Australian James Kohler and Queenstown’s Kerryn Bell were the first male and female runners to cross the finish line on the shores of Lake Ohau on the second day of New Zealand’s first ultra-run.
The Back Country Cuisine Alps 2 Ocean Ultra started on Sunday with 125 runners from 15 countries and after seven stages over seven days and 316 kilometres it will finish in Oamaru on Saturday.
Both Kohler and Bell are running in the supported event and the Australian from the Blue Mountains took five hours and 24 minutes to complete todays 52 kilometre Lake Pukaki to Lake Middleton with Bell coming home 27 minutes later.
Brendon Thompson from Wellington was the first unsupported runner to finish building on his lead from yesterday when he was the first runner home, taking five hours and 37 minutes while Jane Ovington from the UK was the first unsupported women home, finishing in six hours and 34 minutes.
“It was a nice course today with pretty good views,” Kohler said. “I was trying to hold something back for tomorrow but felt pretty good. Tomorrow is the hard day, 86 kilometres, so I had to leave something in the tank for tomorrow as it’s the main day.”
With a young family it has been almost 10 years since Bell, a former ironman competitor, has done any serious training or racing, so says she has surprised herself being the first women home on the opening day days of the event.
“It’s been tough getting into it,” she said. “But today was easier I think as the body is getting used to running, buts it’s also sore. I’ve never run in this area and it’s ever changing, quite stunning and beautiful. I’m looking at getting through tomorrows hard stage then hope to enjoy it a bit more.”
Tomorrow the runners tackle the tough 86 kilometre race defining stage from Lake Middleton to Loch Laird.
For results, updates and videos please see the Back Country Cuisine Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Facebook page