My second off road marathon of the year, the T42 was a race that I was looking forward to. The course was over the 42nd Traverse in the central North Island and is a very popular mountain biking route. It had been a destination that I have been meaning to tick off for some time.
The day dawned cold and very wet, thankfully the last drops of rain fell on the start line and the remainder of the day was in warm sunshine. The course consisted of more downhill than uphill, something that I had never experienced in my previous off road marathons. The terrain was predominantly 4 x 4 track some shingle and some clay based with a short section at the start through unmarked farmland. We were also treated to a 3k single-track section leading to the final climb and the finish at Owhango Domain.
The beauty of the run for me was the shear isolation, the sound of a couple of wild pigs reinforcing this. The majority of the race is spent under the forest canopy so the views are few and far between. But some dense NZ bush does make up for that, along with the real community feel at the finish in Owhango.
I felt strong throughout and picked up a couple of places on the main climb, mid way through and on the final climb into the finish. Spending more time running downhill did take it out of my thighs and if I were to compete again I would focus on this in my training. That said I finished in third place in a time of 3 hours 37 minutes.