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The Big O Trail Run - O for Awesome!

Show Profile  runningbeast Posted: 9 May 2011, 10:34 AM  
The Big O Trail Run (28th May) is a stunningly scenic anti-clockwise loop around Lake Okataina, the 35km event follows a mix of well established bush walking tracks, private farm tracks and an untracked native bush section (bush-crash!). Many come away agreeing with the O for awesome.

A 19km version of the course starts at the Rotorua end of the lake and takes in the same course to the finish as the second half of the 35km event, along the Eastern Okataina Walkway.

The 35km course starts at 9am from the event centre and heads along the beautiful bush tracks of the Western Okataina Walkway track. Theres quite a bit of climb in this first section with the highest point in the race at over 700m before the 5km mark.

The 19km event starts at 10am from the end of the Western Okataina Walkway track. From here participants from both events weave through private farmland over some undulating terrain with views the whole way of Mt Tararewa and the majestic Lake Tarawera below.

At the edge of the farmland you end up just 400 metres short of the Eastern Okataina Walkway. Just a bunch of thick bush separates you from the well maintained track&.so there's no choice.....through the bush you go! Participants follow a clearly marked continuous tape through the bush. No track is cleared along the tape so you make your own way, ducking under branches and stepping over logs. Once you've made it through to the other end, you're greeted with a bush track down to the Eastern tip of Lake Okataina.

From here participants start their way back along the lake edge towards the finish, taking participants through an amazing array of terrain types from rocky open native bush to darker, mossy beech forest with glimpses of the lake all the way. Youd think the event would end at the western tip of the lake, but no, that wouldnt be a challenge! Instead participants have a good 1km grunty 100m vertical climb to the finish back at the Education camp. The aid station at the bottom of the hill has Leppin, Coke, and lollies and is well frequented!

Then when you finish, you can enjoy your complimentary post-race meal in nice surroundings to recover.

The fastest time to date for the 35km course is 2 hours 43 - record currently held by Kerry Suter (the women's record is 3 hours 10 by Annika Smail). The fastest time to date for the 19km course is 1 hour 39 - record currently held by Veteran Rick Lowe (the women's record is 1 hour 54 held by junior Samantha Blanch).

This is a really social event with camping or bunk beds available at the event centre (Okataina Outdoor Education Camp) on both Friday night before the event and Saturday night.

Check out the website for more information and to enter on-line

Show Profile  runningbeast Posted: 9 May 2011, 10:35 AM  
Just some replies to our Big O Trail Run review competition from other forums - couple more days then we'll draw the winner of the free entry and accommodation! A reminder we're looking for the best review on the event from those that have done it before! Just reply to this post. The event is on the 28th May!

I stood on the start line of The Big O last year a wee bit nervous as it was only 6 weeks since running my first ultra and was still felling abit lethargic.But running 35k around lake Okataina was to good an opportunity to resist.
I started off nice and steady as people flew past me until we got to the 5k climb out of Okataina,then i steadily chugged away up the hill passing people all the time and no one passed me. At the top i stopped for a wee in the bushes and still no one came up from behind me,awesome.From the top of the hill its a sweet run down to Millers RD and the start of the 19k run,i was in my own little world on this stretch as i saw no one except from the marshall.The course from Millers Rd to the Eastern Okataina was new ground for me so it kept my mind off my quickly tirering legs.I still managed to pass a few others and caught up to the 19k stragglers in the bush bash section just before hitting the track again.From here its a sweet 10k single track run to the Okataina carpark,then a brutal 3k climb to the finish.( i walked alot of this 3k).I crossed the finish in 3h 57 to get 16th overall and 6th in my division so i was rapt.If my legs were tired before they were rooted now.A great event, run in a spectacular part of the country.

I wasnt planning on entering this year but who knows now.

The Big 'O' has to be one of my favourite off-road running races.

OK, so I'm a wee bit biased being a 'local', but seriously, if you are looking for an awesome adventure run in a beautiful part of NZ, a new challenge after the Rotorua Marathon or just an excuse to come play in Rotorua  then I really recommend this event. It's a fantastic course with a real mix of trails and views and the guys at Lactic Turkey always know how to put on a sweet event.

I did the 35km race last year in perfect conditions - think blue sky winter's day and mint under foot conditions. This course goes all the way around Lake Okataina and is the only chance you get all year to run the full loop. A highlight would have to be the middle section through the private farm overlooking Mount Tarawera and the off-track DOC bush section back through to the Eastern Okataina track. The race is a good challenge and there's an easier 19km option too if you're not quite up to the 35km, or want to walk around.

See you there!

Chris M
From memory,I think I'm getting slower but I'm pretty sure I'm getting older. I still can't help coming back to try to do a faster time. It's a great course and a once a year opportunity. Also, it's a great wind down after the Rotorua Marathon because it goes anti clockwise giving your right ITB a rest.
Starting with a short uphill, finishing with a short uphill, and with only down hill in between. What more could you want? How about - Soft under foot, a fantastic variety of terrain, great veiws and with two courses depending on your degree of sanity. Want more? There's a daytime eyes open untracked bush burma trail half way through. For those of you who just can't get enough downhill, turn right after the burma trail to go and have a quick look at lake Tarawera. That's an optional out an back not included in the course. To break up all that great down hill there are some other little uphill jems you'll rave about and one piece of flat. It's a great course and a once a year opportunity. Did I say that already? You've just gotta do it.
To top it all off, there are normally sausages and running bling tents from the sponsors at the finish. Mmmm "I smell sausages". Grin
Just thinking about it makes me want to go for a run.
See you all there.




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