Stage 3 of the Kahuterawa classic was held this morning. A 21.57 km loop with 14kms of road and unsealed road and 7 kms of off road. My plan was to start slowly and ease into it and if there was any gas in the tank at the end – maybe go a little harder.
The 15 starters lined up full of enthusiasm and banter and were set our way by organiser Alister. The first 7 kms are road and then unsealed road. It is undulating and is quite challenging. I settled down at the back of the field and felt surprisingly fresh after yesterday’s efforts.
The off road section started with a gradual climb which continued more or less for 4kms. It was pleasant bush surroundings but uneven under foot. I usually avoid such terrain but today with a little care and gentle pace thoroughly enjoyed the course. Once at the top it was a 2km downhill through mostly pine forest. Several other runners said how difficult they had found this section and I was taking it easy through here as well. I had been close to another runner and passed her and then was passed as I took a wee stop and then again when I stopped for a drink. I passed her again on the final 7kms and while I wasn’t racing there is always a small ‘race’ or two as you run.
The final section was enjoyable. There was some good downhill running and a couple of meaty climbs. I came around a corner and in the distance saw two of the runners walking ahead of me. It is not nice to enjoy another’s misfortune but it was sweet to pass them both and chug up the hills.
As I crested the final hill with about a km to go I saw another runner ahead and just for fun tried to catch her. She saw me coming with about 400m to run and the small crowd were treated to a thrilling finish as we both let rip over dying stages. I eased up at the finish as I had no intention of actually passing her. I have been passed by fast finishing runners right on the line before and it is not in the spirit of an event like the Kahuterawa Classic. Save the big finish for when it matters. The crowd enjoyed the sight of the chase and I was really pleased to have had some gas left in the tank.
I would like to thank the organisers of the event. Three runs (44kms), water stops, course markings and course management. A great venue and to top it off, friendly runners and a lavish feed at the end. All for $5 – What a bargain !
Great service everyone.