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Inwood happy after a bad day

Greytown ultra-marathon runner James Inwood was “pretty pleased in the end” to set a new personal best in finishing 13th in the Asia and Oceania 24-hour Championship in what he described as “a pretty bad day from the get-go.”

Inwood went into the race on the back of completing the gruelling Tarawera 100-mile race in February, and he reckons he probably hadn’t properly recovered from that going into the race, which was held on a standard athletics track.

“From about five to six hours in, my quads were mashed, and it was just a grind the whole way, and there were lots of rub downs and lots of walking breaks,” said Inwood, who added that the changeable weather made the race even more challenging.

“It was torrential when we started, and everyone was in jackets, and there must have been about 10mm of water on the whole track; it was awful conditions.

“Mid-afternoon, it cleared, and the track fully dried out, and it got pretty hot, and I ended up getting burnt a bit, and then in the early evening, it started raining again, and this time, when it stopped, there was no opportunity to dry your clothes, so everything was soaked, and there were lots of changes of clothes and shoes and socks.”

Fortunately for Inwood, he didn’t suffer from chafing or blisters, having found the right brand of under-shorts and socks after suffering in a race several years ago, and he felt that helped when he pushed for a personal best [PB] in the closing stages.

“I was confident I would get to the 200km, but those 4–5 km afterwards looked unlikely,” he said.

“In the last hour I worked out, I needed to run this many laps, and I hadn’t been doing near that in the last 9–10 hours, and all the guys said in the tent you can do it, so get moving.

“I said give me one of those caffeinated gels and some Red Bull, and I knocked out a hot lap, which was about a minute faster than anything I had been doing for the last 10 hours and brought the average time I needed to do for the rest of the laps right down and then I could relax.”

Inwood’s distance of 204.547km was just shy of 500m further than he did in Taiwan in the World Championships in December and was enough to help New Zealand to a bronze medal in the team’s event with a combined total of 636.679km, but well behind winners India, who amassed more than 758km, with runners-up Australia completing over 719km.

Indians dominated the race, filling three of the top four placings, with winner Amar Singh Devanda completing an incredible 272.357km, about 7km further than runner-up Australian Phil Gore.

There is little time to rest for Inwood, whose next mission is the Connemara 100, a 100-mile race on the west coast of Ireland that he will tackle on a visit to his partner Sarah’s homeland in July.

Then, the Coast to Kosci is a target that Inwood wants to tackle, having failed to finish in his only previous attempt.

The race commences in Southern NSW and finishes 240km later at Charlotte Pass after ascending to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest point. The race is limited to 60 starters, who must fulfil tough qualifying criteria to compete.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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