Mt Difficulty Ascent
08 June 2019
Take in the scenery of Mt Difficulty in this challenging 44km or 25km distance trail run. This course is not one for the faint-of-heart, with some parts of the climb reaching 50', as well as a 200m set rope as part of the descent. If you love all types of terrain, this course has it covered.
Glass of wine or beer and pizza after the race on Saturday!
44km Full Course DescriptionMarking on this course will be easy to make out, with bright red tape being tied to white standards, on both fences and bushes. The first 5km stays flat along the Fulton Road Verhe, Bannockburn Suicings and vineyards, before you hit your first 'warm up' over Nipple Hill. Over a 2km stretch, there will be a total climb of 240m, and descent of 270m. Within this, there is a couple of hundred metres of steeper course, with no designated track other than the regular red tape along the way. Do not race 'hard out' over this section, you will have plenty of chance to do so, but this is one of the 'cautionary' areas where it is best to be careful where you put your feet. It is even suggested you use your hands should you need to. There are four 'cuationary' sections in total, through which you should be careful not to fall, and also watch for the potential hazard of loose rocks below. An effort has been made to reduce this danger by removing all loose rocks beforehand, as well as setting the course in a way that should the rock start rolling it will do so at an angle not endangering the competitors below. Still, best not to take the risk! Nonetheless, don't take the risk, and keep to the rule of 'DO NOT ROLL ROCKS down. 6.5km First aid station - At all aid stations you can find a Medic, Water, RLine Electrolyte, BlueBird potato chips. There are NO CUPs at aid stations. Marshals will help you fill your water bottles/bladders.Following this, there are two relatively flat (undulating) kms. The entirety of this section will be a along a 4WD track along the Kawarau River - then the challenge begins. In the next km alone, there is a climb of 500m. You will really begin to understand where the event gets its name from at this point, with the average of 50% over 500m challenging even the hardest of athletes. You will see some sheep/goat tracks at this point, but runners just follow the red tape tied to the Matagouri bushes.Once the climb has been completed, you will find a marshal and a photographer (make sure you smile). There will though be no aid station. There will be drinking water available from a self re-fill area. Once through this area, there will be a water race and 4WD track running adjacent to it around the face of the mountain. The course will turn boggy at this point, before turning back to harder ground for a couple of km of faster down-hill running. At this point, you leave the road, and move onto the ridge. The next 'cautionary' section is around here having followed the fence round. You will notice there may be climbing rope available. This is intended to be used as a handrail keeping you on the course, rather than signalling the need to be harnessed and clipped on. At this point, you will be back at the first aid station.16km Second aid station.The course separates here for the two distances, with the Half Marathoners heading to the finish at Mt Difficulty Vineyard by following the red tape on the fence. Following a slightly different route through the Bannockburn Sluicings to the finish, this section in undulating, and heads back through the vineyards. With the prize giving for the Half being at 1pm, you will be greeted with warm bread, soup and pizza at the finish line.The Marathoners will once more head up up-river for a couple of kms, before the second climb begins. This ascent is 3km in length, with a climb of 1020m. With this level of difficulty, expect to take it slow, in the region of 30-40 mins per km, with some of it likely to be done using your hands and feet. Your next aid station will then be at the top of Mount Difficulty.20.5km Third aid stationFrom here it get easier, with 7.5km of gentle downward undulation along the top of the mountain, with stunning views in all directions should the clouds allow! The terrain will be grass/rock 4WD track, whilst possibly being covered in snow.28km Fourth Aid Station. ‘Slapjack Saddle’Though not as tough as previous stages, expect the challenge to ramp up a little at this point. There will though be a select few downhill sections however to keep you going. The terrain will once again be grass/rock 4WD track, again with the possibility of being covered in snow.35km Fifth Aid Station - Water and BlueBird potato chips to be served at this station.As long as you're still going at this point, expect another easier section, with 8km of downhill running along a grass/rock 4WD track. The section finishes with a small run through the Bannockburn Sluicings.43-44ish… km The finish! You will be served with a warm bread roll, soup and pizza, with Emmerson's craft beer also being served on top. Prize giving will be at 5pm
Pre Race RegistrationFriday 5pm-8:30pm: Race pack pick up, gear check and main briefing. Mt Difficulty Winery, Bannockburn, Cromwell. There is plenty of accomodation nearby should you be looking to make a weekend of it.Race Day8am: Race Start - the sun will be rising just as you start your first major climb, so no need for headlights.1pm: Prize Giving - Half Marathon5pm: Prize Giving - MarathonCut Off Times25km – 5hrs44km – 9hrs
Buses from from Queenstown Airport to Cromwell multiple times per day.
Required GearIt will be Winter in one of the coldest parts of New Zealand. Expect crisp, clear and frosty morning. Expect to be cold therefore at the start, with temperatures of falling below freezing. You will liley warm up considerably on the climbs anway, but temperatures could hit 12-16'C later in the morning anyway - it could (though unlikely) alse be windy/rainy/snowy.Small day backpackRain jacket – it can be just a ‘shell’ but it must be seam-sealed waterproofMerino or thermal long sleeve topExtra fleece/mid weight wool top (250 – 300+ gram)Long thermal tights or trousers (compression leggings are not acceptable) Polly prop or merino are the normWarm beanie or Thir Band! (Multifunctional headware)Warm glovesSurvival blanket/bagOwn snacks, gels, energy bars etcWater bottles/bladders – enough to carry 1 liter of waterWhistleGaiters (optional but recommended)Sturdy shoes with good grip on dirt, mud, rock, snow. Something like…(Thermal means the garments have heat retention qualities. ‘Moisture wicking’ by itself will do nothing to keep you warm in this race. Leggings and compression gear that does not have Thermal qualities will not be accepted. You can still wear your compression leggings – but you’ll have to carry a pair of Thermal ones as well – and depending on the day you may well start out with both on. We will be doing rigorous gear checks on the Friday at registration. If you’re not sure if your garment is up to the specifications please go into a good outdoor shop with staff who actually do a lot of hiking or climbing and ask them for advice).
Early bird entry until March 31st ($160 and $110 for Marathon and Half Marathon respectively)Standard entry until 1st June ($190 and $130 for Marathon and Half Marathon respectively)Late entry fee (add $30) kicks in from 1st June.