A Rest: Hanmer Half Marathon and MTB Circuit

So instead of doing a peak this weekend, I turned my attention to a last minute entry into the Hanmer Springs half-marathon; a hilly, trail half marathon in the foothills of the Lewis Pass Range. I was offered a lift to Nelson with JJ and Richard Ussher (who were competing in the Rollos 24hr Adventure Race as Team Subway-Seagate) but didn’t have much time to prepare a peak… next time!

52 Peaks - The view over the bluffs
The view over the Bluffs towards Hanmer springs

Anyway, the half was ok. Wouldn’t say it was my best (3 minutes slower than last year!) and didn’t have a good prep for it with all these peaks stuffed in between. Still, I managed to get round in an ok time and into the top 25 runners again.

The crazy part of the half marathon is the start, the first 2.5km has a 200m climb section in it up Jack’s Pass. This sorts out the men from the boys, and unfortunately this time, I’d categorise myself as a teenager. The race went pretty well, ticking off the first 10km in 41m (with most of the climb taken care of), but then the stitch attacked and I had to slow to get rid of it. Possibly the GU I had a sip of at one of the water stations… they never agree with me! I physically and mentally gave up in the last 5km, as I wasn’t going to make the grade this time; but kept trucking along and completed it in a 1h30m.

A little down, I decided to take my MTB for a spin to test the Mt Isobel Challenge Route out. Mt Isobel Challenge is a mountain duathlon. 1st: A Run 8km with 1000m climb up Mt Isobel (which hopefully will be Peak 21 (1319m)), 2km down to Jacks Pass… then, a 26km MTB around the Clarence River, up and over Jollies Pass and around the forest park in Hanmer Springs to finish.

The MTB Ride up Jacks Pass
The MTB Ride up Jacks Pass

My bike route was from Hanmer School up Jack’s Pass, around the river and back up and over Jollies Pass into the village. Jack’s Pass is STEEP, in my granny gear (and the tiredness in my legs) and for 8km, I slogged up to 870m above sea level (from 380 in Hanmer village). The downhill to the Clarence River was lovely and Jollies a nice climb too. Jollies descent, however is slippy, loose gravel and has some hidden hairpins I’m going to have to remember on race day.

Excited for race day now.

M

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