Gareth Thomas. PHOTO/FILE

ATHLETICS

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Competitors in WAI2K long-distance adventure running events are in for another long, torturous day, the second of the three-day Wai Running Festival.

Sixty-five runners left Tauherenikau racecourse at 6am yesterday morning in three ultramarathon races – 101km, 83km, and 61km, and a 43km marathon.

The courses for all four races head up the Tauherenikau River, along Frith Track and then over the Tararua Range.

The runners in the 43km and 61km races finish at Tunnel Gully, near Te Marua. The runners over the two longer distances will return to Tauherenikau.

Organiser Gareth Thomas said all the courses are pretty tough and include steep hill climbs, river crossings, old railway tunnels, gorse, scrub, and technical downhills.

“I’m expecting the 43km race to take between seven and eight hours, and the runners in the 101km will probably be coming in between 8pm and midnight,” he said.

“There’s a 7pm cut off for the 101km runners to be through Tunnel Gully.”

Thomas said that entries were down a bit on what he expected.

“It would have been much higher, but events such as the Queenstown marathon were deferred until now and have taken some competitors.

“But with what’s been going on with covid, and with it being the first event, we’re pretty happy.”

As well as the elite races, a kids’ triathlon is planned for today, and a family fun run on the Greytown Rail Trail will be held tomorrow.

The kids’ triathlon, with a twist, will be based at Borderlandz Paintball, west of Carterton.

It will include a run leg, a bike leg, and a paintball leg, adding an element of difference for the kids.

The festival will wrap up tomorrow with the WAINOT fun run along the Greytown Rail Trail.



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