One of the most grueling yet achievable mountain races of the lower North Island is held each year in January in the mighty Tararua ranges. The race in question is the Jumbo-Holdsworth Trail Race, formally known as the Holdsworth-Jumbo Trail race for so many years. These days, however, you can legitimately call it either of those, as you can actually choose the direction of the circuit you’d prefer to run. We had a chat with Andrew Thompson who is the new race director on why this is an iconic event for the serious mountain trail runners bucket list. Read about this iconic event in our latest story.
There is a track that almost every Wellington trail runner knows jokes about and dreads. It’s called the Tip Track. It goes up for about 3.5 kilometers on an unrelenting gradient from Owhiro Bay up to the Hawkins Hill Radar Dome. The area is part of Te Kopahou reserve. The Tip Track gets its name from Wellington’s southern landfill site as the track passes the area. Regardless of where the wind is blowing, there is no escaping the stench of the ‘Tip’. So why on earth would anyone want to traverse this track up and down six times? We are about to find out from the founder of the Tip Track Marathon, local trail running connoisseur Brad Coleman.
We had a chat with Chris Martin who is the main man behind Big Sunday Runs (BSR) based in Wellington. BSR brings together a tough breed of trail/mountain running enthusiasts who prefer the rugged off the beaten track mountain missions. They have a soft spot for the Tararua Mountain range in the North Island close to Wellington. Here’s their story.
The Kea Track Club had its genesis in October 21, 2015 – almost by accident, you could say. Steve Plowman, who had been coaching runners for 37 years, had all but decided to retire from coaching when he was approached by three runners whose coach had left town and retired. The rest, as the saying goes, is history. We talked to Steve Plowman to get an insider’s view of the Kea Track Club and what makes it unique.
Here’s another great summer day plan, this time from Dena. The Jumbo-Holdsworth Circuit is one of the most popular routes in te Tararua Ranges, and for a good reason. The 24 km loop takes you over a great variety of terrain and scenery, and is very doable as a day trip from Wellington. You’ll experience a beautiful flowing trail along a lush river valley; a technical, steep ascent (or descent, depending which way you decide to tackle the loop); some true alpine ridge-running with spectacular views; and a long, fast, fun descent down the very runnable Gentle Annie track. Make sure to pick a nice day to thoroughly enjoy your adventure!