Our man on the ground, Matt Bixley has shot us his initial thoughts from the weekend over at Northburn Station. From the sounds of it, it’s been a weekend of zero sleep, lots of coffee and a few bevvies. Well done to all who ran and supported, sounds like tough conditions this year – I personally can’t wait to get back next year.
It’s 8.00pm on Sunday evening and Sam Maxwell is out, I won’t say running because he probably isn’t. Since he started running, his number one supporter and wife Brooke has had breakfast, lunch and dinner. Twice. He is probably near a checkpoint known as The Brewery and still has another 10km to run in the Northburn 100. That 10km is likely to take him 2-3 hours and after 40 hours allow him to sleep. There are six others still out there just in front of him.
Northburn Station, owned by the Pinckney Family is your classic Central Otago High Country Station. Enormous, barren, rugged, steep and beautiful all in one go and we’re allowed to go and play on it. 69 people lined up for the 2ndrunning of the Northburn 100 mile and associated 50k and 100k events. 36 Lined up for the full three loops over differing parts of the property. However the main theme of each loop remained the same. Climb 1200m from The Shed to the Summit at Leaning Rock.
At the front end of the field it was no easier. American Ray Sanchez somehow got off course part way through the 2nd loop when he was leading and lost 4 hours. It didn’t help that winds in excess of 100kph buffeted the upper mountain, on and off again heavy rain and for the 2nd year in a row snow fell.
None of these issues were of much concern to Glenn Sutton. Glenn returned after a very difficult 3rd loop last year and knocked the reconfigured course out in 26:31 to take the overall win. Glenn was consistent all day, completing the 1st50k in around 6:30 and part of a group of 5 who were spread out over 10 minutes. Glenn was joined for a large portion by womans champion Jean Beaumont. Jean largely flies under the radar on the running circuit. But scratch the surface and it comes as no surprise that her 26:47 is a course record that will only be beaten by 1 or 2 men (if any) each year.
Sponsors Golden Gate lodge were joined by Salomon this year, who sent a team of crippled athletes to do the odd jobs that were needed to help support the small army of volunteers that Tom Pinckney and Terry Davis have pulled together to allow the runners to push their boundaries. Many of the volunteers had returned from last year. They suffer through the same harsh conditions, the same long hours and do it with pure joy and fascination at what is going on.
Full results will be published at www.northburn100.co.nz. A big thanks also to Paul Petch from Outdoor Photography for allowing us to use his images too, which I’m sure you will agree are absolute quality, and certainly some of the best shots I’ve seen from an event photographer. Have a gander at his website