Press Release – Queenstown Trails Trust
28 February 2017
For immediate release from the Macpac Motatapu, for further information visit www.motatapu.com
Gold Medalist Forced to ‘Slow Down’ for Ultra-Run Challenge
Hamish Carter is a busy man, the former Olympic Games gold medalist juggles roles with High Performance Sport New Zealand, an interim role as High Performance Director for Triathlon New Zealand, and being a family man.
It may then surprise some to hear that he is about to take on the 51km Ultra Run at Macpac Motatapu, an event not for the faint hearted – let alone someone who has learned to deal with arterial fibrillation!
Carter was encouraged to participate however by good friend and former XERO colleague Alistair Grigg and the two will line up on Saturday as team Coromandel Clowns.
“Alistair has had this on his bucket list for when he turns 50, I said I would do it with him. That was two years ago, and suddenly it is here. It is a unique challenge really, completely different to events I am used to and we are not even going to ‘race it’, we are going to enjoy it and get through it. But we have done some work to get ready and it will be a totally different experience. The country you run through is just spectacular, for all those reasons I was keen to put some time in to being ready and hopefully enjoying most of the race without blowing up!”
Carter says the team aspect of the event (team runners must stay with each other throughout the full distance) appealed to him after a career that was largely about racing on his own.
“That team racing appeals to me, that is another different aspect to the event. Doing something with someone is pretty cool to experience together, in every single way this is something I have never experienced before. When you don’t know what to expect you get a little nervous, which is a familiar feeling but not one I have had for a while.”
Carter admits that he will have to reign in those nerves and remember he is not competing on the ITU circuit anymore.
“Normally when you race you are in the space of trying to explode off the start line, this one you won’t know until about five hours in how you are feeling, hour by hour how is your body going to react? This is quite full on, you have to carry your own water and fuel, you have to be prepared to last for 24 hours in the event of an emergency, the race has to cater for worst case scenario. The terrain is something different and you have to run it together, there will be highs and lows for each of us but that is part of the challenge. We have identified that Alistair will set the pace for the first 4 hours, because I will want to race it and likely blow up.”
As he juggles his continued work with High Performance Sport New Zealand and an interim role as Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Director, Carter says he has a new appreciation for all those ‘weekend warriors’ out there who take on these sorts of events while balancing fulltime work, families and other commitments, while trying to get themselves as fit as they can to reach their personal goals.
“Preparing for this event has been quite hard, it has been a challenging time with triathlon and a necessary time for the sport but it has been difficult. This week I am trying to find some time to step back and recover. It has been quite stressful and that can take a toll on you.
“My appreciation for people who work and juggle family life while trying to get ready for these events has reached new heights – when you are a fulltime athlete you are prepared as you possibly can be, many people doing this will be in a variety of states of readiness. You have enormous respect for people who do these events in those circumstances, and despite how tough it is, they still love it.”
Carter has few issues these days with the arterial fibrillation that showed up some five or six years ago, when he was training for a ‘fun’ return to triathlon.
“It is under control, it can be unpredictable, it can come and go but it hasn’t been an issue. That is an unknown but I have done these long runs in training and have been fine. For me exercise is still a really good way to clear my head and relax, it gives you more energy as well. This is low level exercise from an intensity perspective, but the length of it is the challenge, it is a different energy system.”
Carter has family to thank as well for their support, with Marisa also balancing an equally busy career and family focus as she takes on the 15km Miners Trail at Macpac Motatapu.
“My family has been great, Marisa is doing the Miners Trail so we will make a weekend of it. They are great though especially knowing that I head off on a training run that takes half a day. Occasionally it was like I was back to being an athlete again.”
Those training runs have been vital to prepare for such an endurance event, with Carter and Griggs looking to prepare as best they can for the terrain that they will cover from Glendhu Bay in Wanaka to the finish line in Arrowtown.
“I have tried to replicate some aspects of the course. We have identified the pace we need to run and the vertical metres we need to climb. The first thing was getting used to running two hours again, then we have done about three five hour runs to get used to that time on your feet and carrying the water and food. The biggest surprise has been that it is such slow running I have picked up some injuries because the contact time with the ground is longer than I am used to. Alistair called them my ‘low speed injuries’.”
Carter and Grigg will be amongst 96 other hardy competitors taking on the Ultra-Run on Saturday, with the race starting at Glendhu Bay at 6am. Macpac Motatapu has a total of close to 3,500 competitors across all events.
Macpac Motatapu Ultra Run – Course Overview
This Motatapu Ultra traverses the absolutely stunning ridges and valleys of the Harris Mountain Range between Wanaka and Arrowtown. The track covers 51km of exposed and physically challenging back-country terrain across the Motatapu and Soho Stations on an old travellers’ route that is steeped in New Zealand history.
Runners will ascend a total of 2790 metres over four peaks (the highest point being 1275m), and negotiate rough tussock-covered areas, long, steep saddles and river crossings.
The Motatapu Ultra follows the DOC Motatapu Track, which forms part of the Te Araroa Walking Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Te Araroa, meaning “The Long Pathway”, connects settlements, townships and cities throughout New Zealand, showcasing a wide variety of NZ experiences – natural, cultural and historic.
As well as leading contenders in each of the events (profiled below), other entries of note include:
• Hamish Carter – Olympic Games gold medalist (triathlon), competing in the Ultra-Run in a team
• Mike McRoberts – TV3 News Anchor, taking part in the Off-Road Marathon
• Hayden Roulston – Olympic track cycling medalist, former pro road rider, competing in the Skoda Mountain Bike
• Mahe Drysdale and Nathan Cohen – multiple world and Olympic rowing medal winners, taking part as a team in the SKODA Mountain Bike race
• Ian Morgan – Christchurch runner who has become something of a social media star with his running account on Instagram. Collapsed during the Queenstown International Marathon in 2015 and following heart surgery now runs 80 to 140km a week, always with his phone and always posting pictures. Morgan has shoe sponsorship and is recognized all over the world for his running feats.
SKODA Mountain Bike
• James Williamson, Alexandra. A member of the Watson & Son Manuka Honey team with Scott Lyttle that won the 2017 Pioneer, former elite national road champion and Motatapu runner up in 2015, Williamson will be one to watch on Saturday.
• Hayden McCormick, Te Awamutu. McCormick is road cycling star, a former National Time Trial and U23 Champion, McCormick rides for the British One Pro Cycling team.
• Tim Rush, Timaru. Rush is a former runner up at Motatapu, finishing behind Anton Cooper last year in his first attempt at the race. Like Williamson he rode the Pioneer (with brother Kris) with mechanical issues derailing their team effort. Possible favourite given his experience on the course last year.
• Kate Fluker, Queenstown. Fluker is gunning for an amazing six in a row at Motatapu. The only question mark might be any after effects from a fall during the Nationals at Cardrona this weekend gone where she finished second in the elite women’s race.
• Marissa Graham, Ranfurly. 25-year-old Graham has competed in various events from triathlon, off road tri and cycling – in particular on the mountain bike. Runner up in the XTERRA Triathlon at Motatapu in 2016.
UDC Finance XTERRA Triathlon
• Dougal Allan, Oamaru. One of New Zealand’s premier long distance triathletes, Allan is competing off the back of his impressive win at Challenge Wanaka last weekend, but will have the endurance in the legs to be a serious contender here. The winner here in 2015.
• Olly Shaw, Rotorua. The defending champion and an off-road expert, having already represented New Zealand and finished top ten in the ITU World Cross Tri Champs in 2016, the one to beat here.
• Julia Grant, Christchurch. A long-distance triathlete with a number of podiums throughout her career, Grant is a previous place getter here at Motatapu.
• Mary Gray, Dunedin. Gray is the defending champion, taking out the title last year in a time just under five hours, experience can be vital on such a course, expect Gray to contend again.
• Martina Fellmann, Timaru. Fellmann has raced for some years now on the New Zealand and Oceania triathlon circuit, representing New Zealand at the ITU World Age Group Championships and finishing on the podium in 2013 in the 20-24 age group.
• Lucy Bartholemew, Australia. Lucy is the stand out in this field. The young Australian is forging an impressive career in ultra-running and will be tough to beat, the real class on the start line and testament to the reputation of the event.
• A tough one to pick, in truth an open field with any number of athletes capable of putting together a good race and standing on the podium.
• SKODA Mountain Bike – 1,914
• Off Road Marathon – 437
• Miners Trail – 688
• XTERRA UDC Finance Triathlon
– Individual – 124
– Teams – 37 teams (101 competitors)
• Ultra-Run – 96
– Solo – 60
– Team – 18 teams (36 competitors)
TOTAL = 3,360
• Average age: 43
• Gender split: 65% Male 35% Female
• Oldest Competitor: Barry Gardiner, 79yrs old from Christchurch, Skoda MTB
• Youngest Competitor: Oscar Gallagher, 16yrs old from Brisbane, Miners trail
Biggest representation from a region – Canterbury = 39% (1,338)
• Otago region 16% (577)
• Southland 5% (180)
• Auckland 5% (177)
Overseas representation = 11.5% (378) from 23 countries
• Aussie = 8% (270)
NEW THIS YEAR:
• Official Macpac Merchandise
• New MTB Rolling Start Process
• New MTB Teams Division
• Earlier Marathon Start Time
• Triathlon selected as the Cross-World Triathlon Champs NZ qualifier.