Queenstown, New Zealand
23rd August 2020

It's been a month since my last normal blog. This will be a return to normality for my blog although I will include at the end some details about the 100 mile run I am doing in five days time.

New Zealand got its first community coronavirus in 102 days. Whereas many countries (looking at you Britain) seem content with some level of virus cases and deaths, New Zealand are content with zero cases and deaths, and nothing less. So immediately after confirming a dozen virus cases in Auckland we moved back into some form of lock down. In Auckland we moved to level 3 lock down (a more serious lock down involving many workplaces shutting down) and level 2 lock down in the rest of the country (a mild flavour of lock down which involves more social distancing). The cases have continued to come but they have not taken off exponentially. We should hopefully be out of lock down again soon.

Work had been reasonably busy with Queenstown experiencing a small domestic burst in tourism, mainly for ski season. However the Auckland travel restrictions brought in a wave of cancellations at the hotel and we've become quite quiet again. It has been nice to be finishing work early and still being paid a reasonable wage. The wage subsidy scheme will end soon so I should be happy it exists while it does. Hopefully we will be busy again once the lock down in Auckland ends, but I suspect it will be extended beyond the current two weeks.

I've been doing weekly long runs in preparation for my really long run next week. I ran a marathon along the most dangerous road in New Zealand, Skipper's Road. It was a brutal marathon with almost 1500m vertical ascent that happened to be my new personal best marathon - that says a lot about my Southampton marathon performance from a couple of years ago! My next long run was a second attempt of Ben Lomond. I ran up a few weeks prior only to be defeated in my attempt to summit the 1748m mountain by chest high snow. We have had a few weeks of warm weather which has melted most of the alpine snow so it was the perfect time to make another attempt at this climb. I was able to successfully make the summit and return to the base in two hours and 13 minutes. I'm super happy with this time although I am determined to make another attempt at going sub-2 hours.

I've been putting a lot of time into preparing for my 100 mile run and now five days out I am really starting to feel nervous. It's a feeling I am familiar with now, extremely nervous but so so excited and just ready to go as soon as possible. I am ready to be out in nature on my own (for the first 120km) even though while I'm running I know I'll be wishing I was chilling at home. A huge amount of time and money has gone into this run, I'm so ready to go! I watched the ultra running documentary that I watch before every single ultra already (Gary Robbins at the 2016/17 Barkley marathons) so I'm hyped. I'm starting the 100 miles in the afternoon of the 27th August and finishing it in hopefully 24-30 hours.

Huge drops off the side of Skipper's Road
Beautiful view of the river in Skipper's Canyon
Ben Lomond summit view
Queenstown from the Ben Lomond summit
A lovely view of Lake Wakatipu from the Arawata track