LA ULTRA, LA FINISHED

No one died. Six starters, six finishers. The best anticlimax I’ve ever had, really. Nevertheless, plenty of drama unfolded out there, kilometre by dusty, stinking hot, polluted and sometime snowballed kilometre. As with any good ultra worth its weight in blister blood, there was pain, throwing up, passing out, contentious heat of the moment behavior, and, of course, heroics. And that was just by the race organisers and crews before the starter’s gun had sounded. What the actual athletes went…

LA ULTRA – THE HIGH – PRELUDE 2

“I have about a three and a half-litre lung capacity,” Lisa rasps at me as we plod up the rutted road toward Tanglangla, the ‘World’s Second Highest Motorable Pass’ at 5380m. “My Dad, who’s a lifelong smoker, and most other normal people have a lung capacity of five or more. I shouldn’t be here.” Rasp, rasp, rasp. None of us should be here. Not the seven runners who have signed on to tackle the 222km La Ultra The High, nor…

LA ULTRA – THE PRELUDE

Lisa Tamati is scared. She’s said it to me many times. Today, after going to the highest pass competitors in La Ultra will have to run over next week, I’m scared. On paper, on the web, when you say it: 222km over two passes around 5500m – there’s just no way to compute what seven runners and their crews are about to go through come 11-13 August. But I tasted the blind vanity of this mission today and I know…

LA ULTRA – THE HIGH/THE KIWI CONNECTION

She’s got a reputation for taking on ‘more than you can chew’ runs. But has Lisa Tamati finally stuffed her metaphorical mouth so much with her latest project that she might not be able to breathe let alone swallow? Of course that’d be the altitude causing asphyxiation: from 3500m to 5500m. And anywhere in between – anyone who has ever zoomed up to altitude will know it knocks the stuffing out of you. La Ultra The high is the Kiwi…

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