The Nugget

The Nugget Multisport Festival took place this Saturday in Waihi. The Premier event was the Full Nugget Multisport Race but the festival also included The Half Nugget Duathlon, and 3 trail runs, 21km, 10km, and 5km in length. I kept focused on my running goals and chose to race the 21km run. Alistair McDowell, who travelled with me from Auckland, was more adventurous and took on the Full Nugget as his second multisport race to date.

This weekend we teamed up with Vitasport, a supporting sponsor of the race, to help refuel competitors on the finish line and to do some promo stuff around the event centre. It was a great experience, and having to keep Vitasport stuff in order before and after the race lead to an intense day with some very tight timing.

The early morning Vitasport set up just past the finish line.

Alastair and I were also given the mighty Vitasport Landrover for our journey which made everything much more epic. Turns out it has many secrets and is a tricky machine to drive, but it’s a quite a beast once everything is figured out. We travelled down on Friday evening as we had to be at the event centre early to help set up and Alastair had to drop his Kayak and bikes off at the transitions before his race.

The Beast

The 21km featured a hilly start around the coastal track north of Waihi Beach, There were some stunning views and some very dramatic terrain where one slip could easy be your last. As the course turns away from the sea there is a big climb finishing through some farmland and giving a clear view of the finish, which was deceptively far away. The rest of the course was mainly on tracks and was very fast. I was guttered when I heard someone start their Garmin before the start as I realised I had forgotten mine. The race route off the website will have to do this time.

Course map - I think there were a few differences to what this shows

I started the race very easy and waited for my body to warm up before I decided how best to tackle the race as I was unsure how I would feel. I hadn’t put in any preparation into this race as I didn’t want it to interfere with my training. I had a few easy days after ANOC but I still hadn’t fully recovered and Friday’s 90 minutes in terrain was still sitting heavy in my legs. Kerry Suter took the early lead and once I warmed up after 5 minutes I picked up the pace and caught him quickly. We stayed together for most of the costal section but I wasn’t quite as aggressive on the last few hills and lost about a 30 seconds. I intended to make to catch on the big climb before the fast farm land but a few stitch problems arose and I took it easier than planned to prevent my stitch from worsening. I was feeling good after a Leppin at the drinks station and hit the next few kilometres quite hard and got to within 30 seconds again but Kerry was too fast along the flat and widened the gap again. After 2km on the road we had some more farm tracks which I tackled aggressively and got close to the lead once again. I was happy to see Kerry as he left one of the last paddocks but I was running a bit low on aggression and the gap widened by more than 3 minutes in the last 3km. I did lose a bit of focus towards the end but was impressed to see the final time gap so big. I finished 2nd in 1:42:25, 4 minutes off Kerry’s time of 1:38:30, and 5 minutes ahead of 3rd.

My body felt ok after the race and the next day which is encouraging for my current training block and I’m hoping my legs will develop some race-worthy aggression soon. Thanks again to Vitasport for keeping everyone at the race hydrated, especially Alastair and I, and thanks to Total Sport for another great event!