Sunday, June 8, 2014

Xterra #2 - Shakespear

Watching the sun rise behind Little Barrier as I drove along the Whangaparaoa Peninsula was a great start to the day. I was looking forward to exploring somewhere new as I have no memories of Shakespear Regional Park. Arriving in plenty of time I collected my race number then took a stroll along the beach – it was so peaceful and fresh.

The Long and Super Long courses set off at 9am, heading back up (steeply!) the road for 1km before veering into the paddocks and climbing to the crest of the park. Here we got the first of many breathtaking vistas, looking out towards Auckland City and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Descending through Waterfall Gully was very pretty and the gravel track was the closest thing to single track all day.

Hitting the beach at Army Bay marked the beginning of the coastal section. From here the course follows the shoreline for 10km all the way around the headland. I knew there was a component of coastal running but underestimated the length of it. The rocks started out nice and easy but gradually got trickier, making it hard to take in the views out to sea. Sometimes we were running parallel to the layers of the reef, sometimes at right angles, and at other times it was all just a jumbled mess. I had fun around the coast but dropped way back in the field. As we neared the end there was a short section which required wading. It was only knee deep – unless you lost your footing on the submerged rocks as I and many others did. This was the highlight of my run! Eventually we reached the beach at the event base and the Long course headed inland while the Super Long carried on for a bit more coasteering to the next bay. This included another wading section which was waist deep if you were careful and swimming if you were not!

Then it was back over the hill to the event base, now passing the mid-course walkers. However we still weren’t finished yet. A grunty climb brought us to the highest point of the park and we were rewarded with panoramic views. The short course runners could be seen snaking along the ridgeline not too far away and the runners in front of us could be seen heading back towards the finish. A loop up high around the seaward end of the headland brought us back to Te Haruhi Bay for the final time and a sprint along the beach to the finish.

Photos by photos4sale
Event website

No comments:

Post a Comment