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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, 30 January 2013

Days 48-49: Frankton to Mavora Lakes Road

Start: Frankton (2,667 km)
Finish: Mavora Lakes Road (2,797km)
Distance for the 2 days: 130km
Cumulative distance: 2,797km
Distance to Bluff: 257km

Distance-wise it’s been a productive couple of days which has been great for overall progress and therefore morale. The main factor to contend with has been the heat; we’re in the middle of a long spell of high pressure down the bottom of the South Island, and the middle-of-the-day temperatures really do crank up. Anyway, I’d rather it that way than cold and wet, I think I’ve had my fair share of that stuff. And there are always plenty of rivers to cool off in…..

Frankton to Glenorchy was a long and mentally tough section along the northern shore of Lake Wakitipu, mostly on the road. To be honest, it wasn’t much fun. I made an early start leaving the van at 6am, and was through Queenstown by 7am. It had clearly been a big night in town the night before with the clear-up operation in full swing with bottles and cans bursting from the bins in the lakeside parks – oh, what a contrast to my current regime I thought. On leaving Queenstown I then set about the 44km road section to Glenorchy, tackling it in 10km chunks with regular food and drink stops to counter the boredom and the heat. The road was deceptively tough, never really remaining flat for anything more than a few hundred metres, and with some stiff climbs over the rocky outcrops falling into the lake. The views did however make up for it, particularly during the second half. It took a lot of effort to maintain a reasonable running pace on the flats and descents even, but actually the longer I went on the better I got, and towards the end it even felt comfortable. I wanted to get the leg complete by late lunch so I had the remainder of the day to make a relatively relaxed crossing of Lake Wakitipu.

So I successfully completed the 53km (total) leg by 1.30pm and I was in good spirits having done so, albeit feeling overheated to the core. After lunch I took a snooze and then psyched myself up for the paddle – perhaps I was feeling a little too mellow – but the road running had definitely taken it’s toll and my ankles were swollen. Eventually we hit water around 4.30pm. It was a beautiful afternoon for paddling even though the wind had got up slightly from the mill pond morning. With the wind behind us and an incredible mountain backdrop, it was an absolute delight, and possibly the easiest 10km of the journey so far.

Crossing Lake Wakitipu

Breakfast at Greenstone
The motorhomes couldn’t get round to the get out point at Greenstone Landing on the far side of the lake so Mark and I setup camp for the night, and we both felt incredibly privileged to be camping in such a beautiful and peaceful spot. The super relaxed ambience was definitely good for my mood and karma at a time when each day of running is such a huge physical and mental challenge. We settled down for an early night under a moon lit sky.

Reaching the shore at Greenstone

The view from camp

Setting off from Greenstone Landing at 6am this morning, after a great camp breakfast pulled together by Mark, I was at the start of a remote 50km section crossing the rugged and raw Greenstone/ Mavora valleys which run parallel to the Thomson Mountains. Trail conditions were mixed, but generally quite rough once past Greenstone Hut where I stopped to find people still eating their breakfast! But I enjoyed being fast and light with just my day pack, and enjoyed tackling some valley trails without too much climbing to ruin my legs. The unevenness and lack of a properly formed trail was once again a frustration for which patience is the only solution.

I hopped from hut to hut, setting mini time goals for each one, all of which I met. I think I was running well as opposed to the targets being too soft, but it was all a bit of a self mind game really. I would have a small sandwich and another snack or two at each one, another lure to get me through – food always works. But I made great time, the dry conditions really helping across the normally waterlogged sections, and eventually I popped out at the pre-arranged meeting place, Mavora Lakes Campground. The support guys hadn’t made it round quite yet, it was 4pm and perhaps I was a little faster than expected, so I settled in the long grass and enjoyed a moment to myself. It was the first time since 6am that I had taken a real rest. The days have all been long on the trip, but there was still more to come for the day. Once they did arrive and I had refueled a bit, it was back on the trail for another 2 hour session. This was the Mararoa River Track, an absolute beauty which meandered through ancient beech forests along the waterside with a rich green carpet of moss. Very special. Occasionally I got hit with some of the horrible rooty boggy bits which seem to come hand-in-hand with the New Zealand forests, but blasting the nice bits far outweighed that.

So with those two big back to back days complete, I’m now just a smidgen over 250kilometres from Bluff. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about the finish now. I’m starting to visualise the end, and think about the day I wake up and don’t need to run. That is starting to appeal more and more. This has been quite some journey, and my body is starting to get rather weary.

Feeling the heat and fatigue

A brief moment to pause


Debs M-C said...

Only 1.5 West Highland Ways to go. You're doing great, Jez!!

Steve Pope said...

You are starting to look like Jesus!

Anonymous said...

Of course there is always writing as a next career? Thankyou so much for such great descriptions they make me feel as though I am stumbling along your trail!

Here's to good running for the last miles - love mouse

Kaz said...

Doing great Jez! one foot then the other.


Clearly the team remains as strong as ever .Well done to all of you with special commendation to Jez . Epic . How do you keep going and then write so articulately . But the end is in sight . Stay with it mate

Mark & Mary said...

Very much enjoying the blog & about your amazing adventures.Makes us feel quite exhausted & scared just reading it! You certainly are not only very physically fit but mentally so strong.
You also showed much skill over the choice of your 2 back up blokes.
Hope the girls are behaving?

Steven Morris said...

"RATHER WEARY" !!! You must be joking Jez. That is either the biggest understatement ever or you are truly the son of Jor-El. ??? How about finishing off the remaining bit in one go?

Sue and Antonio said...

Great text, beautiful photos, as always. Life wil be dull for us mere mortals after all this Jez - could you start again, south to north???

Tom and Kate Cadbury said...

Did you manage to stop for a Ferg Burger in Queenstown?! If not you should reward yourself with one on your journey back up! Just met Steve and Emma Morris in the park and guess who the first person we spoke about was?!......JEZ! We're all captivated by your journey Jez, what are we going to do with ourselves when you've finished?! Last bit to go......keep strong to the end! Lots of love xxx

Ian Campbell said...

Jez what a fantastic journey and a fascinating read every time. Well done to you are the support team. Not much further to go. After this amazing journey you will have memories to last a life time.... Keep writing it keeps us inspired .... Ian Campbell

Mark garratt said...

Jez the blogs have been fantastic . A book beckons . Your journey is awesome . Not long to end now to " my precious " ac a the hobbit and lord of the rings " Golum"

Hugh Marsden said...

The end is in sight mate...almost ! run safe!!

Jez Bragg said...

Thanks so much for all the great comments and support, so much appreciated by me and the team.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Scotland needs something to cheer us up this weekend. That may happen at Twickenham ..... but more likely The Event will happen in Bluff .... MtM

Anonymous said...

You are doing fantastically well - nearly there!! 45 minutes on the treadmill is enough for me!! Well done to you and your team of warriors! Lots of love Lucy xx

Simon Pender said...

Keep going Jez - nearly there ! The whole family are so proud and amazed at what you've done. Aunty Janet and Uncle Jim would have been proud to hear of your efforts so far. Keep going that little bit further...... All our love, Simon, Michelle, Eloise and Lucy

Sophie Bragg said...

Wow Jez - your daily adventures continue to amaze me and your are inspiring so many people at home who are loving following your progress and urging you on to fulfill your goal. You are so close to the end; keep up Te amazing work bro. I am so proud of what you are achieving..
Lots of love

Anonymous said...

We are totally awe struck! What an amazing adventure, we are so proud of you Grannie included,well done jez and team.roast beef and yorkshires on your return! Love to you all Alain and Rosie xx.only just learnt how to do this thanks Sophie!!

Anonymous said...

We are totally awe struck! What an amazing adventure, we are so proud of you Grannie included,well done jez and team.roast beef and yorkshires on your return! Love to you all Alain and Rosie xx.only just learnt how to do this thanks Sophie!!

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