Jan 14, 2012

Distance today = 62.79 km; Total distance = 731.82 km; Location = Christchurch –  43 33.643′ S, 172 40.117′ E; Start time = 0830, Finish time = 1659


My biggest day yet – 62.8 km – but I was helped quite a bit by a strong tailwind for most of the day. If you are going to cop a windy day, that’s the direction you want it. Once again, click on the link above to see all the details of the day. Click the Change to Metric button on the top right, and also scroll back through past days by clicking on Previous.

Soon after leaving Rakaia I had to cross the Rakaia River, which is NZ’s widest at 2 km. However, the road bridge has essentially no place for pedestrians to cross. You need to make yourself very thin against the railing as cars pass, and it becomes a nightmare when a massive truck comes by. However, Ken (from last night’s guesthouse) told me there was pedestrian access on the rail bridge. I was a bit tentative about crossing a 2 km long bridge on a railway line. However, Ken’s advice was accurate, as there was a nice walking path alongside the rail track. Thanks Ken. It saved me a lot of angst.

Early in the afternoon I was joined unexpectedly by Chris from Rolleston. He had been watching my progress on the GPS Tracker, noted I was getting close to his place, and decided to come out and have a run with me. This was great for two reasons.

Obviously it is positive to have people come along and run with me, and the tracker is a great way for such people to locate me. The other reason is more subtle, and something I have been advocating for a while. You see, when anyone can turn up to see a runner at a precise location, according to where their tracker is placing them, there is a very heavy onus on the runner to “obey all the rules”. In the sport of multi-stage ultra running, it  is, unfortunately, not that unheard of for runners to cheat by claiming they ran certain distances when, in fact, they did not. There was a recent case of this, so I’m told, in regard to a run around Australia. When anyone can turn up to “surprise” the runner, it makes it a lot harder for cheats to prosper. Anyhow, having Chris surprise me today on the road validated my belief that real time GPS trackers have a large role to play in this sport.

I had to race a bit to get into Christchurch before the battery in my Garmin GPS (not to be confused with the GPS tracker, which is i-Phone based) ran out. It’s a bit disappointing that such an expensive toy only has a battery life of 8 hours. A 60 km day with stops and breaks can easily add up to 8 hours on the road.

I finally arrived in Christchurch, noting various signs of the recent earthquake damage. Tomorrow I will run through the city centre, and will, no doubt, see even more evidence.

I would like to thank Rebekah and Steve for putting us up in their very nice home for the next two nights. The hospitality of the NZ people continues to be unsurpassed.