Tauranga runners take on ultra runs

Tauranga runner Lyndy Wickham at the finish of the longest section of the race. Supplied photo.

From Mount Cook to Oamaru, four Tauranga runners joined two Matamata runners in covering 316km.

The group were among 125 competitors who took part in the inaugural Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, a series of ultramarathons staged in the South Island from February 25 to March 3.

Tauranga sports coach Lyndy Wickham and her husband Steve went down with a team to take part in the first year of the event.

“Steve initially sent me a link to a website about the race, and after seeing the scenery I thought it was beautiful down there,” she says.

Training with two others from Tauranga and two from Matamata, the six of them covered different distances every day, including one stage that was 90km long.

Runners could either be supported or unsupported during the race.

“The unsupported carried all their food for the week plus their sleeping bag and mat and other compulsory gear.

“The supported carried their food and compulsory gear for the day, but their food for the week and sleeping bags were carried from campsite to campsite,” says Lyndy.

“We were supported, we’re not that silly!”

She says the length of the race was unusual, with most staged ultras usually only coming in at 200-250km.

Out of the 100 who finished, Lyndy came fourth out of the supported females, and 16th overall, while fellow Tauranga runner Murray Smith was fifth out of the supported males, 13th overall.

The race followed the route of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

Funds raised from the event will be put back into the maintenance of the trail and will support local youth in the community.

For more info on the 2019 race, visit www.alps2oceanultra.com.


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