Start: Ihumatao – nr Auckland Airport (607km)
Finish: nr Upper Mangatawhiri Dam (670.5km)
Distance for the day: 63.5
Cumulative distance: 670.5km
This really is a surreal experience in so many different ways. We started the day next to the bustling Auckland Airport and finished in the heart of the picturesque and peaceful Hunua Ranges, back in the beautiful New Zealand countryside.
We had a peaceful overnight stay a few kilometers outside the airport perimeter, despite being under the watchful eye of the security patrols. Unfortunately I seemed to get out of bed on the wrong side, probably due to limited sleep (maybe I need to get more fresh air….?!). Or maybe it was the thought of some less-than beautiful suburban running which didn’t appeal quite so much.
|Jez being interviewed by Trail Runner and Wilderness Magazine en-route|
Anyway, the day’s route initially followed some busy roads through the airport complex, past petrol stations, industrial parks and shopping centres. I wondered what everyone would thought about seeing a slightly bedraggled runner plodding along the roadside. I didn’t really care too much and felt quite tense from the noise and fumes so it was a relief to make it out into green open spaces again; back into the wilds. After 30 or so kilometers of running on fairly flat tarmac or green lanes, the day finally got going. There were two challenging sections over forest-clad hills, the first being relatively benign in elevation but wildly overgrown across the meadow sections, and the second actually quite an epic slog. It was a 22km section to finish the day, with a long undulating ridge section (I’m learning that Te Araroa likes these) leading into the heart Hunua Ranges with it’s complex of dams and reservoirs.
|The view of the Hunua Ranges from the entry gate to the park|
As the day wore on I definitely picked up, and actually for the last 10km I felt the best I have done for quite some time. Shame it takes me 50km to warm up!
So now 10 days in to the run, I would say my body is responding incredibly well, and my level of achiness in the morning is definitely reducing each day. That’s not to say the running is getting any easier, far from it, but my body is settling in, and everything is responding well.
|The peaceful stop for the night, next to the forest|