The Manawatu Striders have organised the Classic for a third time and I decided to take part as preparation for the Three Bridges Marathon in Wanganui Dec 13.
The Kahuterawa is a marathon in three stages.
Stage 1 is 7kms of undulating farm track and road.
Stage 2 is 15.42 kms of undulating road, track and finishes along the same track as Stage 1.
Stage 3 is 21.57 kms of road, some climbing track running and returning along the rain.
Stages 1 and 2 are on the Saturday and Stage 3 is on the Sunday.
A warm wind, lots of sun and small field of 11 runners met the starter at 9am. A short 7km jaunt awaited us as the hooter sounded. Immediately the fast guys took off and charged up the first not inconsiderable hill. I trotted along gently looking forward to some new scenery as I had not run this course before. The course is all farm track except for about a km on Harts Road. I was wearing a new pair of Virtruvians. They are pretty good new – just put them on and run and no worries – and so it proved. By the time I was at half way the fast guys had almost a km on me.
There were several good climbs and descents and many curious jersey yearlings onlooking. A helicopter flew over, a tractor farmed in the distance – the view of the city was great as we were pretty high up. All too soon the run was over and time to head home for a shower, refuel and rest. 7kms in 40 minutes.
This part of the run was familiar to me but it has been a while since I have run it. Sometimes from home I have run over this course as part of a 30km loop but today it was 15 or so kms of up and down. I decided to take it easy first up but soon the challenge of the hills and a couple of guys in front of me revved up the pace just a little.
A couple of road kms to start then a meaty hill. I had slowed to about 8min pace on this hill – it must be about a km if not a little more. Up is usually followed by down and so it proved. Once again the fast guys had disappeared out into the future but this time two runners stayed within view. On the hill sections I was quite strong and passed one and later caught and passed the other. The first man I passed overtook me as I stopped for a drink and made 50 metres pretty quickly but some more incline allowed me to edge closer. One very steep hill helped me pass and build a decent gap which I held to the end. In front another runner had come into view so I was very pleased with the effort to complete the course in 1 hour and 21 minutes.
I enjoyed the run and was grateful for the sunscreen. My first real taste of summer conditions for the season. The wind was hot and sticky and in parts felt like you were running in a fan oven. I was pleasantly tired when I got home and had a little nap – it does wonders.
Looking forward to the run tomorrow – again a new course for me and with the extra distance, hills and weather promises to be a fun challenge.