It’s International Women’s Day today and it’s great to acknowledge it formally, but here’s something to consider. Celebrate women everyday, not just on March 8th hey? Live it and breathe it. So without further ado, here’s the Motatapu Ultra race preview.
Current Motatapu Ultra record holder, Lucy Bartholomew returns here for another crack after winning this one by over two hours last year. But she won’t have it all her own way this year as she faces some serious opposition to her title, with a couple of leading Kiwi gals coming home and lining up in the 51km off-road event to take on the young Aussie pace setter.
The addition of Ruth Croft to the start list has certainly added some spice to a race. Born and raised on the West Coast born Ruth has recently moved back to live in Wanaka after spending the last ten years living in Taiwan. Here’s what she had to say about moving back home:
“Living and working in such a densely populated city like Taipei I was finding it harder and harder to prepare for races in Europe. I was lucky enough that Garmin would allow me to go over to Europe earlier to prepare for my races, but I got to a point where I felt I needed to be consistently living in a place that was conducive to training. Wanaka has everything; great trails, a good community and it is all right at your backdoor. The plan is to be based in Wanaka for six months of the year and then be in Europe for the Northern Hemisphere trail season.
“It is great to see a strong women’s field, with good competition it helps bring the level up across the board. I think we are already seeing ultra-running on the rise in New Zealand, we definitely have the trails for it and there seems to be more and more races popping up.”
2017 saw Ruth in great form, with victories at the Les Templiers 75km in France, Ultra Pirineu Marathon in Spain, Matterhorn Ultraks 30km in Switzerland, and a runner-up finish at Laveredo Ultra Trail 120km in Italy.
Also lining up at the Motatapu Ultra on Saturday is Anna Frost, a former New Zealand representative at the World Mountain Running Championships.
“I am excited to be able to come back to New Zealand to spend some more time exploring my own back yard. So, what better way than to do some races in the most stunning of places.
“My journey began at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy, and now 14 years later still moves me around the world experiencing races, personal projects in the mountains challenging myself against the clock, taking people on trail run Adventures around the world and getting involved with product design and development. I have been fortunate to be supported by INOV-8, Salomon and now Ultimate Direction.”
Another big name in women’s trail running will feature at the race this year, with Cecilia Flori lining up in the Off-Road Marathon. Third at the Tarawera 100km in 2017 and a winner at the Mozart 105km event last year, Flori will be a warm favourite in the 42km off-road race.
“The course looks awesome and I heard a lot of good things about the event,” said the Italian born ‘Kiwi’. “I think it will be a really nice course to run so hopefully I can enjoy some of the views. I really love New Zealand, I recently became a permanent resident, so I like to think of myself as a Kiwi as well.”
Best of luck to everyone racing this weekend.