New Zealand’s Coast to Coast Bike, Kayak & Run Race 2018

Race Report By Gary Tuttle.

The 2018 New Zealand Kathmandu Coast to Coast is a multisport race that involves crossing 243Km on the South Island by Bike foot, and kayak. This took place on 9th and 10th February.

I signed up to this originally with the intention of doing the Longest Day – the one-day full course event. By December with the race only in February I realised my preparation was less than adequate and I would struggle to meet the cut off times so opted to change to the 2 day event. Still a big task but I thought much more manageable and enjoyable………..

There are a lot of logistics involved before and during the event; this involved getting the equipment I would need for the race and transporting it around the course on the actual day. Every person or team taking part needs to provide their own support crew. Thankfully I had a great support team that involved my wife Trinity and her parents and an uncle who has taken part in the past so knows the workings of the event.

A friend of Trin’s dad offered his road bike for the event but the kayak proved to be a bit harder to get hold of. Turns out it is a very big event and all hire companies on the South Island were booked out months ago. In the end I managed to hire a sea kayak from a shop in Auckland who would be transporting a number of them down for the race.  With all this sorted before I flew out to New Zealand it was a big relief.

On Thursday 8th Feb we drove over to Kumara race course to register and collect race numbers and receive a briefing about the course conditions, (river levels, transitions, state of the ongoing roadworks a few of us were worried about for the cycle!)

Friday was an early start, up at 4:45 to eat breakfast and take the bike to be racked at the 1st transition. Having never competed in any multisport race previously I thought I better figure out where I would run in and then how to find my bike amongst the hundreds of others! I then walked to the beach for the final race briefing at 6:45.

The race started at 7am with the firing of a cannon by the original runner of the race, Robin Judkins, and then there is the 2.2km run to the bike transition. I had started at the back of the pack so I didn’t set out too quick especially as the days leading up to this I had been having some cramps in my quads and hamstrings. It was comfortable running and I was quickly passing people.

On arrival at the bike transition I found my bike, shoes and rucksack with no dramas and set off on the initial 55km cycle. Having never cycled in a group before this was going to be interesting. I knew a small amount about group cycling and how they take it in turns to cycle at the front (not much knowledge obviously). The ride was generally flat with a few undulations and some fast downhills. Getting stuck in the middle of a pack was frustrating at times when on the downhills as I wanted to go faster than those around me but struggled to get out and around them. I upset a few people by trying to cycle down the middle at one point.

I arrived at the 2nd transition racked my bike and ran round to find Trin with my mountain run gear. She spotted me 1st and shouted out and quickly started changing my shoes and bags. Trin and her mum were asking if I wanted food, drinks and sun-cream, with my usual thinking, this would cost me time and I had to quickly get back onto the course and start the 33km mountain run.

After 2.75km you turn off the trail, down a bank and start your first river crossing. This is the start of Deception Valley; there are numerous river crossings and the terrain is tough going, being very rocky and easy to go over your ankle, (Try running along a rocky beach) there are boulders to clamber up and over, and sometimes there is a bit of easy going smoother trail. I made good progress for the 1st 13km but the mixture of lack of food and 30 degree heat was starting to catch up on me and I was slowing. I had a cliff bar and drank some water then set off again……………

The terrain got steeper as we neared ‘Goats Pass’ peak at 1085m where there was a mandatory kit check and you could refill drink bottles (although the river water is safe to drink in most places)……………………..

I then set off again and from here there was a nice sign to tell you, having crossed the Southern Alps “it’s all downhill from here.’ This was the part of the run I was dreading as in the week leading up to it I’d been getting cramps when running downhill. I wanted to keep it at a gentle pace to delay the inevitable cramps. There were a mixture of boardwalks and rooted trails and unbelievably some steep uphills! The terrain was pretty sapping and slowed me down. The last 3km was back to the rocky river bed but the end was in sight. There was a big sense of relief when I crossed the finish line at Klondyke Corner, and everyone is greeted by Steve Gurney (9 time C2C champion) with a handshake and cold beer. My total time for Day 1 was 7:17:11

After getting a massage it was time to find my hire kayak to set it up and stick race numbers on it, then I was thankful for the cabin we had booked instead of having to camp! Before heading to bed I had to sort out my bags and equipment for the 2nd day.

It was an early start again for day 2 where Trin and her dad had to get up at 4am to take my kayak and equipment for scrutineering. I had a bit longer in bed and didn’t need to wake until 5am, and once I had breakfast Trin’s uncle took me and my bike back to Klondyke Corner ready for the wave start.

The waves were groups of 10 setting off at 1 minute intervals determined by yesterday’s finish times. I was in wave 16 and we set off on the initial 15km cycle. As this was a relatively short cycle, and I was going to be sat in a kayak for a while after, I decided that I would try and go flat out. A couple of other cyclists came with me and we made good progress with a lot less congestion compared to the day before, we quickly caught up and passed some cyclists from the other groups. At the end of the cycle I had to run 1.3km with my bike down a gravel road to the bike racking, and then made my way to the kayak.

I had no idea how long it was going to take me to kayak 70km with the longest distance previously undertaken in a kayak was on the flat river Thames and covering 16km in 3hrs. Thankfully this was all downstream and the river was flowing at a decent rate. The first 25km is fairly flat without too many obstacles or features; it can get pretty braided so sometimes there is more than one route option. I tried to follow people who looked like they knew what they were doing and had paddled the course previously.

All was going well, when after 10km there was a small section of rapids, I didn’t see a large rock until a bit late and ended up sideways trying to get round it and pushed upside down by the water. I quickly decided it was best to bail out of the kayak as there was 2nd big boulder I was heading towards. I ended up getting pushed over the boulder hitting my leg against it…………………

At some of the known trouble spots there are rescue teams set up to deal with this. One guy on the bank threw me a throw line which I caught whilst another in a kayak got my boat and took it to shore, and another had rescued my paddle for me. Back on the bank I spent a few minutes emptying the kayak, getting my breath back and jumping back in before heading on my way again. I hoped that this wasn’t a sign of things to come as I had lost 10 minutes dealing with that which would add a lot of time to this section if I kept coming out.

The hardest part of the course is the second 25km stretch which is through a gorge and contains a lot more rapids, this makes it a lot more fun but there is more chance of capsizing. Lots of rapids and wave trains, thankfully I never came unstuck and kept upright the whole time. All along the course everyone is really friendly and encouraging. You get chatting to people around you as people are from all over the world. Some are local and have paddled the river numerous times…………………….

I knew I had almost completed it when I saw the Gorge Bridge ahead of me, a couple more bends and I could get out of the kayak. This was a relief as my back and leg were hurting from being sat for over 5 hours. As I came to the river bank there was an army of people to help the kayakers out. Two guys grabbed either arm and hoisted me out, my leg having seized up. From there, there was a cruel steep uphill run to the bike transition where I got changed slapped loads of sun-cream on and ran the short hill to the road with my bike.

 

I knew this last 70km cycle was going to be hard not just with the distance but also the lack of other people around me to help draft. For the first 16km I was by myself but made good progress passing a few people, but sustaining 20mph on my own was tough. Thankfully a rider from a 3 person relay team caught up and for the next 8km we worked together picking up the pace slightly (although he ended up doing most of the work). Eventually it was too much for me to sustain and he started pulling away from me. Back cycling alone I slowed, It was tough going as the roads were so long and straight and the heat was again draining. I kept getting water in me and then managed to take on some food. At one point I saw a sign that read ‘ The End of New Zealands longest straight road’, it was only a few minutes later I realised they must have meant the wrong end and this was only the start! 25km of dead straight road was mind numbing and tiring. My body was really aching, pains in my right quad and the bottom of my feet, I just wanted to get to the end. Eventually a larger group of cyclists caught up and asked if I wanted to join them. This was a welcome relief. I joined in and could relax slightly. They kept rotating at the front so everyone was getting a turn…..

Soon we arrived in Christchurch and there was only about 16km left. We had to stop rotating as there was too much traffic so some of us started to speed up as the end was in sight. I finally saw the 1km sign and peddled as hard as I could. There was a line of marshalls waiting to catch me and hold the bike whilst I jumped off and ran to the finish line. There was a steep incline up a sand bank rising 3m and I pushed as hard as I could to get to the top where the finish was. The relief as I crossed the line and was again greeted with a handshake from Steve Gurney was immense. My total race time 15.56.15………………..

I enjoyed the cold drinks and free burgers provided and enjoyed the satisfaction of having completed the event. With my burger and support crew I hobbled to the beach to cool off in the sea. It was one of the most enjoyable events I have done, everyone was friendly and helpful. I can’t wait to head back and compete in ‘The Longest Day’…………..

 

 

 

AGM-2018

Notice of the 2018 Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given of the Club’s 2018 Annual General Meeting.
VENUE: Sutton Bowls Club, Chalfont Way, Lower Earley, RG6 5HQ.
DATE: Tuesday 6th March 2018 commencing promptly at 7.30pm.

All AGM Pack files can be downloaded below by clicking on the link.

Download all AGM Pack files below (as a zip file).

01 AGM calling notice

02 AGM Pack – agenda

03 Proposed modification of the Club Rules & Constitution

04 Minutes of the 2017 AGM

05 Charity guidelines

06 Financial audit report for 2017

07 Cheque reconciliation report of December 2017

08 Income and expenses report of December 2017

 

 

Maraton del Meridiano 2018

Report by Ashley Middlewick

The Maraton del Meridiano – an eventful experience to say the least!!!

Left my Airbnb place at 8.40 expecting a 45 min walk to get to the start. 5 minutes after setting off I was offered a lift by a passing camper van (the driver was also running) and I got to sit on the bed in the back accompanied by two yappy little dogs :). So I get to the start nice and early. Good atmosphere and there’s a DJ playing some good uplifting music. Then reunite with fellow Brits Paul and Agnes who I met in the queue for the bib collection yesterday afternoon. I then drop my main bag off (opted for running with the Camelbak with orange jacket in in case it got cold higher up).

We set off on time at 10.00am (I had a flight to catch at 5.35pm so it was a race within a race with part 1 being get around the 42km and part 2 being find a taxi and get to the airport on time). 0.67 miles in everyone stopped and there was a significant delay of maybe 10 minutes before we got going again. Not sure what the delay was about but was just happy to get going again. Anyway it wasn’t long before the severe climbing started and everyone was reduced to a walk. All I could do was run/overtake where possible and hope that the waking wouldn’t last too long.

After about 4 miles we progressed onto a slightly downhill smooth trail and the pace was brisk. Then at the first timing mat I was called back – looked down and realized I’d lost my timing chip that was attached to my shoe with a bit of string that must have come undone. Thankfully the guy at the chip mat waved me on. After a slow technical descent down to the second timing checkpoint (9-10 miles in) in the small town of Sabinosa I stopped to explain to the officials about my chip situation. They radioed around to the other checkpoints letting them know my predicament and waved me on explaining that I didn’t need to stop again. After Sabinosa there was a lot of slow climbing with a considerable amount of walking involved. There were snippets of awesome views looking down at the sea far below. It was predominantly (or at least very significantly) up all the way to about mile 20. It seemed never ending especially with the strong winds and drizzle higher up (the abyss springs to mind). The descent when it eventually came was a welcome relief and the end seemed within reach. There were a few occasions when I had to stop and shake out the little bits of volcanic grit that had made their way into my shoes. Maybe 3 miles from the end I could start to hear the noise from the finish down below but there was a very techn

 

ical single-track forest descent to negotiate – time to stay composed. Eventually the path led us back into Frontera (the main town where the race started/ended) and there was one last steep down before a final right turn down the main Street/finishing straight.

The support was fantastic and I managed a decent finish. After crossing the line I immediately found a race official and asked him about me getting an official time despite losing my chip. He took me over to the timing guys and they showed me on the laptop that I had an official time – 4.59.18 :). It was about 3.15pm so I went to enquire about getting a taxi to the airport. I asked a guy in a MDM jacket – turns out he was a taxi driver and said he could get me to the airport for 4 euros and for me to come back at 4.00pm. Just enough time for a beer and to cheer some other runners across the line before jumping in the taxi with another runner and making our way to the airport. We arrived with an hour to spare – mission accomplished :).

Would 100% recommend the MDM event. Tough but stunning course with constantly changing weather on the beautiful little island of El Hierro where the people are friendly and atmosphere good. The course was superbly marked and feed stations well stocked. The pasta party the night before was brilliant and the food at the end wasn’t bad either. May well do this again next year.

Committee Positions

Reading Roadrunners Season 2018-19
Nomination For Election To The Committee

committee

Reading Roadrunners will soon be holding it’s AGM on 6th March 18. As part of the AGM we will be electing members to our committee.

Members are actively encouraged to forward themselves for election to a position.  It’s your chance to have your say and to contribute to our club.

Committee positions are:

  • Chairman 
  • Treasurer
  • General Secretary
  • Membership Secretary
  • Social Secretary
  • Coaching Liaison Officer
  • Social networks/Webmaster
  • 3 × Ex-Officio

All positions are voluntary. Please speak to a member of the committee if you are unsure of any of the roles and duties. Committee members are expected to attend our meetings once per month.

Anyone wishing to be elected for a position can download a nomination form from here. Completed forms must have been received no later than 27 Feb 18 to be included in the election.

Reading TVXV Race Report & Results

Report by David Dibben
Pictures courtesy of Cathrin Westerwelle

SEV KONIECZNY and Rob Corney were the toast of Reading Roadrunners after the club’s inaugural Thames Valley Cross Country League event at Ashenbury Park, Woodley.

Corney convincingly won the race and then led the plaudits for race director Sev.

“Huge credit to Sev, who I know had worked really hard to organise the race,” he said. “The course was superb… proper cross-country.”

 

Rob, who also won our final home TVXC fixture on the old

Crowthorne Woods circuit, stormed home with a massive 94 seconds to spare from Datchet’s James Sansom, with Richard Price, of Wargrave, just denying our own Mark Apsey a place on the podium.

Then Rob revealed one of the big secrets of his success. “I had 15mm spikes on, which definitely gave me an advantage over most of the field,” he said. “Most people were in normal trail shoes.”

For the star of Roger Pritchard’s You Tube home movie, it was the second great performance of the weekend.

He had finished a highly-creditable fourth on his debut in the hugely competitive Hampshire League fixture at Prospect Park the previous day.

Rob said: “I had heard it was a fast league. Mark Worringham mentioned that a top-ten finish would be a good result and I knew a couple of the quick guys who usually run were up in Scotland for the international so I made a solid top ten my target.

“For 9.2km it was bloody tough and I’m not looking forward to Parliament Hill and 12km of that sort of pace.”

Next morning, hardly surprisingly, his legs felt heavy and he didn’t want to run. But, like so many of our good clubmen, he said: “I was down for helping with the course set-up, so I dragged myself out of bed and down to the park.

“Once you get on the start line everything else takes a back seat. It was nice to win the home fixture for RR.”

What made the occasion all the sweeter for Sev, her hard-working committee and Katie Gumbrell’s ‘green army’ of marshals and volunteers was the news the following day that Roadrunners’ men had been declared winners of the event.

After the provisional results had been announced it was spotted that our third man over the line, Seb Briggs, had not been recognised in the veteran category.

Thanks to a superb run by our second ‘vet’, Fergal Donnelly, Roadrunners packed all six scorers in the top 22, pipping the strong Datchet outfit by just three points.

With our ladies, led by Gemma Buley, finishing fifth, that placed the club second overall on the day.

Afterwards there was as much praise for the race director as the race winner.

Social media was hit by a tsunami of acclamation, typically this from Chris Drew: “Lots of love coming your way, Sev. An absolute triumph.”

And this from Ashley Middlewick: “That was a proper RR XC event in every sense… tough, muddy, undulating course, superbly marshalled and supported, with a fantastic turn-out and great food afterwards.”

While the TVXC roadshow moves on to Tadley this week with Roadrunners in second place in the season’s competition, the club are in an even stronger place in the veteran’s division of the Hampshire League.

With only one race remaining at Aldershot on February 10th, our vets… spearheaded by Mark Worringham, Ben Paviour, Andrew Smith and Lance Nortcliff… are top of the league, leading from the mega-strong Aldershot, Farnham and District side.

For the weekend’s champion Corney, however, there are even bigger fish to fry. His season’s targets include a sub-2hrs 30mins finish in the London Marathon and then “maybe a nibble” at Keith Russell’s club marathon record in Berlin in October.

Links for all the results:

Hampshire League & TVXC Combined Results

http://tvxc.org.uk/results/detail?race_id=79

http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2018/20180113_hlmen.html

http://www.hampshireathletics.org.uk/results/2018/20180113_hlwomen.html

Roger’s Race Video available here

Reading H Marathon Marshals Needed

A Message from Richard Hammerson below.

 

READING HALF MARATHON 2018

SUNDAY 18th March

VOLUNTEERS ARE REQUIRED TO MARSHAL THE START AT THE READING HALF MARATHON.

EACH YEAR WE ENSURE THE RUNNERS ENTER THE CORRECT STARTING ZONES AND THEN WALK THE RUNNERS UP FOR THE PHASE START.

ALSO IF ANYONE CAN STAY ON, TRANSFER OVER TO THE FINISH AREA TO HELP OUT WHERE REQUIRED.

PLEASE GIVE YOUR NAME AND CONTACT PHONE NUMBER

AND EMAIL ADDRESS TO EITHER MYSELF, OR FILL IN THE DETAILS ON THE FORM AT THE ENTRANCE DESK ON WEDNESDAY TRACK SESSIONS OR BY EMAIL (SEE BELOW)

PLEASE RESPOND BY FEBUARY 18th

THE ORGANISER’S HAVE CONFIRMED FREE RUNNING PLACES FOR THE

2019 RACE FOR THE 2018 MARSHAL’S

Many Thanks, Richard Hammerson TEAM LEADER

Phone: 01189694057 email: richvalhammerson@gmail.com