Feb 04, 2014

18-Year-Old Wins Kaweka Mountain Marathon!

Congratulations to Lucas Duross, 18-year-old Kaweka Mountain Marathon winner! Here is the account of his race story provided by Kaweka Mountain Running on Backcountry Runner:

"Today I understood the reason for compulsory gear; the thermals, the rain coat, the survival blanket, the lot. It was the morning of the race, it had been raining all night and was still raining as we wandered over to the start line. I had all the gear, I had done the training, I was ready to race.

We all waited for Phil the race director to let us go, whilst looking up at the first massive climb to Kuripapango, the tops covered in a thick cloud. I set off at a controlled pace knowing exactly where to go, over the bridge and onto the first of many climbs. The higher we went the stronger the wind and the sharper the rain. I got to the first checkpoint at Kiwi Saddle in 1.22.00, seven minutes off my goal. I felt good; ran right through and started the gradual climb up to Castle Camp. It was starting to get cold and my gloves were wet. I was running in my tiny little running shorts that expose more leg than a 15-year-old girl who is going out to a party. It was time to whip out the longjohns and push on for a couple hours to the top of Kaweka J.

After another stop to put on another thermal I made it to the top soaking wet, cold and ready for the monster descent down to Makahu Saddle Hut, hoping for less pelting rain so I could open my eyes. I got to the bottom and ran into the checkpoint for a gear check; a very quick check because I was wearing most of it! A nice lady helped me open my electrolyte tablet and filled up my drink bottle; my hands were shaking too much. I was half way at this point, I knew where to go and what to do. Just keep going.

I ran along the clay fields to the Donald; one of the sections that I knew would be tough. It lived up to expectations. Down the technical descent, up the muddy steep bank onto what seemed a section of nice easy running. By this point the little hills that I would sprint over in training had now developed into monster climbs that seemed to keep on going. Hands quickly fell onto knees.

I got to the last checkpoint at Lakes carpark and knew that I only had one last monster to smash to get back to the top of Kuripapango. All the way up I kept looking back, dreading the thought of another runner catching me and claiming the win. The final descent flew by as I made my way down the mountain to the finish line, to be handed a cold beer and a medal.

Done. Running gives you an appreciation for the little things like a cold beer, a slice of chocolate cake and a warm shower. This will be a race that I will remember for the rest of my life as my first real mountain race. Cold, wet, tough, sore ... wicked!"