Photo by Centuri Chan
One competitors description of the race:
Take a rough back country marathon trail,
Grab Mt Cook, chop it into 3 bits and plonk it on the course,
Add a couple of rivers between the bumps,
Drop a bunch of trees on the track,
Cover 1/3 of the course in snow & ice,
a few marker poles so you know where to go.
And call it an odyssey - The Mt Oxford Odyssey.
This was my 5th trail race, and it would be fair to say I've never done anything like it before. After having run over Mt Oxford the first time, if you were dumb enough to think about what lay ahead, any sane competitor would suddenly curl into a gibbering ball in the ground and refuse to move until extracted. The only way I survived the race was "In the now" because it was always OK where I was. It was just what lay ahead that was terrifying.
(we'd like you to know he also said he had a great day - and he did finish!)
Check out this great write-up from a past marathon competitor - it gives you a good insight as to what's instore!
RACE REPORT by Jarrod Cook
The 42km Mountain Marathon is a true adventure and one that will push you to your limits both physically and mentally. The marathon has around 3500 metres vertical gain over the course distance. What does that mean you ask? Well, that is close to Mt Cook's height broken up into three different ascents and descents. There may well be some snow and ice on the course adding to the adventure. If that excites you then that means you are the kind of person that this marathon will suit. And that means we want to see you on the startline in 2018.
The course starts and finishes at Coopers Creek, Oxford.
You ascend Mt Oxford and then head down the mountain on the western side to the Wharfedale Hut. There you do a loop of Black Hill visiting the hut near the summit, and then descend back to the Wharfedale Track. You will then climb Mt Oxford again and go back along the summit returning to Coopers Creek.
(A full map is included in your race pack.)
There is some great single track running on technical trails but plenty of scrambling and walking in the mix. This marathon is not going to be 'run' - prepare for gut busting hiking. There is a good chance of some snow and ice along parts of the course and we won't alter the route unless there is a blizzard going on or if the snow/ice is too treacherous for you to tackle, so prepare for this in your training.
The section down Mt Oxford toward the Wharfedale Hut is particularly 'gnarly' and there is some scrambling involved on both the descent and also when you head back up on your return towards the finish line.
Head lamps are COMPULSORY for the 2018 event to help you on your way around the course. (The team at Further Faster will be able to assist you with any required gear.)
RACE DATE: Saturday 19th May 2018
RACE ENTRY: $175 this includes a buffet aid station at the Wharfedale Hut (which you pass twice on your journey), finishers medal, THIRband, post race nourishment and an experience of a lifetime!
RACE CUT OFF: Due to the nature of this race we have to put in place a cut-off at the Wharfedale Hut. This is to ensure you are not descending Mt Oxford in the dark. The Oxford Search and Rescue team will be enforcing the cut-off and we ask you respect their decision. You will need to be at the Hut (on your second time) by 2pm. This is 8 hours after you start the race and allows you four hours to climb back up the mountain and descend to the finish line by 6pm. If you are miss the cut-off we will bring you back to the finish area by vehicle where you can rest up and enjoy some hot food and relax in a warm marquee while waiting for the prize giving.
RACE AGE LIMIT: 18 years +
MARATHON START TIME: 6:00am
RACE BRIEFING: 5:45am
Past competitors have told us that this marathon took them longer to complete than the Kepler Challenge - a mountain ultra-marathon in Fiordland (which is 60km).
We think this marathon might just be the toughest in the country.
The question is, do you have what it takes to finish?
Have you got what it takes to finish?
This is a true mountain event so you are exposed to the elements, changing conditions and unstable terrain at any time of year. We will be gear checking EVERY competitor at registration as well as random gear checks at aid stations. You may be asked to show your gear at marshal points along the track.
Do not take any gear out between gear check inspection and the race start. This is for your own safety!!
You MUST carry the following with you in your pack:
• at least 2.0 litres of fluid
• survival blanket
• thermal or woolen hat and gloves
• thermal long sleeve top and leggings
• wind and waterproof jacket – seam sealed stitched.
• basic first aid kit
(The first aid kit must contain as a minimum : adhesive strapping tape, 4 band aids, 2 gauze pads, a crepe bandage and some panadol)
• enough food for up to 8-10 hours
• Any medication you will need for while out on the trail eg. Inhaler, antihistamine
All Marathon competitors MUST have a headlamp. The race begins in the dark so you will need a headlamp for the first part of the race. There is the possiblity you will also need it on your final descent of the mountain.
There will be an aid station that you pass twice where water will be available but due to the terrain we are not able to provide refills for every competitor’s hydration bags/bottles. You are able to refill at the stream near the aid station (the water is safe to drink).
We recommend that you wear trail running shoes with a good grip on them as the trail is technical.
RACE REGISTRATION AND GEAR CHECK:
Venue: Further Faster, 57a Buchan St, Sydenham, Christchurch
When: Friday 18th May, 3:30pm - 7pm (To be confirmed)
If you are staying in Oxford for race weekend you will be able to collect your race pack and have your gear checked on the morning of the race between 6:15am and 6:45am at the start/finish area.
CHANGING FACILITIES & TOILETS: All amenities are available at the start/finish area at Coopers Creek. There are also basic toilet facilities at the Wharfedale Hut and Black Hill Hut.
You are able to leave your personal belongings in the marquee at the start/finish area. Please name your belongings clearly.
PRIZE GIVING: The Prize Giving will take place at 6pm in the marquee at the start/finish area. We are working on something special for you post-race so keep an eye out for updates on this.
CAR PARKING: There is plentiful car parking along the side of Mountain Road about 500m from the start/finish area. Please park your car ‘nose in’ to the hedge. Please DO NOT park your car at the Coopers Creek carpark at the end of Mountain Road. This needs to be kept clear for other track users.
Please look out for CAR PARKING signs.
REFRESHMENTS: Oxford Lions will be providing all competitors in the marathon some food and a drink at the completion of your race. They will also be selling their scrumptious food to any of your supporters throughout the day.
MASSAGE: There will be a massage therapist on site ready to ease away any aches and pains after your accomplishment at the Finish Line. You will be able to pre-book when you enter online.
FIRST AID: The OxfordSAR team will be on hand throughout the race in the unlikely event of an emergency and first aid will be located at the START / FINISH area.
WASTE: Please dispose of any waste in the rubbish bins provided. Do not litter on the course – what goes in must go out!
DIDYMO: We need all competitors to be vigilant and ensure that the Oxford Conservation Area remains Didymo free. Please ensure that your shoes have been thoroughly cleaned and dried before using them on race day if you have been anywhere near any Didymo affected areas.