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  • Writer's picturekarenfitforlifenz

Red Cross Resilience Ultra: 33km Painkiller

The inaugural Resilence events were held in Reefton. 49km(shortened from 62km), 33km and 10km options.

Being winter and on the west coast I knew it was going to be wet and muddy but this was a whole new level of mud!

The races started from a farm on the outskirts of Reefton. The ultra-racers set off in a torrent of rain while we sheltered in a stock yard. 45min later it was our turn.

It started as it would continue and we were covered in mud after the first 100m as we dashed, splashed, sloshed and glopped across some farm land onto mining tracks, before ascending the Pain Killer trail at around 5km. Here the mud got serious and it was time to use my poles.

The narrow trail took us up through beautiful beech forest & bush. There was absolutely no time to zone out, it required 110% concentration to stay upright. A good dose of mud, moss traps, roots and rocks. A couple of sections were roped up as they were a bit steep but I had no problem with my poles. There were some slips and tree fall from the big weather a few weeks ago but the team had done a great job on making a way through even if it didn’t look like a track, it was all part of the adventure!

Eventually the trail linked up with Inglewood mine(12km) where we picked up the Ajax track (more muddy fun) before the infamous Machine track. This was a steep technical downhill which I more or less skied down with my poles and made up quite a few places . At the bottom we popped/slithered out to a welcoming crowd (thanks Amanda) at Blacks Point (18km). I felt like I had already run 33km, the conditions were certainly energy sapping. A great aid station with very cheerful Red Cross Marshalls had us refueled and on our way up the Murray creek trail. This was not muddy, a gentle gradient which should have been much easier to run but my legs were pretty trashed. At Waitahu saddle the mud returned with an interesting camber on the trail but I had now refined my mud running technique, the corn fritters had kicked in and I enjoyed the Devils trail mud fest to Clematis swing bridge. Aid station 2(25km) which had freshly made peanut butter sandwiches- yum!

Now we were onto the most runnable section of the race, a 4WD track following the Waitahu river all the way to Gannons bridge. My legs got some severe talking to along this bit. Yet another aid station (30km) and it was onto a gravel road for the final few km back towards the start. However, surprise surprise there was still a final mud bog of about 500m to haul ourselves through to reach the finish line, Hurray! Much relief and a very weary body. Definitely a full body workout type of race. The Red Cross team and marshals were awesome. Thank you for being out there for us.

Training Tips

  • Mud, mud & more mud running. Think of Wharfedale track at its worstx5

  • It was pretty tough to get into any type of running rhythm on the muddy trails (probably about 15km total throughout the race)

  • Treat it as a marathon distance for training

  • Poles worked really well on the muddy single tracks (Mountain king from Further Faster)

  • Trail shoes with mud claw type lugs and tied on VERY tight

  • Mini gaiters to keep the gunk out of your shoes (Montane trail from Further Faster)

A race for those that like a challenge with excess mud and hills, a true cross country experience.

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