Today we have another winner's insight to race day at the Hoka One One Kinloch Offroad Challenge 2016. This time, from the Half Marathon distance winner Hannah Lawrence. Hannah, wearing the #916 bib was the first female over the line in with an awesome finishing time of 1:39:54.
The Hoka One One Kinloch Offroad Challenge provides all entrants with a rewarding day out on the trails in a beautiful part of New Zealand. Many enter this event for the stunning scenery and atmosphere alone, but some, like HOKA ONE ONE NZ athlete Hannah Lawrence enter to WIN. Check out her take on this fantastic Run Taupo event!
"The Hoka One One Kinloch Off Road Half Marathon was a fantastic event to be a part of. I haven't been to Kinloch before and I although I come from a running background prior to triathlon, I haven't done a lot of trail racing, so it was awesome getting on the trails in a race environment.
The race started on the road, but within 300m we were straight into the trails and the climb. I knew from the course map that we were going up, then doing a loop, then coming back down to the road and the finish. How far up I wasn't sure, but by looking at the size of the cliffs/hills I figured it was going to be a fair climb... And it was!
I got out quick and made sure I was near the front end of the field coming into the trails so I wouldn't be stuck in traffic. I then just settled in for a good solid block of climbing. Being a long course triathlete I actually prefer the hills because I prefer the strength aspect of a race rather then the speed. My coach wanted me to push the hills so I did but I also didn't know how long we were climbing for so held a bit in reserve.
As I hit the turn off for the headland I was by myself, so I started to push the pace. It was awesome being amongst the thick native bush and the amazing views that popped up around a few corners, just to remind me of how high up I was!
I raced in the new Hoka One One Speed Instincts. I got them the Thursday before the race so was only able to do a short jog in them on the Friday. I found them quite a bit more ridged then my Clifton’s on first try, but once I was up in the trails racing the shoes felt awesome! They were super light and responsive so I could get a good leg turn over going in them. They also provided a really good feel of the trail surface. The grip on them was fantastic, they don't look super rugged but they had great traction in the mud so I had the confidence to run through the mud and looser dirt/gravel parts of the trail and around the many downhill switch backs without slowing down or been worried about loosing my footing. The shoes felt light, nimble and flexible, and had just enough cushioning to keep the feet happy!
So with the stunning native bush, the Tuis singing, and the Speed Instincts I was very much in my happy racing place!!
Back To The Race
Once up and over the headland loop it was a very long but fun descent back down the trail and then the last fast km to the finish. My legs felt pretty rough coming off the trail onto the road again, but that would have had a lot to do with the head wind we hit! The last little bridge over the marina was a full on leg and lung burner but it helped being able to see the finish line up ahead. I managed to come in first female, so I was super stoked!
I would definitely come back to do it again next year and I can't wait for my next trail race and adventure in my Speed Instincts! But I may just have to bring my training buddy Hollie (the Kelpie) next time!!"
- Hannah Lawrence
See you all there next year!