Mt Oxford Race

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Mt Oxford Race

Postby Ruff » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:16 am

I didn't come last! 22km and 1352m ascent (13.67 miles and 4436 feet). I am almost 59 years of age and am a physically challenged athlete (I have drop foot in my left foot) and it was a hard race, made much harder by the snow on the summit, the fog and poor visibility and the MUD! Goodness the mud!

When I finished I said that was it, I am too old for this, and my bad leg and foot was so painful. No more races. That was exactly 10 days ago. This afternoon I signed up for the Mt Somers race.....

Here is the race report that I wrote for my running with foot drop group. The TurboMed is the leg brace I wear.

Mount Oxford Race Report!!
I did it! The results are not posted yet, but I think I was 2nd or 3rd from last, so the placings are not of interest here. The Mount Oxford Marathon is the toughest trail marathon in New Zealand. I only did the half marathon, so I only had to go over Mount Oxford once. I think I tested the turbomed to its limits yesterday! It was raining and really cold when we arrived, and went for the gear check. As a true mountain race there is a lot of compulsory gear to carry. Peters race set off an hour before mine, and it was still pouring when he set off. Once he had gone I made my way to the start area with a big rain jacket over my running jacket. At the start was a tent with big gas heaters so I waited in there, when it was time for the briefing I took my big coat off and left it in the gear drop area. It was time to start!
There are about 4 km of undulating climbing trails through the forest before the big climb starts. Its not a trail at that point in the true sense of the word, its a just steep, rocky tree rooty muddy gap in the trees...sort of the next stage up from bush. It was very very wet underfoot, although the rain stopped during the climb. After about 5km I got above the bush line. It was really foggy, and very cold once out of the protection of the trees. I was right at the back at this point with just the tail end charlies behind me. once out of the bush, there is about 50m of flatish ground and then the nose...this is so steep I was using my hands on the ground. Also there was a stream running down it and it was slick with mud from the runners ahead of me. It was a challenge to get up. From there it was just a solid climb up scree patches and tussock. And then I reached the snow line! First snow of the year! At first I was excited, but as I got higher and higher the snow got deeper, and where the runners ahead of me had compacted it it was freezing, making it slippy. Lets just say it was a hard climb! When I slip on my bad leg, it can be harder to recover. Eventually I reached the summit to be met by a cheerful group from Mountain Rescue, they had tents and it looked like they had spent the night up there. It was snowing by this time. They asked if I was Ok, took my race number, and sent me on my way.
The plateau along the top can be deceptive, particularly in the fog (and snow) and I was chanting 'keep left, keep left' in my head. When I got to the deceptive bit I saw the tracks in the snow diverging, one group went leftish, the other veered to the right. So I followed the left tracks, and soon came to a trail marker that I hadn't seen because of the fog so I knew I had followed the correct footprints. It was very slippy and icy so I had to take it steady. I normally run this section, but I was struggling to keep my feet just walking. I soon got into a sort of soggy rhythm using my poles for stability though, and was quite enjoying myself. After about another km some footprints came in from the right, so the people who had got off trail had obviously found their way back, so I ceased to worry about them.
And then the descent! It is difficult under normal conditions, steep, rocky, tree rooty, little drop offs where you have to scramble down....and now it was icy and there was a stream running down it from the snow and rain.... On the other hand the snow in the goblin forest was stunningly beautiful, the black beech trees, all with hanging moss, and now the snow. wonderful. I caught up with another runner who was struggling with the slippy conditions, and because of the added stability of my poles, I passed him! I was no longer at the back! My one goal on the descent was to keep on my feet. I didn't quite achieve this goal, but I didn't have any bad falls, just slips where I sat down, rather than trips where I fell forwards. My turbomed took a huge bashing, I hit it on rocks and roots, and bashed it when I fell, and It just took it all. I was really impressed with it.
After the big descent there are 7km of undulating trails along the base of the mountain, back to the start. These are actual trails, but were very muddy. People had chucked rocks and tree branches into the mud, but I found these very slippy and in the end I just plowed straight through. And during this section the sun came out, although the top of the mountain was still covered with mist.
6 hours and 17 minutes later I arrived at the finish, to find Peter waiting for me. I got a medal, and I think I might have been 2nd or 3rd from last. I really tested the turbomed to its limits. There are no photos of the race because it would have just been of fog, but I have posted pictures of Mt Oxford before. I will show my muddy shoes though. Today (Sunday) I am tired and sore but very happy to have completed the race in less than ideal conditions.

My testimonial. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=38433
Posts: 771
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:59 pm
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Re: Mt Oxford Race

Postby Ejeff » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:51 am

Wow Katie, good for you. That is quite an achievement completing that race. Definitely harder than any fitness challenge I have tried.

Congratulations! :-)


"The more disciplined your environment is, the less disciplined you need to be. Don't swim upstream."
Posts: 453
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:00 pm
Location: Alberta, Canada

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