird Cromwell
50km 40-49yrs Steve Tripp Dunedin
50km 40-49yrs Tania Miller Alexandra
50km Up to 39 years Tanya Carr-Smith Wellington
50km Up to 39 years Theresa Cron riverton
50km Up to 39 years XI CHEN Cromwell

Latest email – 18th March

Hi all, well the weather forecast seems OK at this stage but I don’t trust it one little bit! However it would have to be an ‘extreme’ weather event to change the course (worse than a wee blizzard or 100km/hr winds…). Whatever happens there will be a 50k, 100k and 160k event on and they will all include ridiculous amounts of steep climbs. If you are missing some kit Grant from BCR will be there and have thermals/water proofs for sale.


http://racesplitter.com/races/87F85F390 check out who-all has entered at this link. Please check we have you entered in the correct distance and age category. Results will be available here as people finish, other up-dates will be on our facebook page but mostly on https://www.facebook.com/TheBackcountryRunner and

https://twitter.com/bcrunz thanks very much Grant!


If you are planning on taking a smart phone with you we would like to recommend you download these free apps so in the extremely unlikely event that we loose you, we can at least track your phone! Check out these links below – Brent, our medic man (and tech guru) will talk to you at registration and help you with any tech issues you may have. We’re just trialling it this year but in the future it is likely we will have a GPS tracking system so we and your friends can follow your progress over the mountain.


For Android http://www.wheresmydroid.com/download.html (Leave code as the default) i.e. ‘wmd gps’)


For iphone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648


When you turn up on Friday to register and get your gear checked you will also be weighed and talked to by Brent the medical director… please come along in your running gear (shoes, shorts, tshirt) so our weight measurements can be accurate. You may be weighed again as you come through the start finish area after each loop.


Extra meal tickets for the presentation can be bought at ‘the Shed’ (5min walk from the Start/Finish area) on the Friday and Saturday (Sunday also for the 100mile presentations on Monday). The presentations will be at the Shed – it’s a top meal and well worth it if you have supporters around.


Speaking of supporters, check out the ‘fun events’ on during the day on Saturday https://northburn100.co.nz/pre-events/ , a half marathon in the morning (all but the slowest half’ runners will be finished before the very fastest 50ker comes in) and then a 5k or 10k night run in the evening – should be finished before most 100kers and 160kers are finished their 2nd loop. Also a 1.5km kids adventure course early afternoon… The North Face, Salomon and the Back Country Runner (featuring Thir product!) will have exhibits, and there’ll be a BBQ going all day raising money for some local kids planning a trip to Base Camp in the Himalaya’s so plenty going on to keep things half interesting.


See ya in a few days!


Terry Davis


021 284 6844

Email to competitors

Hi everybody, hope you are all fit and well.

This is just a wee reminder email about the key stuff you need to know. – the timeline of activities, thecompusory gear, the pre-race briefing and a couple of helpful bits and bobs…

So here is the order of events… you’ll need to be at Northburn Station on Friday the 22nd March:

  • 12pm – 5pm Friday 22nd March 2013 at the marquee, Northburn Station –registration, gear check and ‘meet your fellow competitors’ (drinks and nibbles provided) Free shuttle to Northburn Station from the Golden Gate Lodge on the hour from 12pm. Free return afterwards also. Please be in good time – we will have some exhibitors set up so there will be things to look around – we don’t want a rush at 4.30pm!
  • 5pm Friday 22nd at the Marquee – Pre race briefing (Also check out the video log of the course. for more briefing type details…)
  • 6am Saturday 23rd at the Marquee, Northburn Station (5mins out of Cromwell) race start. (mass start of all 3 distances – 50km, 100km and 160km distances)
  • 6am Monday 25th course closes (you have up to 48hours to complete the full distance)- runners still on the course may be collected by a support vehicle at the race organisersdiscretion.
  • 12pm Sunday 24th at The Shed, Northburn Station. 50k and 100k lunch and presentations.
  • 12pm Monday 25th at The Shed, Northburn Station. 100 mile Lunch and presentations

This year Terry will be doing the minimum gear check – if you’ve competed here before you will understand the need for this minimum gear – it is not just for the fun of making you carry extra weight – it quite literally could be the difference between finishing and getting evacuated off. So here it is:

Minimum gear requirements are: These must be in your pack OR on your body (you can be wearing them) AT ALL TIMES.


  • small day backpack.
  • rain jacket – it can be just a ‘shell’ but it must be seam-seeled waterproof.


  • merino or thermal long sleeve top – this can be a ‘base layer’e.g. but must have thermal (keep you warm) qualities – NOT a ‘cool max’ type of fabric.
  • extra fleece/mid wieght wool top. This must also have thermal qualities AND be a bit thicker than the ‘base layer’. e.g.


  • long thermal tights or trousers (compression leggings are not acceptable – unless they are the fancy new Skins Thermal compression tights – Polly prop or merino are the norm)
  • warm cap or beanie – the standard sports fabric runners cap is NOT acceptable – Think wool, fleece, or polly prop.
  • polyprop / thermal/ warm gloves
  • survival blanket (may be known as an emergency blanket – thin, silver – you can get bags now they are even better)
  • own snacks, gels, energy bars etc
  • water bottles/bladders – enough to carry 2 liters of water
  • headlight for night-time with back up battery’s.
  • reflector stripes or vest or back flashing light for night-time running – (most backpacks have this built in these days – it’s so we can find you if we’re looking for you in the dark!)


The above items must be in your pack or on your person AT ALL TIMES.

These next ones are optional but probably a good idea.


  • cell phone
  • gaiters
  • gps/compass – although the course will be very well marked.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED We expect all 100km and 160km runners to have 2 ‘other’ bags full of gear – one you will leave at the start/ finish area where you come back to at the end of each loop and one we will take up the mountain for you – PLEASE ENSURE THESE BAGS ARE CLEARLY NAMED.


Drop bag for ‘TW’ – TW is the central check point near the top of the mountain that you pass by several times on various crossings of the high mountain routes.


We transport your extra drop bag to this check point for you so fill it up with lots of heavy stuff – e.g.


  • Extra batteries for your headlamp
  • Heavier/warmer water proof jacket
  • Heavier/warmer water proof mitts (mitts are significantly warmer than gloves)
  • Water proof over-trousers
  • Extra set of thermals
  • Extra fleece/merino top.
  • Balaclava
  • Extra, specific food/electrolytes


Make sure your bag for TW has your name and distance (100k or 160k) clearly marked on it. You will hand this in at registration. We will have several walk-in trailers up at TW and bags will bearranged alphabetically. If you want you may choose to have a plastic container instead of a bag – this could be sat along the outside of the trailer for quicker access. It would need to have a decent lid that would not blow off in high winds! Again it would need to be clearly named.

If you don’t have the correct item you will need to pop into Cromwell (5mins away) and buy the correct item. You will not be allowed on course with insufficient gear.

Pacers must register with you – they must take all minimum gear for themselves the same as you. They are not allowed to carry your minimum gear. Remember the use of a pacer is purely for those out to ‘complete the distance’. Those using pacers are not eligible for ‘placings’. See our pacer policy here.

You can read the pre-race briefing notes here.  Then email me if you have any questions –

There will either be fresh water in creeks or in plastic containers at various points around the course- usually every 7-10km – yes some of these sections may take you 2hours or more to traverse/climb.

We will have R-Line electrolytes, boiled potatoes and pumpkin soup at the start/finish area and atTW. We will have energy bars and electrolytes at ‘Top’  – this is half way through the first 50kloop.

Supporters may be able to get a ride up to TW $20 each way in an official 4WD vehicle – this is serious 4WD country so no unorthorised vehicles will be allowed on the mountain.

OK, thanks for reading all this! It’s getting exciting now. Take it easy, eat and sleep well and we look forward to seeing you on Friday the 22nd March.


Race Director
Northburn 100