Less than two weeks out from Kauri and heading towards a nice long taper it’s time to reflect on the work done and put some thought into the race itself.
Firstly thanks for supporting the event. It’s one of the country’s coolest trail runs and a long standing favourite not just of mine. As trail runners we are spoiled for choice now and there being so many races in the calendar we have the fortunate opportunity to pick and choose what we will train for and target next. It’s good to see people voting with their feet and support this classic event. Special thanks to all my friends who have put up with me banging on about it for the last couple of months, I look forward to seeing you all on the start line (and finish line if I make it).
I started kicking around the prospect of running Kauri70 some months ago when I began to question whether I could manage a 70km ultra given several years absence from genuine ultra-distance running. I’ve come a long way to answering that question with the meagre training I’ve cobbled together since National Road Relays and I think I can say with reasonable certainty, “probably not”.
70km is a hell of a long way if you lay it out on a flat surface in a straight line. Throw some rough terrain in the mix with more than a handful of significant climbs and we’re looking at an effort more akin to 100km. I have heard people describe the 1st half of Kauri as a marathon warm up to the 32km event. I know from experience that the 32km event is effectively your marathon time (minus a couple of minutes). So what we’re looking at in the 70km run is basically 2 marathons. Ouch.
If I were to run a marathon right now it would go poorly. If I were then to turn around and run another one with no more rest than the time taken to change my shoes it would go even worse. So what are we looking at then? Probably 2x 3:45 or there abouts. Something in the vicinity of 7.5hrs of running. Can I run for 7.5hrs? “probably not”
Then there’s the competitive side to the 70km event. Many are touting a showdown of significant proportions in the way of Suter vs. Dennis DeMonchy. Unfortunately this isn't really shaping up to eventuate. For numerous reasons not least that I have done far less mileage than I should leading into something like this. DeMonchy is in great shape having recently plucked the scalp of Grant Guise while taking a win at the K-Gorge Ultra. I had the chance to get a recent training run in with Dennis and having had a brief look at his calves as they disappeared effortlessly up the hill in front of me I was able to quickly ascertain that I was bringing a pocket knife to a gun fight. We laughed about how he would by me a dozen beers if he beat me at Kauri and I'm glad it’s now documented on this blog for all to see. 12 Monteith Goldens will do nicely thanks Monkey.
I’d like to say I have a realistic shot of sneaking away and putting the hurt on Dennis but sadly the course is the exact opposite of what I require to press an advantage. Were we just running the 1st half of the 70 I’d be the obvious choice for the win. Just the 2nd half and my odds are pretty good too. Even the course in reverse would see me having half a shot at the win. But alas, 38 generous kms into 32kms full of vertical gain and hardship will expose my very real weaknesses. If at any point I lose touch with Dennis, even early on, I will need to be realistic and let it go. It’s probably very quickly going to be an opportunity to reassess why I’m out there. And why am I out there? The same reason everyone else is, can I run 70km? “probably not”