I’m not going to sugar coat it; I don’t like Riverhead Forest. It’s nothing personal, it’s not you, its me. Slow muddy runs, more time pushing than on my bike, car parking, and getting lost that one time has meant Riverhead has never done it for me. I never saw what others did in the sloppy mud and clay amongst the pine trees and fire roads. So with the first event of this years Auckland Xterra Series at Riverhead I gritted my teeth and thought of England.
After suffering so much envy of the longer course scenery at the Waitomo Trail Run last year, I decided I wasn’t going to miss out this year and I entered the 35km super long event. I certainly was not let down by the natural beauty of the region, which helped some ways towards making up for some of the disappointment felt along the way.
I’m still not sure why I did it, and over the space of nearly 7 and a half hours I thought about it a lot … a hell of a lot. Why The Hillary event? Why the 34km event? And I’m sure I wasn’t alone out there questioning our (poor?) choices at some point. But life wasn’t all bad, the views and scenery was breathtaking, watermelon at aid stations is awesome, everybody out there was amazing and the beer afterwards was quite simply #thetits. There was even a very special moment that I’m certain left no eye dry.
In what seems like an age ago Paul and Tim of the Tarawera events fame announced the inclusion of the Tikitapu 16km and 23km Adventure Run into this years Tarawera Marathon and 50km event. Given the choice of running the Auckland half marathon or a new trail race the decision was simple one.