Muddy Fight for Honours in Raglan Karioi Trail

There must have been a queue for the shower in the Loten household in Raglan on Saturday afternoon.

Dr Mike and Joan, their children Sam and George, and Joan’s sister, Maureen Glassey from Auckland, all took part in races in the Raglan Karioi Trail, which went down as the muddiest yet in the three years it’s been running.

Most of the competitors crossed the finish line with muddy shoes, mud all up their legs, muddy butts, muddy hands and arms and muddy faces.

The weather was good for the runners, but not so great for the volunteers who had to brave the wet and cold conditions, says organiser Francois Mazet.

Between them, the Lotens took home two medals: Sam, 10, and Dr Mike won the 24km team event as Big Fred and Little Ted and Joan won the 40-59-year-old category (second overall) in the women’s 24km race.

“It’s our favourite running race,” says Dr Mike. “Running on our local mountain through beautiful bush; the vibe is friendly and supportive from the runners and volunteers.

“Francois has created the best post-run activities: a kids race, free beer (sponsored by Good George) and sausages, generous spot prizes. Fantastic!”

Francois says the level of competiveness in the men’s race was  “absolutely amazing” this year. “The fight for the podium was quite intense.”

The overall winner of the 24km race, which sees competitors twice reach the summit of Mt Karioi, was five-times Goat Alpine Adventure Run champion Sjors Corporaal, from Galatea, Bay of Plenty. His time of   2.49.54 was the fastest time in the history of the event.

A share-milker and pig hunter, Sjors is used to running in mountains with pigs strapped to his shoulders, Francois says.

Sjors says the Karioi race is nothing like he has ever done before.

“All the mud and the roots and a hell of a lot of climbing … you are just tested the whole time.”

Chris Morrissey, from Tauranga, who came third and won the Karioi Trail the last two years, says there was a lot more competition this year and it was “a good battle”. “The last two years it was quite dry. This year it was totally different.”

Carl Fischer, who came in fourth place, says the race was “epic, so steep and treacherous”. “This reminds me of the Kaimai Goat (a 20km in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, Bay of Plenty) but on steroids.”

Raglan’s Tom Welby, who recently won the Tarawera Trail Marathon and was the local favourite to win the Karioi Trail, came fifth.

The fastest woman to do the 24km was Dawn Tuffery of Hamilton. Dawn and Sjors each won a Suunto watch, sponsored by Trek ’n’ Travel, for their effort.

The race is based on the Swann family farm on Karioi Rd, with three generations of the family taking part, either as volunteers or competitors. Mason and Cody Swann were among the 24 kids taking part in the 2km Mini Karioi Trail.

Francois says it was good to see some of the sponsors entering the race, like Dave Peacocke, in the 10km race, and Matt Taggart, who entered the team event.

He says the 10km race was introduced this year as an opportunity for runners to test their metal on the mountain, to see if they can do it.

Some competitors who enter don’t realise that trail running means the terrain is such that you won’t actually be able to run a lot of the time, he says.

Co-organiser Rachel Brown says trail running is becoming more popular and the Karioi event is becoming a bit bigger every year.

She says from this year’s event there will be “a whole bunch of people who will want to beat Sjors”.

“The thing they love, when they come in all exhausted, is all the people who helped out along the trail, they’re amazed that there is a drinks station at the top of the mountain, and they like that it’s not commercial … it’s grassroots and a bit of mud.”

Inger Vos

RKT 2015 Results:

Kids Mini Karioi Trail: 1 Kahn Sweetman, Raglan, 11.09; 2 Txema Mazet Brown, Raglan, 11.12; 3 Riley Hartgill, Waitetuna, 11.18.

24km women’s race: 1 Dawn Tuffery, Hamilton, 4.25.38; 2 Joan Loten, Raglan, 4.47.01; 3 Suzanne Dudding, Onehunga, 4.56.51.

24km men’s race: 1 Sjors Corporaal, Galatea, 2.49.54; 2 Lance Dowie, Murapara, 2.57.57; 3 Chris Morrissey, 2.58.03.

24km team: 1 Big Fred and Little Ted/Mike and Sam Loten, Raglan, 3.53.21; 2 Kovo MacDonald and Oscar Emery, Hamilton, 4.09.24; 3 Team Ozone/Jim Burcham and Matt Taggart, Raglan, 4.16.29.

10km women’s race: 1 Rhonda Parry, Hamilton, 2.00.23; 2 Greer Hawley, Auckland, 2.39.22; 3 Jo Knowles, Raglan, 2.58.22.

10km men’s race: 1 Karl Smith, England, 1.45.38; 2 Simon Stewart, Raglan, 1.49.04; 3 Kyle McGowan, Te Awamutu 1.53.06.

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