On the 10th of July this year a messenger notification popped up on my phone from a friend Scott. The message was an attachment with the following link: https://www.alps2oceanultra.com. Entirely unaware, I clicked the link to find an event that has since changed the direction of my year, the focus of my spare time and energy, and although it’s too soon to say and this is probably a bit drastic, potentially my life.
After a restless night spent visualing the mental and physical challenge this event would pose, it became pretty clear this wouldn’t be an opportunity to let slip by. With 2020 being the event’s final year and my incapacity to say no, my response when Scott asked “should we bloody do it?” was inevitable.
What is the Alps to Ocean Ultra?
If I fully knew the answer to this, I don’t know for sure that I would have actually signed up. It seems only after having attempted/completed the race can someone fully understand what it entails. In saying that, here is what I know so far:
- The races goes from the bottom of New Zealand’s highest mountain (Aoraki/Mount Cook) to the Pacific Ocean on the East Coast of NZ (Oamaru).
- It’s 323km over 7 days on foot – averaging 46km a day.
- The run is broken up into 7 stages:
- Day 1: Stage 1 & 2 ~ 55.6k
- Day 2: Stage 3 ~ 50.6k
- Day 3 & 4: Stage 4 ~ 89k
- Day 5:Stage 5 ~ 44.8k
- Day 6: Stage 6 ~ 53k
- Day 7: Stage 7 ~ 29k
- Some absolute legends will be choosing to carry their own bedding, clothing, food, and safety gear the entire way …. I will not be.
The list of what I know so far is pretty short but I’m loving all the research and learning that is happening along the way. Selfishly, I’ve decided to create this space to collate all my findings and reflections and to keep family and friends up to date with the journey. If the information helps anyone else that will be an epic side bonus!
Not knowing where to start with this journey initially my plan of action was to target the Queenstown Marathon in November and build from there. Unfortunately, back in August I made a real rookie training blunder which at the time was devastating but I now feel very grateful for, as it has helped me develop a deeper understanding and more balanced approach to the training process. I feel very grateful to have just last week teamed up with ultra-endurance coaches Lisa Tamati and Neil Wagstaff who have set me up with an awesome programme to help shortcut future blunders, injuries and burn out.
As a virgin ultra-marathon athlete, I’m feeling very excited to test my mettle across some unreal New Zealand terrain. Watch this space!