100 Miles In Horrid Weather & Tough Terrain15.02.2018
A one hundred mile run for most would be a big ask, but one hundred miles in horrid weather and tough terrain is an even bigger challenge. However it’s one which local Darfield man, Mark Beattie accepted when he entered the Tarawera 100 Mile Endurance Run over the weekend of February 17th and 18th.
The Run is a challenging ultra distance race in the Rotorua region consisting of 100 miles or 165 kilometres (km) of narrow single track trails, wide trails, forestry and sealed roads. There are forests, lakes, geothermal features, a boat-based lake crossing and the city of Rotorua for the runners to navigate throughout the event.
Over 1250 competitors from around the world began the Race at 4am on Saturday, leaving from the Government Gardens, in Rotorua.
This was not Mark’s first time racing in a similar event; he competed in a 100 kilometre challenge two years ago at the same venue.
“This year was the first year organisers have offered a 100 mile Race, so I decided to enter it; my first ever race for that distance,” Mark explained.
There are certain criteria to be met before a person can enter the Race, including having completed eight volunteer hours before the end of January and proving that they had completed an ultra run in the past.
“Volunteering for me involved helping out at the Mount Somers marathon in October last year at one of the aid stations. Before I ran the last half with the final runners making sure they made it to the end, and no one was left on the course,” Mark explained.
Mark is often seen out running around the community, doing one of his 10km runs, which he does two or three times a week. He has also been undertaking overnight tramps and 40 to 50km runs as part of his training, as well as competing in other races in preparation. “Towards the end of last year I entered a 65km race in the Wellington hills and a 100km event in Taupo, which kept my endurance up. In December I also did a 90km training run on the old ghost trail on the West Coast,” he explained.
The weather for the 100 mile event was far from ideal with heavy rain, resulting in muddy tracks and slippery terrain. Though this slowed Mark down more than he would like, he still came in with a fantastic time of 28 hours and 41 minutes.
“It was a hard run both mentally and physically, but I am very proud of how I went as I ended up getting 29th out of 143 competitors and ninth in my category – open male. I was hoping to complete the course in twenty-four hours, however up to thirty-six hours is allowed for completion.
“A lot of the runners ended up pulling out of the Race at different points along the way because it was too tough with adverse weather conditions.”
The course had many individual challenges for the runners and for Mark it was no different. “Going in to the race the biggest challenge was the unknown,” Mark said, “ as I had never run this distance before. I was also aware the weather could be a factor in my success or failure, a wet day meant for a lot slower and more careful run.
“I took advantage of the offer to have a pacer, which is a runner that ran with me for the last 37km. Without his support and the support of my crew, I would have struggled to get through it,” concluded an exhausted but happy, Mark.