On the Saturday night we had a fun night relay at the Muriwai Golf Course before the social. It reminded me a bit of last year's Halloween score event on the golf course which was truly hilarious and an awesome event despite the fact that I am literally terrified of the dark (I'm trying to conquer this by making myself do these night events whether I want to or not). The relay format was pretty simple. You were in teams of 2 (I was in a team with my mate Michael who I did TWALK with) and either started on Leg A or Leg B. The first runner in the team would head out and do their leg then hand their map to the other team mate. Then once they'd come in the first runner would head out on the second leg then hand the map to the second runner to do. Make sense?
We were on Leg B first and I made Michael run first. He was racing against his mate Matt which was quite funny. You could see the trail of lights out on the course as you waited around, freezing cold, at the finish. They came in together, much quicker than I expected and I was off before I knew it. Lara (Matt's relay partner) started just ahead of me and she had awesome reflective strips on the back of her tights so if I wasn't totally sure I was going right I could just look up and see where she was!
A couple of Aussie girls started a few seconds behind us so were chasing us the whole way and we formed a little train (we must have all been Leg B starters) which grew in numbers as we went along (picking up other runners who'd started before us). It was actually really fun but we were going incredibly fast and I was pretty knackered by the time I got back to the finish to tag Michael.
Loop A - our second leg
I was hoping the second leg might be a bit longer not 'cause I felt like running for longer but more because I really wanted a bit of a rest before having to run again but Michael finished it in no time. Lara had already set out (turns out Matt forgot the last control so mispunched on the second leg hence coming in a little bit before Michael) so I was on my own and I stumbled on the first control despite one of my mates saying to take it easy 'cause it was a tricky one. I did exactly what he'd done! After that it was pretty simple and basically just a matter of keeping my legs moving as fast as I could! It's such a weird experience running off road in the dark especially on this golf course map...the terrain is really bouncy. I can't really describe it but your foot never lands quite how or where you think it's going to.
Anyway, turns out we were the first New Zealand team (beaten by a couple of Aussie teams...they took it pretty seriously though whereas we were all out to have fun). Awesome!
Monday was the final day which meant it was time for the club relays at Naesby East. I love Naesby but I'm not a fan of relays 'cause I don't cope that well under pressure. This year I was in a team with Pete Swanson and Jeff Greenwood and we decided for the more relaxed, fun approach. Pete even had us wearing our numbers sideways. They both had an early plane to catch so there was a joke that Jeff had set the alarm on his watch to go off at a certain point and if he wasn't back by then he was going to turn around and come back and Pete would swing by with his car as he came into the finish and they'd race off back to Dunedin. Fortunately we didn't need that backup plan!
Anyway, I think we all assumed the terrain wouldn't be too technical and it would be pretty easy but we were wrong! I overheard someone commenting that this was one of the most technical relays they've done. This area, like much of Naesby, is an old mining area but unlike the rest of the area it's not covered in forest. Naesby (the forest) is often considered to be New Zealand's most technical map so perhaps it should have been no surprise that the open area was also technically difficult.
The start of the relay event
Anyway, I was running second leg which is the shortest of the 3. Pete was powering through the course so I didn't have to wait long before I was off. Started okay and got to the first control to find a few people standing around looking hopelessly lost (the first control is normally a split, meaning different people will have different controls but in a similar area). I ignored them and kept going. Was a bit tentative on #3 and ran to the wrong #4 to start with 'cause I was looking for a grey rock, not a dirt rock. Silly mistake. The next control was the spectator control...just head towards the noise! Easy!
Coming out of the spectator control I was aiming to head up the valley to #6 but ended up hitting the green. I backtracked, but not before leading a whole group of others into the green (they kept going but I relocated and got back on track...didn't see them after that so I must have made the right decision). It was all fine until the final control which felt a lot higher up the hillside than it was marked. I was reluctant to go too far up but there was no other option. Vegetation was real vague so it seemed funny. Oh well.
The run into the finish was funny though. I was so buggered but there was a group of people screaming at me to start sprinting so I attempted to put in some more speed but my legs didn't have any more left. But I ended up with a pretty good time and made up quite a few places so Pete was thrilled. Unfortunately Jeff didn't have a very good run (he wouldn't even talk to us at first when he finished) so we lost a few of those places I'd made up but it was awesome fun and made me like relays for once!
Can't wait to come back to Naesby again. I love it!