Well, 2019 turned out to be an epic and crazy year for me. It was on the cards to be a year with a crazy start; Coastal challenge, Ring of Fire, Xterra Rotorua, and Breca Bay of Islands all within a two-month period. But that was ok, as I’d have an easy end to the year. Ah ha, sure, righto.
While training was going well and starting to ramp up, my appendix decided it was time to shrivel up, die (though to be fair it might have happened up to a year before apparently), and go gangrenous. This killed the coastal challenge attempt, and a month out from Ring of Fire, it reduced training to just 2 days. Wisely (?) I made the call to “just do the 50km”, and boy was that tough enough. But it was such an amazing place to run, I have made it my first event of the year to get right around the maunga.
I made it through uninjured and after an eventful Xterra (helping a lady who cut an artery in her leg), it was time for what I’d call my greatest event ever. Teaming up with the absolute legend Vicki, we took on Breca Bay of Islands Swimrun as team Can’t Die, Won’t Die. It was a long day, but an absolute blast was had, and I think the best finish line ever, with my family and the Total Sport team waiting for us.
With my Mad March over I was settling down for a standard winter of the Xterra Series (fun as always), but a win in a Wild Things competition resulted in an 74km entry at the Taupo Ultramarathon. So, with the Blue Lake 24hr event already on the cards for a fun day out, I suddenly had a second crazy month of two ultras.
After years of avoiding hospitals, I found myself in the ER for a second time in the year, and 4 weeks out from a second 70+km race. This time it my gallbladder giving me shit, but thankfully I avoided a second surgery, and was able to keep training. While these two events are quite different in scale, I enjoyed both and boy the party at the Taupo finish line made the headlands worth it.
Unfortunately, I aggravated an old leapfrog foot injury from a few years back. This meant the end of the year was a bit tough and meant a few more drops in distance at the Wild Auckland events, and me taking the month off after Raglan Karioi.
All in all, it was a pretty great year with me ticking off 3 more ultras, a swimrun, a bunch of half marathons and miles of smiles.
I’d like to thank a few people.
All the event organizers and their armies of volunteers. While we can run the trails any day, these guys and girls open places we can’t normally access and give us goals to aim for. For most of these people, they arrange these events as a second job, and I can’t thank them enough for doing so.
To all the people I’ve meet at events and on the trails, thanks for sharing the miles with me. Having someone to suffer with makes life suck just a little bit less. Also, the mates I’ve gone on adventures with this year and trained with, thanks for waiting for me to catch up all the time.
Thanks to Rach and Jase from Infinit Austraila. You guys have taken a punt on sponsoring me, even though I’m not your typical athlete by a long way. I really appreciate the faith you have in me and the support is amazing from the whole Team Infinit. Your product is amazing and so are you.
To the baddest ass swimrun teammate I could hope for, Vicki, it was truly an honor to be part of your recovery story. And when you’re recovered again, I look forward to smashing out many more kilometers of running in our wetsuits.
Lastly and most importantly I’d like to thank my family. Mum and Dad for driving the support team around Russell and for babysitting the girls when I had events. George, Amber and Sophie, thanks for letting me out to run these silly events. I love sharing the trails with Amber, even if she does kick my arse. Knowing you guys were at the finish line for my hardest events this year made it easier to keep pushing that last bit. Love you, you crazy monkey butts.
And with 2019 done, I’ve started my work for 2020. While I don’t intend to do as many races, I don’t think it’s going to be any less crazy. Professionally, work is going to nuts with a lot of growth on the cards for the first 6 months. Perfectly timed of course with us moving to a new house and training for Ring of Fire 72km. 2020 is the year that I’d set myself the goal of a 100km event, and I don’t think there is a better event to attempt this at than the Blue Lake 24hr. So, come the start of daylight savings, I’ll be going for that 100km beer mug.
And with that it’s time to hit the bottle shop to stock up on some tasty crafties for tonight’s festivities. Hoppy trails everyone.