Crozier and Mayne beat 'brutally beautiful' 323km marathon
STARTING at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain, two Sunshine Coast ultra runners have overcome one of the most gruelling running races on the planet.
Covering 323 exhausting kilometres in the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, Mount Coolum's Leigh Crozier and Kate Mayne of Pomona finished on Saturday after six intense days.
They battled below zero temperatures and camping with minimal provisions and food.
Crozier finished sixth supported female with a total time of 41hr 16min (stage 1 - 5hr 50min; stage 2 - 6hr 8min; stage 3 - 12hr 36min; stage 4 - 6hr 43min; stage 5 - 6h 57min; stage 6 - 3hr 1min), a brilliant result for the local trail runner's first attempt at multi stage racing.
Mayne was 22nd supported female, finishing in 61hr 15min (6hr 51min; 8hr 19min; 20hr 48min; 8hr 33min; 11hr 30min; 3hr 44min).
The two members of Noosa Ultra Trail Runners (NUTRs) joined fellow competitors who started at Mount Cook and journeyed to to the historic town of Oamaru, perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, on the way passing pristine lakes, valleys, rivers and covering diverse terrain.
"None of it seemed real until I hit the finish line,” Mayne said.
"The race can only be described as brutally beautiful with scenery spanning vast snow capped mountains, blue glacier lakes and endless farmlands.”
Former Sunshine Coast athlete Tim Franklin also competed, and was the second unsupported athlete across the line in 36hr 4min. Athletes supported have food and bedding will be carried to each stage by organisers, while those unsupported carry all their own food, sleeping mat, sleeping bag all compulsory items.
"So many gutsy people who pushed through some very tough and brutal days....so inspiring to see them hang in there and front up the next morning to do it all again,” Crozier said.
"It's not just backing up the runs day after day, it's the sleep deprivation, food rations and weather elements all throw in that add to the toughness.”
The women's winner was Katy Anderson who finished in 35 hours, while Keith Burrows won the men's event in 30hr 44min.