To support her, a group of us got together on Saturday the 11th of May for a long run around Auckland's volcanic cones. There were 12 and 21k options for bikers and runners, and the big daddy, a 60k run or bike to conquer 14 volcanos.
Being me, I had to attempt the 14. No half measures. Not ever.
So here we are at the start, 6am, and freeeeeeezing.
And here we are about 17km in to the run at the summit of "Big King", volcano #4.
You may have noticed in the above two photos that there is a chap wearing a full gorilla suit. That's Darren Blackwell, bringing a new level of crazy to the sport of ultrarunning. He ran the whole way in that, including wearing the full mask on every ascent. Freak (in a good way).
As for me, I started off feeling good, but by volcano #6 (Mangere Mountain), and about 33km in to the run, I was feeling less enamoured with the whole idea - not the idea of running with great mates and supporting Amy, but with the idea of running all 14 the bastards. 60kms and 14 mountains is quite a long way on the road as it turns out.
So at Sylvia Park, just after volcano #9, about 42km in to the run, I decided to call it quits.
|Happy times at Sylvia Park|
But then, amazingly, after a coffee and a muffin, I started to feel the will to live again, and set off with the others for a few more kms. I wasn't sure how much further I would get, but decided just to box on and run in the moment.
From Sylvia Park we ran to and up Mt Wellington (which brought back fond memories of my father Hal taking me for a "rally" up and down the mountain road in my mother's 1981 Honda Civic - she never knew), and then on to Little Rangitoto Park in Remmers.
At that stage, 52km, 5:59 and 11 volcanos in, I really did call it quits. Amy, Darren, and Michael carried on to finish all 14 volcanos, 62km that is, in around 7 hours. Machines the lot of them. Proud to know them and count them as great running buddies.
|Amy, Darren and Michael|
*Photos taken by Simon Clendon, Michael Rodliffe and Mal Law