A really long way on a dirt road

This past weekend I completed in the “Molesworth Run” and 38miles/62km run through Molesworth Station, NZ’s biggest sheep & beef station (or farm) at almost 450,000 acres. This race has been happening for 22years.

Last year it was cancelled due to the nearby Kaikoura earthquakes. And this year proved to be no different. Molesworth is a wild, barren and raw part of NZ and this past winter a major storm took out a bridge over the Clarance River where runners would pass over. Rather than cancel again the organizers decided to re-route the course. Still in Molesworth but another part of this massive farm.

Most participants complete the race as part of a 4 person relay of the same distances but spilt 4 ways.

Then some of us elect to run the WHOLE thing solo…AKA me. An exercise in misery but with scenery like this why turn it down. The race is book ended with a mountain pass near the start and one at the end. Finishing with a quad burning run down a dirt road from the pass in the town of Hanmer Springs to a nice cold beer.

We (Robin, moana & my sister Louise) took the long 90min drive in on Friday evening from the mountain town of Hanmer Springs. We camped out at the start line to save the long drive in early Saturday morning. We woke to a dying chilly southerly wind which prevented the day from getting super hot which Molesworth is well know for. However had to grapple with a slight headwind all day.

Started running at 9am and quickly got into a rhythm. Was flicking back between 1st & 2nd however was eventually dropped into 2nd place. The 4 person relay runners started an hour later to give us a head start and to have people finishing closer together.

The 1st pass was steep and quite the climb. After ironing out a few of the kinks with my family support crew we were a well oiled machine. Support I could not have done without.

Molesworth is a very dry and arid place & inaccessible in the winter time. As the run unfolds the pain increases a lot in part due to the location and climate, but we don’t sign up to do these sorts of things on treadmills, so enough whinging.

This is a beautiful race set in a beautiful part of the country. The toughest part of the race came in 2 places for me. Around the later half of what would be leg #2 for relay runners. My right hip was giving me fits and honestly I had under-cooked my training a little with my longest run coming into the race only being around 21miles. I took about 800mg of ibuprofen and after about 30mins (of still running) it numbed up and made life a little easier. The second tough place was of course going up over Jacks Pass only about 45mins-1hr from the finish line. As I approached the climb I was mentally over the race, however it was nice to see Robin get out of the truck and run alongside me for a while… super helpful… super wife.

By this time there were a number of 4-person teams that were over-taking me and they along with their support vehicles were a great encouragement to me. Topping out at the saddle was filled with lots of support as I begun the steep decent down the other side of the pass into Hanmer Springs. After almost 6hrs of running on a dusty road with cars kicking up even more dust the view is quite cloudy and even tastes a little gritty. By now the quads were burning and my lower legs were cramping quite badly resulting in me having to adjust my running gait to cope.

A left hand turn onto a real road and a short run into town was a welcome relief. With the approach to the finish line and lots of cheering for a solo runner (me) who managed to pull out a 2nd place was quite fulfilling. Last time I did this race 4 years ago it was just Robin there, I was in a relay team and actually drove into town to greet our last runner. This time I was a solo runner, greeted by Robin & Moana (& my sister Louise) proved to be more exciting.

4 years later I was back, 4 years of moving to the USA, having a beautiful daughter and now moving back, full circle but a happy circle in all respects.


Pre-race warm up
“I love you Moana… I love you Dada”

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