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For the latest updates on upcoming trail runs around New Zealand

For a full list of selected upcoming events visit our Upcoming Events or Calendar (road, trail, track, cross country & more)


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Scenic Circles Backyard Ultra, 2 September 2023

Centennial Reserve, Timaru

Event Description: The Backyard Ultra format is simple:
Run 6.7056 kilometers every hour, on the hour until you are the last person standing. All you need to do is be in the corral at the start of every hour for the bell and be back in time for the next bell. “Just one more” as easy as that.

The last person standing was Caversham’s and Dunedin Pub Runner, Glenn Sutton – 37 Yards / 248km – Finisher / Winner

Leith put in a good effort too:

DNF Steve Tripp – 15 Yards / 100km – (101.44 km 7:56 /km 1 417m 13h 24m)

DNF Jamie Ward -13 Yards / 88km – (87.86km 8:53 /km 13h 1m)

DNF Sandor Toth – 4 Yards / 26.8km

Sandor Toth dashed 4x around Centennial Park on commenting: “Saturday 2nd of September saw the inaugural Scenic Circles Backyard Ultra in Timaru, directed by Paul Forbes and hosted at the Centennial Park. The official backyard event consisted of an undulating parkland path and bush single track 6.7km day loop, as well as a less technical night tarmac loop. The event had a relaxed, family friendly atmosphere and brought a range of different runners along – exciting new race format or just running a few laps for fun.”

Jamie writes: “So many ups and downs. Started with my back still sore from my hamstrings. Then hamstrings got sore, the hips, the adductors, then calves then hips again when we hit the road night course. Didn’t quite get nutrition right and just ran out of steam. DNF on lap 14, no way I was going to make it around again, so didn’t get my 100 km”.




Dacia, Mont-Blance

Full results >> UTMB Live Dacia Mont-Blance Results 2023

Huge congratulations to Leith’s Anna O’Byrne. UTMB conquered in an impressive feat, well done Anna, we are so proud. Below are her impressive stats

RACE TIME 34:40:33




DIFF/1ST 15:02:50





Great Naseby Water Race, 23/26 August 2023


The full results are now available >> Trail Results 2023

Leith Results and Reports

100 Miler

1 John Bayne M 16:35:55


5 Lee Flowers M 9:49:14


1 Chris Bisley M 4:11:43
8 Nick Punnett M 5:08:16
18 Mark O’Neill M 6:05:19
26 Jamie Ward M 6:29:13

Relay 2x30km

2 Rebecca Landreth / Angela Bishop 5:45:06
3 Sue Hendry / Alice Cuthbert 5:47:45

Chris  Bisley Event Report

The Great Naseby Water Race is held around the final weekend of August each year. This can throw into the ultra mix a number of weather related factors, from sub zero frosty mornings, to rain and snow, and even the odd mild day where the mercury can hit around 16 degrees!
The Naseby course is set around the forestry roads and historic water race of Naseby. Two 5km loops form the complete 10km figure of 8 that makes an even lap. The course design allows athletes to move through the race village and access their support crews twice per lap, allowing for high levels of athlete support.
The 2023 running got underway on Wednesday 23 August, with the 200 mile event (320km), and over the next four days the 200km, 100 mile, 100km, 80km, 50km and teams (2 x 30km) races were run.
This year saw cold nights, frosty mornings followed by clear days made for good running conditions, and the 10km loop was mainly dry under foot and in good condition.
Performances across the board were of a high standard, and some close racing was seen in many of the distances. In the 200 mile event, 1st and 2nd places were separated by just 32mins. Which is a close margin when you consider a moving time of 37-38hrs for the leading athletes.
Naseby is widely seen as a fantastic event to start your ultra running journey, it is not a flat course, but kind in the technical difficulty ranks. The main pros of this race is the repeated access to your support crew, the super friendly race organisers and the fact that year after year a heap of very experienced athletes and supports crews turn up and are more than happy to give assistance to others (and let newbies know the tips and tricks of the trade).
So, well done to all Leith athletes that ran in the weekend (whether a goal was met or missed or the ever present DNF had the final say – you always learn something when you attempt to run further than feels comfortable. And, also to all in the field who showed the courage, commitment and self belief to toe the line at an Ultra event. Hope to see a few more faces there in 12 months time.
For specific distance results and lap splits check out the Great Naseby Water Race website

Alice Cuthbert enthuses about her Team experience in the 2 x 30km Relays

We arrived in Naseby just after 8am on Saturday morning to a frosty 1 degree, and my thoughts immediately went to the 80km runners who had started at 5am, and those competing in even further distances that had been running in that cold all night. By the time we started at 9am, the sun had risen over the course and the day stayed beautifully sunny and calm until late afternoon.

Mum (Sue Hendry) and I competed in the 60km team’s event. The course was a beautiful 10km loop, with enough variation in undulation and terrain to keep each lap interesting (although I can’t speak for those who ran the loop more than 3 times!) and a figure 8 course which meant passing through base camp every 5 km or so which kept my spirits up. We managed to finish 3rd team overall and 2nd women’s team, a couple of minutes behind fellow Leith runner Angela Bishop and her teammate Rebecca.

Throughout the event I was so inspired by those around me running the ultramarathon distances. The commitment and mental strength running an ultramarathon must take is incredible, and the friendly and familiar faces around the course gave the event such a unique and warm vibe.

I would recommend the team’s event to anyone thinking about dipping their toes in the world of ultramarathon running. Although not an ultra in itself, seeing those in other events has inspired me to think about challenging myself to enter the 50km next year. And like all the events we participate in together, it was such a privilege to run alongside my awesome mum.”


THE WUU2K, 43km Marathon, Saturday 15 July 2023

Wellington, New Zealand

Leith had one competitor in this tough 43km event run around the hills and tracks surrounding Wellington City. 

Leith’s Sarah Caulton had a great run finishing in 6 hours 5 minutes 8 seconds.  She was 13th out of 58 females and 6th out of 19 in the Open Female 18-39 category.


Mackenzie Half Marathon, Saturday 15 July 2023

Fairlie Basin, the Gateway to the Mackenzie

Leith’s Lars Winther tackled this tough half marathon course finishing fourth overall and 4th in the Male M20-39 category in 1 hour 26 minutes 24 seconds.  This was an awesome result for Lars as the field was large and competitive with 256 competitors finishing the half marathon run

Mount Difficulty Ascent & Rustic Run, Saturday 10 June 2023

Mt Difficulty, Bannockburn, near Cromwell

An extreme marathon or a half marathon, normally run alongside the Rustic Run and Walk

Visit Website >> Mount Difficulty Ascent

Results >> Trail Results 2023

Claudia Sole finished second female at the Mt Difficulty Ascent 25km 


Leith’s Claudia Sole had arguably her best trail result on Saturday with an excellent second place finish in the tough Mt Difficulty 25km race. The weather was icy cold just what the athletes enjoy!

Running in the female Open (19-39) grade, she was not far behind the winner.  Her time of 3:17:18.0 was just over 20 seconds adrift of the winner Emily Osborne from Vancouver, Canada also running in the female Open (19-39) grade, her time was 3:16:55.6

Out of a strong field 120 finishers she finished 11th overall which is a magnificent achievement

Croydon Paton also did well in finishing second in the Vet Male (50-59) grade in the 25km event. His time was 4:14:11.9

Sarah Caulton finished 65th overall and 17th in the Female Open (19-39) category in 4:22:33.1

Over the Rustic Run Half Marathon distance, David Liddell finished an excellent fourth overall and second in the Male Open (19-39) grade in 2:01:37.5. In the same Half Marathon race, Peter Hughes finished 14th overall and third Male Vet (60+) for a time of 2:34:26.9 

In the Rustic Run Half Marathon Team Female/Male category, Angela and James Bishop and Charlotte Martin achieved a well deserved second place in a combined time of 1:58:24.7

Anna O’Byrne finished 31st overall in the Mt Difficulity Ascent 44km and 5th in the Female Open (19-39) category in 6:53:50.1 

Fresh from winning the 2023 University of Otago Innovation in Sport Award the previous evening, Steve Tripp achieved second place in the Male Vet2 (50-59) grade in the Mt Difficulty Ascent 44km.  He was 37th overall and his time was 7:08:01.7

Maria Mikhisor finished 60th overall in the Mt Difficulty Ascent 44km and 8th in the Female Open (19-39) category in 8:18:27.1 


Shunters & Grunters Relay, Saturday 22 April 2023

Old Hyde Railway station to the Waipiata Railway Station (Tavern)

Organised by Hill City – University Harriers Club

Race Report & Results – Hill City-University 

For a full race report >> Hill City – University Shunters & Grunters 2023

For Results >> Hill City – University Shunters & Grunters 2023 Race Results

Leith Athletes were out there too, competing in various teams and having a great fun day out in the sun


Porirua Grand Traverse, Saturday 2 April 2023

Race Weekend HQ at Whitireia Polytech, Wineera Dve, Porirua

For full results visit website >> Porirua Grand Traverse

Leith’s Bryan Staunton competed in 18KM Mountain Run.  He finished an excellent 23rd out of 165 finishers finishing in 1 hour 51 minutes 27 seconds.  A full breakdown of his run is listed below.  He earns some valuable points in the Leith Lads and Triple L Competition

Event: Mtn Run 23rd of 165 finishers
Gender: Male 18th of 92 finishers
Division: M 19-39 11th of 27 finishers
Placings are calculated on GUN time

THE 40th 3 PEAKS MOUNTAIN RACE, Sunday, 26 March 2023

Dunedin, New Zealand

Organised by the Leith Harrier & Athletic Club, Dunedin

Included the NZ Short Course Trail Running Championships 2023

Weston Hill rewrites the record books at New Zealand Trail Running Championships

For Full Results >> Trail Results 2023

Full 2023 Race Report (also available on 3 Peaks Mountain Race Website – still being updated as more info and images come through)

For more on this iconic event go to 3 Peaks Mountain Race

Leith athletes report

Leith athletes had a great time out there in the various events

Smash the Summit 11km

Top Men’s 50+ runner Danny Baillie started it off by dominating the new 11km “Smash the Summit” race.  Despite the attention of some loose dogs on the way down Mt Cargill, he sprinted into the finish in first place in 54 minutes 40 seconds looking as fresh as he did at the start. This being the first time over this course ensures that he kind of has the race record and this will be the time to beat in the future. Neale McLanachan was the next Leith athlete, finishing third in 56 minutes 49 minutes not far behind the second placed Shannon Rhodes who finished in 56 minutes 7 seconds. Further down the field were Leith athletes 16th Holly Luxton 1:20:31 and 19th Kate Roberts 1:25:00 

26km 3 Peaks

Leith’s Lars Lars Winther Christensen (male 20-34) achieved a podium third in an excellent 2 hours 24 minutes 40 second. The winner Harry Wager (male 20-34) had an amazingly dominant win finishing in 2 hours 8 minutes 46 seconds with Caversham’s Leon Miyahara (male 20-34) finishing second in an excellent 2 hours 22 minutes 19 seconds.
The next three Leith athletes finished all in a bunch: Accomplished Men’s 50+ runner Simon Leaning won the Male 50-59 Veteran Grade in 2 hours 38 minutes 54 seconds finishing 13th overall. In 14th place overall and 9th in the Male 20-34 grade was Hamish Carter in 2 hours 39 minutes 39 seconds.  Liam Turk 15th overall and 10th in the Male 20-34 grade, scooted into the finish in 2 hours 39 minutes 39 seconds. 

Leith’s Andrew Lonie, now running in the Men’s 50+ grade, finished second in the Veteran Male 50-59 grade. He was 23rd overall with a time of 2 hours 47 minutes 52 seconds

The Leith athletes and friends started to pour in and below is their order of finishing with their age grade placings

George Armstrong 2:50:25 Male, 35-49 7th
Andrew Wilson 2:53:41 Male, 35-49 10th
Mica Goldsmith-Lonie 2:55:54 Male, 20-34 20th
Claudia Sole 2:56:16 Female, 20-34 4th (first Leith female)
Gallien Chanalet-Quercy 2:58:25 Male, 35-49 16th
Andrew Robinson 2:58:43 Male, 20-34 23rd
George Parker 3:01:50 Male, 20-34 25th
Emily Waters 3:02:36 Female, Under 20 1st (2nd Leith female)
Lydia Pattillo 3:04:46 Female, 35-49 4th (3rd Leith female)
Casey Pearce 3:07:16 Male, 20-34 30th
Sarah Bryant 3:08:17 Female, 35-49 5th
Bryan Staunton 3:13:06 Male, 20-34 52nd
Tadhg Ryan Charleton 3:14:05 Male, 20-34 43rd
Nolan Hill 3:15:36 Male, 35-49 26th
Nick Punnett 3:17:12 Male, 20-34 48th
Hayden Scorringe 3:18:30 Male, 35-49 30th
Samantha Kirkness 3:19:23 Female, 20-34 14th
Chris Clark 3:36:52 Male 35-49 42nd
Lucile Sanchez 3:39:44 Female, 20-34 28th
Vic Artates 3:46:29 Male, 35-49 47th
Riley Homan 3:48:25 Female, 20-34 33rd
Pia Gordon 3:48:25 Female, 20-34 34th
Transport Hughes 4:05:50 Male, 60+ 5th (one of the legendary originals from the 80s)
Maren Richter 4:08:33 Female, 20-34 46th
Tiana Hill 5:08:31 Female, 20-34 68th

55km 3 Peaks +1 

Former champion and record holder Chris Bisley finished 5th this year in an excellent 5 hours 38 minutes 25 seconds and was second in the Master Male 35-49 grade. Hopcyn Matthews finished 11th overall in 6 hours 4 minutes 36 seconds 6:04:36 and 5th in the Male 20-34 grade. Next Leith athlete to finish was Glen Chisholm 16th overall in 6 hours 14 minutes 5 seconds, 6th in the Master Male 35-49 grade. Renowned Leith Ultra Runner John Bayne smashed the Veteran Male 50-59 record running it in 6 hours 30 minutes 18 seconds.

Some more Leith and friends then began arriving into the finish area. Listed below in finishing time with their grade positions:

5 Lucy Allen 6:49:33 Female, 20-34 5th
3 Anna O’Byrne 6:49:38 Female, 35-49 3rd
6 Mandy Lowther 7:01:29 Female, 20-34 6th
4 Lee Flowers 7:55:40 Male, 50-59 4th
18 Isaac Tripp 8:02:19 Male, 20-34 18th
5 Andrew Tripp 8:52:36 Male, 50-59 5th
17 Sarah Caulton 9:16:04 Female, 20-34 17th
6 Steve Stewart 9:36:18 Male, 50-59 6th
3 Dave McLean 10:06:00 Male, 60+3rd

This report has not been finished yet.  We will have more soon including images of the action!  Last update Sun 2 April 2023 at 06:00hrs

A Big Thank You

Leith Harrier & Athletic Club and Super Race Director Steve Tripp (Inch Events) once again put on a tremendously successful 3 Peaks Mountain Race incorporating the 26km Classic, 55km Ultra Run and the new 11km Race (over) the Summit.

We thank the more than 90 volunteers who with enthusiasm and dedication made this event happen. Gaya Gnanalingam and Siobhan organised the volunteer army into a tremendously efficient well-oiled machine. Gaya & Siobhan along with Lydia Pattillo organised such things such as gear checks and the race kits too. 

Master of Ceremonies Jason Palmer once again showed his expertise and knowledge of the athletes and the history of the event to keep the spectators informed as the runners and walkers entered the finish arena.  Mark O’Neill (Race Site Manager) and Margaret Knox (Master Organiser) were here there and everywhere making sure everything ran as smoothly as possible. We thank the Hate Hone St John who were there making sure everyone was safe and any injuries attended to.


Northburn100, Saturday 18 March 2023

Northburn Station, Central Otago

For Full Results >> Trail Results 2023

Steve Tripp entered the Northburn 50km and had an outstanding run having just come back from a long term injury.  He finished fifth overall and was second in the competitive Veteran Grade in 6 hours 38 minutes 37.3 seconds. This helped him to add to his Leith Lads competition points tally


Motatapu, Saturday 4 March 2023

Queenstown, New Zealand

For full details and results >> Motatapu 2023

Leith and friends were out there taking part in the various events associated with this iconic event.  Here below is Lars Winther who finished 3rd in the Off-Road Marathon in a time of 3 hours 24 minutes 44 seconds (Category 18-39) receiving his medal and prize on the podium

Here is what Lars had to day about his experience in the event

“Due to unfortunate circumstances (a cyclist had a heartattack on course and Georgia and her dad helped with CPR) the marathon start was delayed by an hour.
This meant that once we got off the busses we had a rolling start with no gun time and rankings would be based on our net time.
As I started my watch and passed the timing mats I quickly realised how many racers had started their race before me. The first few km was hectic with a heap of “on your left”, “on your right”, and “I’m sorry” as I found my way through the traffic.
Once out of the crowds I realised that the day would not only be a big physical challenge but an even bigger mental battle. With the delayed start I was already 4 gels deep before starting the race in an effort to not bonk knowing that lunch wouldn’t be ready until 3pm, if I finished in my planned time. With a bit of math I adjusted the nutrition plan so I didn’t run out of gels too early in the race.
Being completely unaware of my position I put my best foot forward and gathered all my positive energy to battle the course and the headwind that had started to pick up.
I started picking up a couple of positions as I stayed close to my planned race pace and with a big relief a marshal informed me that I was currently sitting in 3rd at 32km. Still feeling good I decided to push harder coming down into the gorge in an effort to shave a bit more time off my planned finishing time. After what felt like an endless number of river crossings in Arrowtown the legs got cold and with the shoes filled with water the last few km got really tough. I managed to cross the finish line in 3:24:44 in 3rd place only to sit around with fingers crossed that no one had started later than me and beat my net time.
This was my third time running the Motatapu marathon and definitely not my last. Thanks to everyone who helped me push a little harder in my training over summer!”

Sarah Caulton ran in the Ultra Marathon and compares it to her previous experience

She finished in 4 hours 50 minutes 8 seconds finishing 121 out of 485 competitors. She was 32nd (of 229) in the female category and 21st (81) in the 18-39 category

“I was really rapt with how my run went yesterday. The conditions were perfect, it’s been so hot and dry in Wanaka lately I thought I’d be really suffering in the heat but there was quite a cool breeze all day, and none of the rain that was promised. We started quite late, because unfortunately a man died on the track earlier in the morning, you may have seen the news.

The run starts about 6 km into the station from Glendhu bay. You follow a 4wd farm track through the valley most of the way. There were also about 10 river crossings, some very wide and deep (up to mid-thigh) so no chance of keeping your feet dry.

The scenery is gorgeous, with mountains either side. I was expecting more hills and technical descents, but the track was very undulating and easy to run on – it didn’t feel like a 1,000 m climb! I managed to keep up a decent pace (for me) the whole way, except at around the 25 km mark when I hit a wall. I was hunched over running not much faster than a walk for about a kilometre. Fortunately, a gel and muesli bar set me right again, and at the 30 km mark I got a second wind, it was an incredible feeling.

This is only the second marathon I’ve ever ran. The first was a very flat road marathon in Melbourne in 2019. The last 10 km of that race took every last drop of energy I had to finish; I was nearly sobbing by the end.

This time around though, the last 10 km was my fastest, I felt so light on my feet and so full of energy. I bounded through the last few river crossings and finished strong with a big grin on my face. I’m still buzzing about it today! I want to thank you (Chris Sole) for the opportunity to train with the Leith harriers over the last year, and for your encouragement and guidance, I think running with a group has made all the difference to my fitness and my enjoyment of running in general. Now I can’t wait for 3 Peaks plus 1″

Georgia Mayer recounts her and her father Max’s experience

Motatapu UDC 47km MTB


NET TIME: 04:49:37, PLACE 65 OF 88, MIXED 24 OF 34, OPEN 11 OF 17

“Dad and I headed to the start line in our matching team tshirts, ready for the adventure ahead. We were both excited and a little nervous.
After waiting a while and talking to some enthusiastic strangers it was finally our time to go. We were off, just taking it easy and trying to not tire ourselves too quickly.
Things took a turn for the worse 1.5km in to the ride, we noticed someone giving CPR… dad (chief fireman at his local brigade) swung into action assisting those who arrived before us. Not long after some paramedics arrived.
They worked together until paramedicsthe ambulance arrived and we were no longer needed. We took off again.
It was a heavy situation and got the adrenalin flowing, dad quickly pointed out that I should probably slow down as I was spinning my legs pretty fast!
We started to get back into the ride, getting into a rhythm of grinding up hill and letting loose going down. We crossed countless rivers and got very wet, some rivers were definitely deeper than they looked. We rode up numerous solid climbs and walked some nasty pinch sections. We eventually hit a grassy section which made us feel so slow – almost like we had flat tires. Getting past that was a real relief. The last 10km just flew by. It was mostly down hill coming into Arrowtown, with a few more little nasty climbs. This tested how much we really had in our reserves. It was incredible to make it over the finish line. We were so lucky that we got to experience it together.
It was an adventurous day filled with challenges, laughter, a few tears, and some amazing scenery.
I would recommend the Motatapu MTB to anyone who loves to ride their bike. There is something very special about being in a place that’s only open once a year.
If you have anything in life that you’ve ever wanted to do, you need to stop putting it off and start doing the thing. This event was a big reminder to us that you don’t always have tomorrow. Make those memories. Go to all those places. Enjoy the time you have.”

Dan Hayman thought he knew what to expect

Miner’s Trail 15km

NET TIME: 01:24:34, PLACE 5 OF 508, MALE 5 OF 166, 16-18 1 OF 1

Dan Hayman at the start (first runner on the right in picture)

“After 3 months of training, it was go time. Having run the course several weeks before, I thought I knew what to expect.

It had been raining off and on all morning, so the tracks ahead would be slippery and slower than anticipated. Luckily the rain had eased in time for the start. From the get-go, the pace was hot. All the way up Tobins Track, there were a few of us, constantly switching positions, with the top few places already way off into the distance. Unfortunately, my legs couldn’t hold off the surges, and I was dropped before we reached the top of the track.

It took several kilometres to catch back up to the now splintered pack, and over the next several kilometres we settled into a rhythm, my legs still not feeling in the top shape I’d hoped for.

A route choice error by the competitor in front of me allowed me to run past, and catch up to the next person ahead. Just before the second and final aid station, I made my move and after exchanging a few words, passed him too.

On to the final section of the climb, nearly 800m vert in the legs after only 8 kilometres, I caught, and passed the next person, finally feeling strong. Reaching the top filled me with a sense of relief, but knowing the course, I knew that the next kilometre of downhill was slow. With a steep gradient, rocks, a narrow single track barely wide enough to fit your feet on, and wet and slippery grass underfoot, it was a relief to turn off this track and onto the final downhill section.

Turning onto the Macetown Road at the bottom, the squeal of mountain bikers breaks echoed through the valley, and soon enough, we began the challenge of the cold river crossings. It was carnage. Mountain bikers all over the place, slippery rocks and again, the squeal of wet brake pads. Overtaking over-confident bikers I ploughed on, a runner up ahead. I knew by this point that I was sitting in 5th, and I hoped that I had managed to catch up to 4th place. After nearly a kilometre of pushing hard to catch him, upon passing him, I turned back to see a red number. An ultra runner. Massive Kudos to him for maintaining that pace after 50 kilometres!

The final kilometres were tough, stiff legs after the piercing cold of the rivers urging me to stop. From about 500m out I could hear the finish line. The pumping music and the booming sound of the people on the MC.

Merged with the crowd support and the final meters ahead, I surged on, picking the pace up until I was sprinting down the finish shoot, just below 3:00/km (a cheeky shoutout to Chris’ interval sessions for this!). Crossing the finish line I pretty much sunk to my knees, my legs refusing to take me a step further. Jubilated, proud and exhausted!

To my surprise, I had managed to put 2 and 4 minutes back to the people I had passed, while struggling up the high point! Enough to leave me with 5th place overall and 1st in the 16-18 category. A result I am really happy with.

After 1 hour 24 minutes and 34 seconds of suffering yesterday, it’s fair to say walking up and down stairs is quite a challenge today!

A massive thank you to all of the event organisers and the incredible volunteers out on the course. The event really wouldn’t happen without you!

Motatapu, you’ve been great. Until next time.”

David Liddell was once more in a rush to get to the start line

Ultra Run 51km

GUN TIME: 10:46:02, PLACE 97 OF 149, MALE 85 OF 116, 18-39 60 OF 74

“I seem to have a problem where it’s always a rush to the start line no matter how early I get up. Not even one moment to think about what’s happening while I’m rushing to make the start line. Probably a good thing in hindsight as any excuse to bail out could have been imminent!

Taking off with a fairly soft and well measured trot fully aware of the task ahead with a mind blowing 3,300m of elevation to be climbed over a distance of 52.5km with the majority being in the first half of the race.

The first 2.5km of road is a nice warm up for the legs before entering the Motatapu Trail immediately sending you into a dreamy vibe at the surreal nature of the beach forest undergrowth looking at the headlights dancing up through the bush like the fairies in the fantasia theatrical masterpiece.

Tasting my water bladder I quickly realise with a spluttering spit of distain that I have taken my old mouldy bladder that for some stupid reason I haven’t thrown out! my water is contaminated, this is not good! Luckily, I have a leaky 500ml leaky soft flask with me that is going to be my life saver to keep me going in this race! Every aid station and stream I cross from here on out I gulp down entire 500ml swofts of water like a mirage medalled maniac stricken by a desert ridden thirst!

The next 25kms is a relentless slog of knee crushing downhills and endless uphill trudging in long lines of silent soles disppearing up into the clouds in the intensely rugged and harsh Central Otago back country landscape like your passing through to the other side in an otherworldly delusion of the river sticks.

Coming down the second last descent into the Motatpu Valley a revival and sense of relief kicks in as you are greeted with mountain bikers on their own journey that inspire a spark of normality in the mind, but it is definitely not time to get complacent as your acuity aware that you may have done most of the climbing but you are only half way there!

The final climb up to roses saddle is another brutal slog but a more pleasant one as you notice a change in moral in the people around you with whispers of conversation starting to perk up and even echoes of laughter carrying up and down the mountain side. along with the sun coming out and the idea of 20km of downhill you can taste the distinct notes of completion spread through your body and mind to a similar degree of the current real-life dehydration you are starting to come to terms with.

Unaware that the next 7km to Macetown is not going to be running at all but more of a river wading expedition with some fun aspects of navigation as you try to pick your best lines to avoid tipping over into the water although in your mind you kind of want that to happen and float your way out all being made unrealistic by the notion that your carrying technology and you can’t get your phone wet, you feel silly at the realisation of this constant modern day conundrum!

The final aid station at Macetown, with a cup of coke and an anaconda like downing of some cold salted potatoes is a welcome advance towards the so close but yet so far end goal of 15km to go as the fatigue in the body really starts to kick in.

Heading further down into the Arrow George you are greeted by pleasant notes of early colonisation with the willows draped into the river in the afternoon sun with very early appearances of autumn starting to set in and old sections of rusted metal pipe and machinery strewn around the place as if they were just dropped there one day never to be disturbed again as they return into the earth in a sadly natural way.

I start to have to put a high knee into my step as I realise I am going to miss my 5pm bus back to Glendhu Bay, I push my best attempt through the last 5km. The salivating desire of a Peking Duck Taco and a Pad Thai on the Wanaka waterfront is my driving factor to make it to my bus with minutes to spare, I barely have time to process what has happened as I look as mad as the mad hatter when I keep on running past the finish line to cross Arrowtown to get on the bus.

I sit at last! What an epic mission!”


Moonshine Trail 2023, Saturday 25 February 2023

Dolamore Park, Gore, New Zealand

For Results >> Trail Results 2023

Check out the website for details and results >> Moonshine Trail

Leith Athletes were competing in this event

50km MTB Male : Open (20-39)
Leith’s Andrew Wilson finished in 15th place overall in 2 hours 58 minutes 24 and 5th in the Open Male grade

50km MTB Female : Open (20-39)
Leith’s Orlaith Heron finished fourth female overall  in 3 hours 14 minutes 41 seconds and 2nd in the Open Female grade

15km Run Female : Open (20-39)
Hill City-University’s Margie Campbell finished 1st overall in 1 hour 12 minutes 38 seconds in 1st in the Open Women’s grade
Leith’s Manya Sabherwal finished as 7th female overall running it in 1 hour 33 minutes 4 seconds to finish 4th in the Open Women’s grade

Orlaith Heron had this to say about her experience in the 50km MTB

“Event FOMO from a catch up with the girls in Emersons led to a last-minute entry in the Moonshine 50km mtn bike. There was too much talk of great (relatively)local events taking place to not enter something. This race included private land which also appealed.

I have limited mountain biking skill but this sounded like a XC farm/gravel event and the weather was forecast as sunny!
I did not enjoy the start but everything else was fun. Or sort of! Shorter faster distances are tough and my wee heart was beating fast! The course was well marked, tough hill pinches but nothing overly technical and great weather. The wind on the tops was appreciated!

I entered for fun and to try something different. It reconfirmed that I can climb a hill but have limited prowess getting down one or cornering! Excellent event and I would highly recommend it; it’s community driven, incredible value for money ($80 and there was lunch, private land access and the need for traffic management). And there are run options, one of which Margie (Campbell) dominated!”

Papatowai Challenge, Saturday 25 February 2023

Papatowai, Catlins, New Zealand

For full details and results >> Papatowai Challenge Facebook

For Results >> Trail Results 2023

Brought to you by Sports Clutha

Leith had a number of athletes competing in the various age grades in the 15.5km race.  Simon Leaning won the Master Men’s 50-59 grade in an excellent time of 1 hour 6 minutes 48.6 seconds finishing ninth overall. Liam Turk was the first Leith runner home in the 15.5km, finishing in a podium third in the Open Men’s grade in an excellent time of 1 hour 4 minutes 19.7 seconds. He was fourth overall.  Lydia Pattillo blitzed around the course narrowly missing a podium finish with a fourth placed Open Women’s finish in 1 hour 17 minutes 40.5 seconds.  More Leith results may appear here.  The results are still provisional, so there may be changes in the report

TARAWERA ULTRAMARATHON BY UTMB, Saturday 11th February 2023

Rotorua, New Zealand

The most spectacular courses take in the most stunning scenery imaginable, featuring eight different lakes, waterfalls, and the lushest native New Zealand forests

For full information and results visit the websitge >> Tarawera Ultramarathon by UTMB

Leith Athletics had a number of Leith athletes and Leith friends taking part in the various races

The events ranged from 21km to the 100 Miler

Leith’s ANNA O’BYRNE ran the 162.5km (TUM 100 Miler) in 20 hours 46 minutes 8 seconds finishing 6th (of 74) in the female grade, 3rd (of 22) in the female 30-39 grade 45/303  and 45th (of 303) overall to cap off a brilliant display of trail running prowess

Pigs Backyard Ultra, 10am Sat 4 February 2023

Silverstream, Dunedin, New Zealand

For full details of this fantastic event please visit the website >> Pigs Backyard Ultra

Shannon Rhodes of Rolleston outlasted the field of 80 participants.  He completed 25 loops of the tough 6.7km circuit, running a total of  167.75 km.  His average loop time was  54:38 minutes.  His fastest loop was amazingly his last loop which he did in 47:05 minutes which highlights his ability to pace himself well. His total race time was  22 hours 46 minutes 11 seconds.  Auren Clarke of Christchurch was one of those threatening to take the title but when he retired at the end of his 24th loop having completed 160.8 km in a time of 20:24:51 it was left to Shannon Rhodes to get to the end of his 25th loop to take the win

Here are some accounts of participants race experiences:

Corey Lewis:
“By 8:30am I had my tent and everything all setup to go, the atmosphere was great and everyone was looking forward to getting out there despite the heat. At 10am 65 of us set off on our first 6.71km lap of the powder creek and pig tail loop, on the hour and every hour following until we gave in or couldn’t make the cutoff, by lap 19 only 2 would remain as the heat took its toll on the rest of the field. However after the first few minutes of running it was made obvious it was better to be out there than back at basecamp with the cool shade of trees blocking the ferocious sun and multiple opportunities to submerge yourself in the cold streams.

The laps all seemed to merge into one and time became less of a constant. Run, walk, run, sit, hydrate, eat and wait, wait for the 3 minute call, 2 minute call and Piggies by the Beatles start to play before the beginning of every lap. The milestones ticked by, 21km, 42km, 50km, 60km and before I knew it I was on lap 12, the first lap where a head torch would be required and the 80th kilometer. Towards the end of lap 13 I started to feel pain in my left foot and nursed it through to the end of lap 15, not that I could feel much at all by that stage. As we all lined up for lap 16 ten of us remained, we set off and I ran for a few hundred meters down to the stream to cool off my legs one last time, I stood there for 5 minutes or so at 1am on Sunday, reflecting on the past 15 hours and then walked back up to the starting corral to ring the bell and end my time at Pigs Backyard Ultra for 2023. DNF. After watching the end of lap 16 and the start of 17 I headed back to the tent for a few hours sleep.

When I woke up two piggies (runners) remained, Shannon and Aurel. These two ran alone from laps 19-24, it was an inspiration to see them both hop into the starting corral every lap with nothing but respect for each other as competitors. After 100 miles (24 laps) Aurel shook Shannons hand, said a few words to him and Shannon headed out to complete lap 25 to win the 2023 Pigs Backyard Ultra. Pigs was an amazing event with a great community feel and it is an awesome way to run a “first”, be it 21km, 50km or 100 miles and so on.”

Nigel Scarth:
`Having competed in the Pigs Backyard Ultra last year and loving the experience I was excited to do so again this year. We made the decision to camp out as a family in the Piggy Paddock on Friday night as a family. It was a wonderful atmosphere in anticipation of the event the next morning. After 3km on the first lap I twisted my ankle badly on a tree root. I decided to try to run through it and did so until lap 5 when it was obvious I couldn’t go on any more. I’d never felt so good after 33km, and despite it being hot, was feeling great. Despite the disappointment I learnt a lot about nutrition and preparing for a longer event and at some point in the future my goal is to “run into the night.

One of the things I enjoyed in both years of competing is the shared experience with other runners. The ability to have a common goal, chat during each lap or between laps and make progress together makes it a unique event. Or at least it is to me. A huge thanks for the encouragement from all the supporters and especially to my family who were an invaluable support.”

Andrew Tripp:
“I ran in Saturday’s Pigs Backyard Ultra at Silverstream Reserve – second year running – a sucker for punishment. I have been trying out some new zero drop shoes – Altra Lone Peak 6s as I have had a sore back on and off for the last couple of years. I’ve had them for a month now and they seem to be helping – though my right heel was pretty sore the few days after the event. It was a hot day on Saturday but the creek crossings were brilliant to cool down in and the last ford I used every lap to get right in to keep the motor water cooled! On the 11th lap I was contemplating stopping, I didn’t know if I had 12 in me but I wanted to try out my headlamp for the first time in an event and I managed to get behind another runner, Patrick Manulat, all the way along the flat piece along the water race which I found the hardest part of each lap. Made it to the end in 54.36. 12 laps complete and pretty stoked to have run 80.5ks, that was 5 loops better than last year and 20ks further than I’ve run before. Now for the recovery and the next event!