Mission Mt Somers Weston Hill breaks record
Mission Mt Somers has seen it all in terms of weather over the five years of its existence. With the highlight for many being year three when the athletes experienced snow, hail and sunshine all in that order. A week out from the race this year and the event looked as if it was going once again be a combination of trail running and trail sliding with snow blanketing the course. However, Saturday November 2 dawned warm, clear and calm, with the rest of the day resembling Mid-Summer heat wave conditions and a dry fast course.
The Mt Somers marathon and half marathon courses are best described as ‘adventure runs’ and there are no excuses made for the technical nature of the single track they consist of. If you want groomed trails this course will
most likely not meet your expectations. For this reason, it also why a number of purist trail runners consider it the best trail run in New Zealand.
The race organisers are proud of the level of athlete the race has attracted, including the likes of Scott Hawker who recently finished third at the prestigious UTMB event in Mont Blanc. Hawker has held the record by a large margin for the past few years and the likelihood of this being broken any time soon was very doubtful. However, Weston Hill had other ideas on Saturday when he departed the sleepy town of Staveley at 0700 in the morning there were no signs of early morning fatigue and he was quick to make the Mission Mt Somers course his own. Hill manged to shave seven minutes off Hawkers record in a time of 4:13:52, over 45 minutes faster than second place Grant Guise who completed the course respectively in 4:59:35, closely followed for third place by Jamie Gardner in at time of 4:59:49.
Unofficial temperatures of 30 degrees plus did not slow local women Julia Grant down in the Women’s marathon. Julia was happy to claim the victory plus the five-hundred-dollar cheque! Julia proved that the transition from triathlete to adventure racer has done positive things for her trail running, also smashing the women’s previous marathon record in a time of 5:28:47.
Grant was kept honest by Kristina Aluzaite 6:03:51 and in third Kate Morrison 6:38:08.
The half marathon event is always a closely fought battle and the women’s event this year again did not disappoint. Nicki McFadzien took line honours in a time of 2:43:41, closely followed by Tessa Walker 2:47:03 and Katherine Reardon 2:52:37.
In the men’s race young Hamish Elliot had the potential and ability to break the 2:00:00 mark, which has only been broken once before by Flavio Vianna in 2017 when he claimed the $250- bonus. Unfortunately, a lack of course knowledge meant that Hamish finished just 6 minutes over this time closely followed by previous winner Ryan ‘Ferret’ Carr in a time of 2:08:56, and Rhys John in a time of 2:10:59. Elliot was quick to remark that he maybe drawn back next year to try and topple Vianna’s record.
All sorts of athletes and age groups could be found in the events 10km and 5km events, with many youth having their first taste at the fun that is trail running. Overall 400 plus competitors took on the 5th year of Mission Mt Somers, with many vowing to return in the future to see what climatic conditions they will face next!
Thankyou to all our sponsors:
• Tavendale and Partners
• Southern Alps Honey
• Staveley Store
• Blue Earth
• Big Al’s Snow Sports
• Peak Fuel
• Team CP