WUU-2K 60km Ultra - winner Sam McCutcheon
Kepler Challenger winner Sam McCutcheon hit the best trails around the capital to win the 60km WUU-2K. 'Wuu-2k' stands for The Wellington Urban Ultra 2k (2km of climb) and takes in Mt Kaukau, Makara Peak, Tawatawa Reserve, Mt Albert, and Mt Victoria. Sam considers his best results are "A 10th at the Slyrunning World Champs last year in Val de Boi (Spain). Pretty happy with that result. Closer to home would be Tarawera this year (3rd) and Kepler last year (1st)".
Sam reports on his win at the WUU-2K
The WUU-2K course is awesome; such a good idea to get an accessible ultra right next to the city but still have most of it off-road. While there are no ridiculous hills the track continuously climbs and drops and there is hardly any flat.
It is only the second year the WUU-2K has been run but Gareth and the team put on a good show and the organisation made it feel like a long running race. There were two main reasons to run this race. The first was that it is in Wellington and you always want to support and compete in your local races. The second was that I wanted to have a crack at the course record, I am pretty familiar with most of the course and felt like it could be a course that I could have a good run on.
My ideal conditions would have been dry and fast. However, leading up to the event Wellington (and the rest of the country) got smashed by torrential rain which pretty much extinguished any hope of a dry course. Despite the weather the track is mainly on ridges and had drained relatively well. There was still a lot of mud around and the track was slippery but was much better than I was expecting, and much better than some other tracks around Wellington.
Given the rain I wasn't exactly sure how to run it but on the day I decided to just get after it and see how I felt along the way. I wasn't expecting as much decent and climbing around the back of Makara Bike park and so rocked up to the Wind Turbine with the legs a little more tired than I was expecting. After getting to the coast I had recovered a bit and started rolling alright on the flat. There were a few low patches over the day but overall I was relatively happy how the legs recovered and held together to the end.
I knew that it would be a tough day with Tim and Will on the start line. Those guys excel in the tough conditions and so it was always in the back of my mind that they would be on my back if I hit a wall. Luckily the track was runnable enough and the weather held (and then cleared). I was confident that if I could make it to the coast with a small lead then I would be able to hold on up to Mt Vic.
In the women’s race Jean crushed it and finished 11th overall. I am guessing this was a relatively standard outing for Jean given her experience in ultras. I think that both the womens and mens event have the potential to attract more great talent over future years. The course is largely runnable, very accessible and offers a variety of terrain. Supporters get to see runners every 10K or so which is pretty unusual for an ultra.
Finally, would like to make mention of all the volunteers, the aid stations looked great (although I didn’t get to enjoy them much along the way).
Shoes – Altra Lone Peaks 3.0
Pack – Ultraspire Alpha
Nutrition – Tailwind (also at the aid stations)