The Goat Tongariro

Run Training NZIt’s not for the faint hearted!  It’s tough. One of the toughest off-road runs in New Zealand and I love it! From Whakapapa ski field to Turoa ski field across the mountain.

It offers stunning views of the mountains, snow if you’re lucky, tussock, volcanic rock, beautiful lakes and much more and that’s the up side. Those are the reasons you run this tough race. You feel like you are in a completely different world and it is truly amazing.

The weather is changeable.  It can go from hot to extremely cold and winter conditions in a matter of minutes, so compulsory gear must be carried.

The race starts with a 2km run down the Bruce road and then over the side and you are amongst the volcanic rock with no trail to speak of.  As long as you can see the next marker pole you are heading in the right direction.

The weather has gouged out many a tough bank to climb and if you are short of stature like me it is doubly hard to climb up those steep banks. Grab whatever you can to hoist yourself up and away you go, till the next one. The hills are steep and not much more than a walking pace can be done at times and there are many as you can imagine in the Central Plateau. Did I mention it was steep? Very steep and there are times when you ask yourself…I entered this, why?

The river crossings, and there are a few, are tough if you a short once again like me.  Extremely cold but good for the legs, but care must be taken and don’t forget the waterfall – yes the dreaded waterfall…it’s straight up.  A rock face that sees you clinging on with all fingers and toes.

I do have to mention the Marshalls.  There are many and they hike all the way in and all the way out, with lots of gear.  They are the best.  So motivating and cheerful. Thank you Marshalls. I love you!

Marathon Training NZSo we are nearly at the end of the race and it’s the sting in the tail.  They call it “Mama’s Mile”.  Why? Because it is so steep and tough you will be crying for ya Mama.  It is the last mile of the race and it is straight up the Turoa Ski field road.  This is the time when your legs slow down.  You are just putting one foot in front of the other.  Your nose is just about touching the tarmac.  The road is coming up to meet you.  Please, just one more corner and then another…and then…you can hear the music.  You can hear the MC welcoming people home.  You come round the last bend and there it is…the red carpet. You break into a run and pump your fist as you run thru the finishing ribbon ….you’ve done it! You’ve conquered the Goat.

Have you goat what it takes?

– Suzy Monds

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