Aoraki/Mount Cook Inaugural Marathon (calm down, I only did the 10km)

My weekend started one of the best possible ways it could… ROAD TRIP!!!

I went away for the weekend to Aoraki/Mount Cook for a race. A couple of Pumped ladies had won entries for the Inaugural marathon (they did the half, I did the 10km) and had asked if anyone else wanted to join them. It’s a bit of a journey I still hadn’t been to Mt Cook before so I jumped at the chance and the bonus was that I was offered a free entry to the race.

I drove to Emily’s place and the two of us car pooled from there. A quick coffee stop in Geraldine (about 1.5 hours in) and then we kept driving to Tekapo for lunch.

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Another hour or so later and we got to Aoraki/Mount Cook. Driving in we worked out where each race started (It seems like a very long distance when you’re in a car!) and the hills didn’t seem quite that bad in the car (I’ve been told since that some of those hills were pretty tough!). We checked in to the hotel and went to find our Kennel Chalet before meeting up with Simone & Mark.

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This race worked slightly different than others I’ve been to, we had the pre-race briefing at dinner the evening before as opposed to in the morning just before the race started. There was a HUGE line for the buffet; I hope that next year they might spread it out a bit/put more food out at a time. I don’t think the hotel realised how much runners eat before a race (some people’s plates were piled insanely high!). This lead to the veges being brought out a little bit before they were ready, crunchy kumara (sweet potato) is not one of my favourite foods I’ll admit.

RACE DAY!!

Sunday morning was a little strange. Normally I have to travel somewhere for a race but as I was doing an out and back course and there was no race briefing on the morning I didn’t have to leave the kennel until 15mins before the race started. So as Emily was getting up and ready I was sitting on my bed not really knowing what to do with myself haha! Emily & Simone had to catch a bus out to the start line at 7:30am ready for 9am start. I got ready earlier than I needed to and used a bit of time to keep moving once I got outside in the cold.

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About 8:50am we were walked out past the finish line and onto the road where we were starting from. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 GO! Everyone seemed to be going at quite a pace, the start was downhill but I noticed I was definitely going faster than normal. My first two km were well under 6mins so I made myself slow just a little. I knew the first half of the race would be faster as it was sloping down and I wanted to make sure I had enough to get back up – especially the last 400m as this was the steepest part of the course… These stairs were just before the finish chute… I know they don’t look like much but trust me they are horrible after a run!

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My hands were super cold and my body instantly noticed the slight incline at the 5km turnaround, in fact it seemed like quite a few runners had only trained on the flat because a lot of them stopped and walked a wee bit at the turnaround point. I managed to keep a pretty steady pace with those around me, once we got into our rhythms no one passed me (for me this is an awesome feeling) and as my running app clicked over 10km I realised it was a PB for me (YES!!). The course ended up being 10.4km but the best feeling for me was managing to keep running up the last hill and in doing so passing 4 runners who either slowed considerably or who stopped to walk it – I think that feeling was even better than crossing the finish line haha. I also got my first ever finishers medal at this race too, a lot of our races are quite small in comparison with other countries so it’s not often we get medals.

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Being so close to the accommodation I knew I had an hour to kill before Emily & Simone were due to finish so I walked back down to the kennel chalet to for a hot shower, some warm clothes and a snack. After lunch Emily & I decided to go for a wander, there were some 30-60min walks quite close to the village and we thought we had around 3 hours before prize giving (turns out it got moved forward two hours so we missed it – I better not have missed out on a spot prize!!). We decided to try one of the longer tracks first which ended up taking us close to a little bridge – so detour we must!

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On the way back we spotted another very short walk so we headed in there before getting back to the chalet. Not knowing that prize giving had already happened we got ready and met Simone up at the café. This is when I found the post on Facebook, so feeling a bit sad we headed to the bar downstairs with the cosy fire which became our home for the next few hours…

Monday morning was supposed to be a sleep in but both Emily & I were wide awake before 7am (sigh). We wanted to go see one other small walk behind the hotel so we checked out and headed up there quickly.

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Then we finally found an entrance into the memorial garden we spotted earlier in the trip:

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Emily did some research and decided on our way out we could stop and do a walk/hike up to see the Tasmin Glacier. This was the best walk we did (in my opinion) just look at the scenery!!

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We headed back home, stopping again in Tekapo for lunch.

I was hoping the weather would clear a bit more than it did, I never seen all of Aoraki/Mount Cook, I’ve decided it’s not worth playing hide & seek with a mountain – you will not win, ever… However I did manage to see the tip of the mountain for about 5mins on my race, I really wanted to stop and take a picture but my time was going really well so I didn’t want to stop!! So this was the best picture I got… Still breathtaking!

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And this is what it looks like minus clouds (apparently)

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Did you race over the weekend?

One thought on “Aoraki/Mount Cook Inaugural Marathon (calm down, I only did the 10km)

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