Waharau? – More Like ‘Why The Hell?’

I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one thinking “why the hell am I doing this?” at some point. Last weekend was arguably the hardest of the Xterra series, the much loved and hated Waharau Regional Park. It’s Wednesday night Thursday morning and I’m just regaining full control of my legs.

For those that are unfamiliar with Waharau, it is basically up, up, up the mountain and then down, down, down the other side. For my mid event this meant 480m of gain over the 11km course, and for the nutters in the super long it was 950m over 21.5km.

Mid
Mid Elevation
Superlong
Super Long Elevation

Located on the far side of the Hunua Ranges on the Firth of Thames, it was another long trip with the boys and a very early start. When we arrived we were greeted with a pretty stunning day, cold but sunny and clear. In order to prevent the mud bowl of last year Kezia and the team moved the event base closer to the park entrance, which had the added bonus of an extra 1km for everyone.

Almost from the start it is up hill and before too long most of us mere morals were down to a walk. Unfortunately for me in my ongoing battle with Lee, he is a lot quicker walker than I am and as it turns out quicker up the hill too. This meant that he was quickly ahead and then out of sight, leaving me to hope that I’d be able to catch him on the down hill.

To add injury to insult at around the 2km mark  I started to get pins and needles in my right toes. This then spread to my foot, and then to the rest of my right leg, leaving it numb and somewhat uncontrollable. Consulting with my fellow runners, we decided that as since my arm and face weren’t numb I wasn’t having a stroke, and that I should just push on. But the numbness meant that I kept putting my foot down wonky and then rolling my ankle. My best guess is that there was something funny going on the climb as it all came right on the way back down.

By the time I reached the top I was too tired and sore to really enjoy the first part of the return. However before too long I was stonking, screaming, plodding down the hill in semi control and hoping that I was clawing some distance back on Lee. After a lovely photo leaping through the river, I had my answer to where Lee was. During his splash Lee’s calf quit on him leaving him hobble along. I felt bad as I left him behind but I still wanted to finish strong (well, as much I could).

The new finish placement meant there was a lovely short section through a little grove of bush before popping out into the finishing chute. Waiting for me was Chris and SAS, a mate from uni. The rest of the team were still out on the mount, so I’d get the rare chance to cheer them in to the finish. With such a challenging course the field is spread out by over more than a few hours. This meant that I had about an hour to grab a few beers and sausages (without the normal queues) before the others would be back to join us.

Living up to what I’ve heard and remembered from last year, Waharau is (to me) a very challenging event, but it is also one that leave you with a real sense of achievement. Sure PB’s are not set at Waharau, but with the views and shared agony, it is easy to see why people begrudging say it is one of their favourite locations in the series.

Thanks to Photos4Sale for the great photos each event. Just a shame they can’t do anything about the subject matter.

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