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April 2014


Sarah Douglas Running Blog

New Zealand Mountain Running Champion. WOW...pinch me please...OUCH!...okay...it’s real! Seems like a dream and hard to believe that the sentence refers to yours truely. A sentence that was years in the making. 4 years truth be told. It was 4 years ago when I made that goal, dropped that pin, drew that line. 4 years ago that I moved to Queenstown and inspired by the mountains, rediscovered my love of running. I then set myself the rather lofty goal of becoming (drum roll please) New Zealand Mountain Running Champion. 




My first attempt was in Wellington a year later. In 2011, on an undulating course (each year the course alternates between being undulating and straight uphill), I had my eyes opened! Bugger. Looking back I did not know the extent of what would be required, I was not properly prepared, my training had lacked focus, and I did not have enough hill strength in my legs. I know what your thinking....I lacked hill strength? While surrounded by mountains in a runners paradise? Shame on me. I vowed to never stand on a start line so underprepared again. I had a goal...a dream.




On hearing that 2014 was a straight uphill course on Mt. Campbell in Motueka, Nelson, I added the lofty goal to my race schedule this year. I hoped my training for the Motatapu and Routeburn was not too different to the strengths I needed for this race. Aside from the distance, everything else is pretty much the same, hills hills, hillls, a touch of speed, hills, hills and more hills (did I mention hills?) I figured the extra endurance I had built up couldn’t hurt either. My training started in October and I can honestly say I have put myself through hell to get to a point where hills, or should I say mountains, feel like home! My recovery runs of 60 mins include at least 800m of ascent and my long runs of 3.5+ hours include 3000m+ of ascent. I know many people might disagree that I should do hills every single day...but this training works for me. For those of you that run for fun these numbers may scare you!! I’ve made my training my routine, I enjoy it (most of the time)! A special thanks must go to someone I have gotten to know well on my runs...Eminem! (great on the Ipod!)




Did you know that Queenstown is isolated? Great for training...paradise remember! But Motueka??!! Not easy to get to. It reminded me how much others sacrifice for me to achieve my goals. I flew to Christchurch where my Dad took the day off work to drive me to Motueka for the race the next day. My wee sister Helen gave up her weekend to join us as official team cheer leader, photographer and course analyser (and kareoke companion while on the road). Dad and Helen actually hiked the course a couple of hours before the race started to make sure they were at the top to see me finish!!! Enroute they were able to suss out the course and I found Helen’s snapchats along the way very beneficial (she took her course analyser position very seriously!) I apologise now for the other snapchats friends and family received on the way...the ones that included video...and audio...of us singing...to ABBA...seriously though...I owe my win to my family, my Mum, my Dad, my sister Helen and my husband. All of them have given up so many hours of their time and money to support me, without ever questioning or doubting me. Only ever offering encouragement, even when things are going wrong! Pulling me up when I felt down. It felt really good to know all my hard work had paid off and I had not started the race underprepared...with bed hair...and knickers outside my tights. Thanks guys!!

 Sarah's support crew - father and sister



Unfortunately an underlying issue has been getting progressively worse over the last few months. That dreaded word...(dramatic pause)...injury. It is not any injury that prevents me from running, but it is not pleasant, and ironically gets worse the more uphill I run. Lets be honest...its downright bloomin horrible and brings me to tears. As I prepare to race the Routeburn this weekend, again I find myself relying on others to make sacrifices for me to achieve my goals. I have to give a big thank you to Gareth at Southern Sports Podiatry for getting me back on my feet (quite literally). There are not many people who will offer to work on a public holiday to make sure a patient can get the treatment they need!! 

 Southern Sports Podiatry



My words of wisdom for this blog are that good things really do take time. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach your goals the first time around. Figure out what you did wrong and what you can improve upon...then just work on those. Just take baby steps with your training, small increments! Slowly step it up and before you know it...



Please...DON’T...GIVE...UP... Those goals that you work the hardest for and wait the longest to achieve, really are the sweetest thing. I promise! xxx

Winner Sarah and 2nd Place runner sally Gibbs

Sarah Douglas Runner

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