For the latest updates on upcoming trail runs around New Zealand
For results >> Trail Results 2020
Leith athletes competed in this event with some fantastic results:
Danny Baillie competed in the solo 84 km ultra running event finishing fifth overall in 9 hours 15 minutes 11 seconds. He was the second Veteran Male to finish.
In the two person teams 84km relay event, Leith’s Steve Tripp as part of the appropriately named “Tired Legs” team consisting of Leg1, Leg2, runner Steve Tripp and Leg 3, Leg 4, runner Chris Taylor, finished second in a combined time of 7 hours 53 minutes 55 seconds. This was only about 20 minutes adrift of the winning team Speedgoat and Son.
For full results go to Krazie Ks Website
Leith’s Sándor Tóth tackled this tough event and here is his wonderful account of his experience
My alarm went off at 4:00am. I had slept well, and had all of my gear ready. All I needed to do was have breakfast, gear up, and reflect on my preparations in the calm before the storm. 4:30am, and I jumped into the car, looking forward to my awaiting adventure.
After a 30 minute drive I arrived at Orton Bradley Park, the home of Krayzie K’s – a gruelling ultramarathon notorious for its technical and varied terrain, steep elevation, and a stretch of stairs which are enough to challenge even the hardest stoic. The course comprises 12.5km laps, with around 580m of vertical gain. One lap is split into two loops; the first, a steep ascent into farmland, and then down through paddocks of cows and sheep; the second, a technical trail weaving under tree cover through the park, undulating until reaching the main climb which included the legendary stairs. The course was challenging, a pleasure to run on, and very well marked with posts, bunting, and blue arrows (great for the colour blind, might I add!)
A bit of background: the event is organised by Stephanie Berry and George McNeur, a passionate, wild, and hardworking team committed to providing every competitor with a truly memorable experience. They go above and beyond to acknowledge every athlete’s trials and tribulations, successes and struggles, ups and downs, which matter so much, as ultras are more often than not an emotional rollercoaster in which crossing the finish line (be it first or last) is a victory in and of itself.
The main event, the formidable 100 miler, began on Friday, as did the 100K. So when I arrived and checked in for the 50K event, I saw some people almost 24 hours into their event, and some even finishing their 100K. It was an exciting sight, and my anticipation grew as all 8 competitors (arguably the 8 sensible ones!) made their way from the safety briefing to the start line. Almost 6:00am. A couple of competitors mentioned that they were feeling cold – I couldn’t believe it, and said how it was balmy, almost tropical! I guess those Dunedin winter runs in nothing but a t-shirt and shorts have started to affect my internal thermostat. We took off, and little did I know that this short, friendly exchange would be the foreshadowing of my downfall.
3…2…1… Go! I started quickly with a steady pace, careful not to redline too early into the piece, but also taking on board some lessons from my last race, the Three Peaks Plus One, where I had probably lost some valuable minutes being over-conservative at the beginning. In hindsight, it always does take me about half an hour to warm up and get into the flow, so I suppose that might be more of a ‘don’t fix what ain’t’ broke situation in terms of racing strategy. By the time I was out in the open fields, midway through the first climb, my legs were starting to loosen up, and I was getting in the zone. The first lap was a pure joy, and I was riding high on the euphoria of novelty. There is always something special about the first time on a new trail that always sticks!
The second lap went as smooth as the first. I was conserving energy and in high spirits. I was flirting with my aerobic threshold, and balancing on the razor edge of energy intake and output. As I finished my second lap I noticed the 25K runners (aka the fast ones!) up ahead on the start line. They were all in good spirits, and as I jogged past they clapped and cheered. In a regrettable classic fashion, I smiled sarcastically and said to the group “It’s really awful, you’re going to hate it” – it garnered guffaws, and now that I reflect on it… it was really them who had the last laugh.
There’s nothing quite like sponges on a hot racing day. It must have been approaching if not 30 degrees already, and I was starting to feel my core temperature rise. Squeezing the car sponge above my head and having that ice cold water run down me was one of the most satisfying experiences of the race. Whoever organised the sponges: I love you. I have raced in heat before and found that wetting a thir and putting that under my hat helped keep away the sunburn, however it was starting to dry out very quickly, perhaps 10-15 minutes out from the aid station. I ran out into my third lap alongside the 25K runners. That was really fun! It wasn’t long before I settled back into a hike and they left me in the dust – ahh, familiar old dust. It was at the top of this climb, that almost suddenly, something unexpected happened.
The previously rather straightforward meander down the farmland after the first loop’s climb was an absolute struggle. Heat and exhaustion had pushed me into the redline and I couldn’t find another gear to shift into. I slowed down, but still my heart was pounding, my throat was parched, and in my stomach was starting to grow a pain and nausea that I would become very well acquainted with for the remainder of the race. My chest was starting to hurt, I just couldn’t get back under the threshold. Ok. Now the fun begins, I told myself. Strategy time – the wheels are falling off… time to sort things and get back on track.
I was carrying poles which weren’t a big deal, but mentally I was finding them tough to carry by then. I won’t need them for the stairs, I told myself, so I left them at the aid station as I headed out to confront the stairs for the second last time. Also, I had decided to try and take in some more water. I knew that my fluid intake was crucial in this heat, and I was filling up at every 5-6km stop. But it was then that the pain and nausea took hold, reducing me to nothing faster than a hobble.
Push through, no matter what. This is a great theory, but anybody who has experienced this won’t find what happened next surprising. I would try to break into a jog, my gut pain would spike, and then I would be dry heaving on the side of the trail (nothing chunky I promise). By now I was in absolute overdrive, as hot as I can ever remember being, my guts on strike, and also facing the fact that I was approaching my time to take in nutrition. So I did – it was hard, but I did.
But in the next hour, and as I began to make my way up my final hill, it seemed that nothing was absorbing. I was getting no energy from my nutrition, every time I sipped water, it just added to my bloated stomach. The more I tried to refuel and hydrate, the more it added to my struggle. By now, all chirpiness had faded. I was beyond enjoying the sights and sounds. I had just one thing on my mind… get this done.
I really didn’t know if I could finish this race. I felt a sense of pressure from doing the 50K that mightn’t have bothered me doing something longer. Maybe all I needed was 15 minutes to sit down, cool down, and reset. Perhaps I needed to practise running in warmer conditions more. Perhaps I needed to keep smiling, as George suggested as I ran out to complete my final loop. But none of this was going through my head. All I could think about was the sheer relief that would be found in crossing the finish line for the last time.
I finished the race. At the time it felt more like being relinquished from my undying agony, but now I know that’s just melodramatic. I finished in about 7.5hrs, but to be honest I really don’t know if times really mean much to me any more. You can have a race where everything clicks, and your problems are fairly straightforward, and get a quicker time. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the effort required to finish. It may have been a slow race day, but it was without a doubt one of the most gruelling for me.
I crossed the line and was met by Stephanie and George. Their warm welcome and a compassionate embrace (oh and a nice cool ice block!) brought a tear to my eye. My wife Kelly was also there, who had raced the 50K, ripped her finger on barbed wire, and then still ran 2 more laps until deciding it’s probably best to call it a day (but that’s for another race report).
This wasn’t the finish I expected, but it was a huge learning experience for this beginner trail runner. I have unfinished business out on those beautifully brutal trails, and I will be back in 2021, armed with a tad of experience, but still taking no outcome as a given. I have nothing but the greatest respect for everyone who toed the line last weekend, be it for the 6.5K right through to the miler. I really do love the long distance trails. Perhaps in a busy modern life it’s the ability to slow down perceived time so that an hour feels like it lasts a lifetime. Perhaps an escape from the everyday demands of multitasking to be able to focus on a simple, singular task. Perhaps it’s just a sufferfest (misery loves company!) … but I think it’s even more than that. I guess we’re all on our own journey in life, and there’s something special about sharing with others every now and then that makes that journey all the more meaningful.
by Sándor Tóth
Crater Rim Trail Run, Christchurch, New Zealand
For results >> Crater Rim Ultra
Dunedin, New Zealand
Various distances from Ultra to 11km most taking in one or more of four peaks, Flagstaff, Swampy Summit, Mt Cargill, Pulpit Rock
For results and further information, please visit the Three Peaks Website
Race Directors: Steve Tripp and Mark O’Neill
Leith Harrier & Athletic Club Inc. Dunedin
Weather: Partly cloudy with North to North Easterly winds, temp about 15 Celsius
Race Directors Steve Tripp and Mark O’Neill put in a tremendous amount of work and are to be congratulated in making the Three Peaks Mountain Race Events a resounding success, the introduction of the 52km Ultra, reintroducing the 2-member teams 26km relay race, the 11km Race the Summit and the 11km recreation walk and taking them all to a whole new level. The addition of the Three Peaks Plus One 52km Ultra was a massive undertaking and congratulations to the race directors, marshal organiser Siobhan McKinlay, other key assistants on the weekend of the race, and all those who helped behind the scenes. Congratulations and thanks to all those who participated, their supporters, and to all the volunteers who helped to make this a great day of tough and enjoyable trail running. Thanks to our sponsors who without their support an event like this would not take place.
For a full report on this race check out >> Three Peaks 2020 Report
SUNDAY 20 September 2020 AT 9 AM
There was another great turnout on a nice bright Sunday morning of 40 eager runners for the second of two Three Peaks Mountain Race orientation runs. The course took in most of the second half of the 26km Three Peaks race which included Leith Valley Road and Mt Cargill. Thanks to run leader Danny Baillie, Steve Tripp, Jamie Sinclair and others who lead the group. They set off from the Woodhaugh St entrance to Ross Creek at 9am and headed up Leith Valley Rd, via Dryden Road to Mt Cargill, then down via Bethunes Gully, Chingford Park back to Woodhaugh Gardens. The distance covered was about 22km. The pace was nice and easy with regular regroups and photo shoots with the magnificent views as a backdrop. The participants had an enjoyable day out running the course and were looking forward to the Three Peaks Mountain race on Sunday 11 October 2020.
SUNDAY 13 September 2020 AT 9 AM
There was a great turnout on a nice bright Sunday morning of 40 eager runners for the first of two Three Peaks Mountain Race orientation runs. The course took in the first half of the 26km Three Peaks race which included Flagstaff and Swampy. Thanks to run leader Danny Baillie and others who lead the group. They set off from the Woodhaugh St entrance to Ross Creek at 9am and headed up the tough climb to Flagstaff, then to Swampy and down to Leith Valley Rd. Then back down Leith Valley Rd returning to the start. The distance covered was about 20km. The pace was nice and easy with regular regroups and photo shoots with the magnificent views from the top of the peaks as a backdrop. The runners each took their own food and water and safety gear as the weather up there is often changeable.
Bullring Car Park, Dunedin
9am From Bullring (+35km) Three Peaks 52km course Orientation run over legs 2 to 5, then returning via Swampy Ridge Track.
A group of 13 runners took part in this run led by Steve Tripp.
See Three Peaks Training for 52km Course Details
Bethunes Gully, Dunedin
Andy Smith wins having completed 13 laps up and down Mt Cargill, covering about 110km
Competitors ran up and down Mt Cargill once every 1hr 40min until they were stuffed. It’s was a last person standing event so the “winner” was the person who could do 1 lap more than anyone else. Also featured Crush the Cargill Lite – a 2.1km run every hour for 24hours making it a nice walking pace ultra-marathon of 52ish kms. Contact Steve Tripp 021 0231 9084 for more details or click on title above.
See the ODT report on this amazing event: Reward for an uphill battle ODT Online Report, Monday 22 June 2020, By Molly Houseman
For more results and more details go to The longest Shortest Day & Crush the Cargill Lite
Mt Difficulty, Cromwell, New Zealand
For full results: Results
On Saturday Leith’s Steve Tripp competed in the Mt Difficulty 44km Ascent running race, finishing 22th overall and second veteran in 06:57:53. A superb effort from a tough superb competitor. This was one tough race – it’s a mountain trail ‘run’ of 44km distance. Some sections of the ascent are between 40-50′. There was also a 200m section with a set rope in part of the decent which Steve had to negotiate. Some of the uphills were hands on knees stuff, puffing just to walk, using hands to scramble up some dirty, rocky slopes. Well done Steve!
Set in the stunning Wanaka to Queenstown high country, you’ll race through some of the most stunning high country terrain in New Zealand, with seven different events to choose from over two days
Check the race website for results >> Macpac Motatapu 2020
In the heart of the Catlins, 15.5km Trail Run
For Provisional Results >> Trail Results 2020
Leith Athletes at the Famous “Pikelet Run”
by Siobhan McKinlay
On Leap Day 2020 a small contingent of Leith members took part in the famous “pikelet run” – the Papatowai Challenge. The Catlins turned on a stunning day and with the run starting at 1pm, the heat was going to be a factor. Papatowai has a bit of everything – gravel roads, sealed roads, beach, bush, 4WD tracks, hills, flat. After the first couple of kms on the road, the field of runners pounded along the near single track through the bush in silence and then out onto the beach, where the sun was out in full force. Luckily, unlike previous years, there was a tail wind on the beach. The tide was perfect, providing lots of good firm sand to run on. Next up, up, up, with the occasional relief of a breeze. The downhill section was on the sealed road and the runners were by now weaving through the main field of walkers, who had started an hour earlier. All in all, 15.5 kms of beautiful scenery and great camaraderie. A highlight for Tom, Finn and Siobhan was receiving their medals for 5 years participation.
Leith results in order of overall placings:
11 Glenn Thompson (6th Open Men) 68:04
15 Mark O’Neill (9th Open Men) 69:41
27 Tom McKinlay (4th MM50-59) 1:16:34
55 Siobhan McKinlay (4th VW35-49) 1:22:55
96 Finn McKinlay (26th Open Men) 1:33:59
FROM THE BASE OF NEW ZEALAND’S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN TO THE SHORES OF THE PACIFIC
My Journey of Self Discovery during the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra
by Harjinder Singh Chander
Fantastic performance from Harjinder Singh Chander who finished second overall.
Message from Harjinder: This is for you Leith Runners. Alps2oceanultra done and dusted. Finished 2nd overall and 2nd supported runner.
Once-a-year chance to traverse the infamous Hokonui Hills, with great courses, great scenery and great company
Event Website for info and results: MLT Moonshine Trail 2020
Simon Leaning and Mark O’Neill represented Leith Harriers at this event. Here is Simon Leaning’s personal experience of the event. He took part in the 15km Run : Vet Male 40-49 grade where he finished as third male runner in this grade, and fourth overall in 1 hour 8 minutes 30 seconds. Mark O’Neill competed in the 5km Open Men’s grade run finishing an excellent first in 24 minutes 54 seconds. Here is Simon’s interesting narrative…..
Arrived at Dolamore Park just outside Gore nice & early & picked up my race pack,then began sussing out the other runners…a light rain & cool temperatures prevailed.Before long we were off, running over grassland & then onto an undulating track surrounded by scrub…from there, onto Reaby Rd & turning left through farm land, having already passed several competitors to gain 4th place. I caught up with & passed Craig Iversen of Invercargill & managed to hold him off. We then left the farm tracks & ascended up into the native bush…this was continuous for the rest of the 15km run,with plenty of time to recover on the downhills before being assaulted by yet more steep climbing! Held Craig off until about 2km from the finish…I thought I’d left him for dead! That last couple of kilometres were particularly tough-a steep downhill & slippery with many obstacles (tree roots,mud,branches & lots of tight corners-with many twists & turns). We also had to dodge the numerous 5km runners & walkers,who were very gracious & allowed us room to manoeuvre through. As we left the forest & came onto the open grass of Dolamore Park,the finish line was not far ahead & BANG – Craig passed me, finishing 3rd & beating me by 4 seconds! I finished 4th overall, 3rd Veteran Male in a time of 1:08:30. Craig & I shook hands afterwards & both agreed it had been quite a dangerous downhill to the finish. A great event with 400 mountain bikers,runners & walkers in attendance & was great to see fellow Leith runner Mark O’Neill take out the 5km run in a time of 24:54.
Roll on Moonshine 2021!
The inaugural South Island Spirited Women — All Women’s Adventure Race. Alexandra, Friday 14th – Sunday 16th February 2020.
For full results and information >> Event Website
Lucy, Maggie, Siobhan and Karen had a great day out
report by Siobhan McKinlay
Lucy Marr, Maggie Pasek, Karen Lusk and Siobhan McKinlay had a great day out at the Spirited Women Adventure Race in Alex on Saturday, taking on the Medium Course. A hot day and long course with some tricky navigation meant the predicted winners time of 6 hours was way off, with the first team coming in in 8 hours 38 mins. Our team took 11 hours 5 minutes and came in 18th out of 75 teams (8th Vet team). The race was completed over 8 stages. There were 4 run/trek stages, 3 mountain bike stages and 1 kayak stage, along with 2 mystery challenges. Each stage had a number of Control Points to collect in any order. A lot of the country in the run/trek stages wasn’t really runnable, as it was tussocky with lots rabbit holes, or we were scrambling up and over rocks, for up to 2 and a half hours. Within half an hour of the start line we were waist deep in a river crossing, the first of many. Mountain bike stages ranged from Rail Trail sections to 4WD tracks, cross country, over fences and river crossings. The kayaking stage was completed on the Lower Manorburn Dam, nice and flat and a welcome relief sitting down, giving legs a rest and using our arms. One Mystery Challenge was a team memory challenge with members taking turns running into a shed, memorizing objects then writing them down. The second Mystery Challenge really was a big challenge – a cliff jump from 5.5 metres high into the dam. We all did it – on the second countdown, after a whole team freeze on the first attempt! Such a buzz as this was definitely outside my comfort zone. The day zoomed by so fast, with tiredness really only setting in in the final run and bike stages. We worked really well as a team as we had similar goals for the day and everyone had a positive outlook. Maggie’s map reading skills from previous orienteering and rogaine experience came in very handy. We’re all keen to compete together again, and already looking at potential events. The next South Island Spirited Women Adventure Race is next April in Marlborough. if you’re thinking about entering something different, go for it! It was great pushing comfort zones, fun competing as a team, and it was awesome finding out I could keep moving for 11 hours!!
Leith had a couple of athletes participating in this event on Saturday. Sharon Lequeux ran the full mountain marathon, finishing second in the Women’s 18-19 grade and 21st overall in a very good time of 6 hours and 40 seconds. Not to be outdone on this tough full marathon course, Steve Tripp finished first in the Men’s 50-59 grade and 27th overall in 6 hours 12 minutes 14 seconds.