WUU2K - Wellington Urban Ultra Marathon
The WUU2K 2019 from a Race directors perspective
The WUU2K for me begins when entries open at the end of January. I believe that a 6 month window for entering an event is perfect, as it gives me time to assess, and plan for the event, along with giving runners the time to train and prepare. The WUU2K is in its 4th year for 2019, and is always a feat to plan for and organise. Once race weekend hits, a lot of the hard work has already been done and myself and the core team just look forward to letting the event run its course.
The WUU2K is all about community. That’s what I’ve always loved about it, and that’s what everyone who partakes in it loves about it. It’s an event created by trail runners, for trail runners, and the love of the trails is why it was created. Both the 62km as well as the 43km distances are not an easy task with around 2000m of climbing in the 43km event, and close to 3000m in the 62km event. Those who enter know what they are getting into. I make this all very clear at the start, and the blogs and feedback on social media all state how much of a challenging course it is. This is also why people come back for more and want to run the event. They want to challenge themselves whilst enjoying the stunning atmosphere, and views that the event provides.
We had some fast times this year with Sam Hansby winning the 62km category in a time of 6:11:18, while in the women’s category was Fiona Love at 6:59:18. In the 43km category we had Dani Nicolson back again from 2018 to win in a time of 4:19:51, along with Walter Somerville in the men’s event finishing in 3:51:45 for a new course record! The relay teams saw our local Wellington Scottish Athletics club of Mel Aitken and Stephen Day finishing in a time of 5:36:37. Their club will be back next year to see if they can hold onto their position in the local Wellington athletics club WUU2K competition.
This year we had some internationals over, as we do every year, and it gives the event a really nice glow having these folk make the effort to come over for it. We had a Nepalese athletics team over this year - a great team who enjoyed their time out there. Along with them there were others who travelled from near and far to come along for this year’s race. For me, it’s just nice to know that the event I created is gaining international appeal.
We also have a lot of runners who do the WUU2K as part of fundraising, or to support a cause. This year we had a team running for the neurological society, as well as runners on their own personal journeys. Mental Health awareness is always there for an endurance event such as the WUU, as I believe it goes hand in hand with our will to overcome obstacles in life. The WUU is a bloody tough run, both mentally and physically and to finish a run like this is a massive feat. A challenge for the mind as well as the body.
It was an extremely busy year this year for me. Last year was no exception as we had a death in the family at the start of the year, and my partner Megan and I had to deal with this along with putting on a brave face, and doing my best to organise the event. Financially I was almost broke also as we had to travel quite a bit for this reason, and it was a real struggle to make it to race day. Somehow we pulled it off though, and got to the other side. This year has been a little better, but the amount of time I have had to put in to the event this year has almost doubled from last year. We had around 170 withdrawals this year, and I take care of all of the admin myself. As you can imagine this takes time. On top of this I have started a small food business called https://www.16thirty9.co.nz/, which admittedly I have not really had the time to put in fully just yet, although this will come.
Putting on events like this is a love affair. I personally don’t do it for the money, although in saying that, I would love to get it to the stage where I am solely working on these events and can make a living out of it. I mean why not? It’s hard work! At this stage the event breaks even with a little left over that generally goes towards the next event. This year it will be the WAI running festival, and I’m hoping for numbers so this event covers itself. It’s always a risk I know, but as is well known you don’t know until you try, and I for one like to give things a go!
Every year with the WUU2K the build up takes time, but to see all of the trail running community coming together to support it, and enjoy the event in every capacity really makes it all worth it. From our many volunteers, to the runners who come along I really feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful whanau. We couldn’t do it all without you that all make the event so special.
I have now created a new event for January 2020 called the https://www.wairunfest.co.nz/, which will include a few main events over the space of the 5th - 11th January. The main event will be the WAI2K which will take runners on an 80 km or 100 km mixed-terrain trail adventure around the Wairarapa hills. The ‘Pay-Per-K’ will be a fun family oriented event for Greytown following along with the WUU2K’s love of dressing up in costumes. The Ian Priest Hutt Valley Ultra organised by the Aurora Harriers will finish the week off.
I am personally very excited, and can’t wait for the Wai run fest, as I believe that it’s going to grow to be something major for the greater Wellington region. We hope to see you all there at the WAI running festival in January!
You can view more on the WUU2K facebook page, or the WAI running festival facebook page for updates around this inaugural event.