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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day 1: Cape Reigna to Ahipara (Ninety Mile Beach)

Start: Cape Reigna (0km)
Finish: Ahipara (101km)
Distance for the day: (101km)
Cumulative distance: (101km)

Today was the start of the expedition and my first steps on the Te Aroara trail. The starting point is Cape Reigna lighthouse on the northern tip of New Zealand, a building which guards the dangerous peninsula and the swirling waters where the Tasman and Pacific Oceans meet below. It’s an iconic landmark, and particularly special this morning with clear blue skies and a real tropical feel.

Heading out to the start point at Cape Reigna lighthouse

The classic finger post at the start. 1,452km to Bluff (as the crow flies, not via Te Araroa!)

I set off a few minutes after 7am. The first drama of the expedition – there will be many more – came when all three of our alarm clocks failed to go off resulting in a slightly delayed start to the run! I had hoped to get going half an hour earlier but given there was no harm done, we all found it very amusing. The first 20kms varied between volcanic rock, grassy tracks and short beach sections. It was very enjoyable, and I was like a lion out the cage - so eager to be starting my journey on the trail.

Refuelling on Ninety Mile Beach

But then it was straight into Ninety Mile Beach; a mind boggling continuous stretch of wild beach with noisy crashing waves which goes on for at least 50, but thankfully not 90 miles (not too sure where the name came from?). It’s another incredible piece of geography, but after the first few kilometres, not massively enjoyable. In fact, it’s got a reputation for sending through hikers (Te Aroara full trail hikers) a little bit mad, and if I had to spend 5 days walking it like most do, I think I would too. So I had a sneaky aim to get it out the way in one day, which I did manage in the end, but it was a long 13 hour day to achieve that goal. 100 kilometres in the first day is a little bit aggressive I’m happy to admit, but they are easy miles and the temptation to secure them quickly was too great, and I know for instance the next few days will be a lot slower so the distances will probably average out. Make hay whilst the sun shines as they say. I didn’t see many people on the beach unfortunately, so the only real entertainment came from dodging cars, tourist coaches and trucks which are all allowed to drive on the beach as a public highway. Surely unique? 

The loneliness of the long distance runner - particularly on Ninety Mile Beach

For Mark, James and I the first few days are really going to be all about building a manageable and sustainable routine which we will follow for the whole expedition. We have already learnt a lot from today, like how much better the coca cola would taste if it was cold; cold bag required for the crew then :o) Tomorrow I head east towards the west coast, crossing some impressible looking terrain all clad in dense forests. Far more stimulating I hope….


Ian C said...

sounds like a great day to start the trail.. get into the routine and the miles will tick off slowly but surely day by day....

Kaz said...

That beach is incredibly long - been in one of those buses en route to the Cape Reinga trail. Dropped off on the beach and first part is walking off it for a short stretch. The 2nd last day is also on a beach and my husband and I were nearly divorced before we were married on that second beach and it was only half a day's worth, so my mind boggles at how you stayed sane running for 13 hours on it! Def best to get it done and dusted in my opinion too. You are going to have such a blast - NZ is so beautiful and varied. Word of warning though, some trails when fully enclosed in the forrest/ferns become as mind killing as that beach. You seriously crave a view! Good job that when they come they are so worth it! Will be following your progress avidly. Luck and best wishes being sent your way. Kaz.

Nicolas said...

That's a big beginning!


Wish you the best on the trail, stay safe, don't push too much it's going to be a long journey!

Steve M said...

Great start Jez. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the next instalment. Steve

Raheel Adnan said...

All the best!

Nicki Joyner said...

Wishing you and your support team all the best Jez! Will look after the girls back home for you! Thinking of you lots. Take care, love Tim, Nicki and Toby xxx

JD said...

Ey Jez!
That's a really great project that you are realizing with your two friends!! I'll follow that closely =D

wish you all the best, beautiful landscapes, meeting people.

take care of your legs!


NB: maybe you could also provide us information about you running time of the day and the cumulated duration?! :)

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