The Macpac Motatapu is back for 2017! There’s something for everyone in this iconic event where competitors can once again make their way by foot or bike through some of New Zealand’s most stunning high country terrain – much of which is only accessible to the public once a year, exclusively for this event. It is rapidly becoming known as the bucket-list off-road event for both elite athletes and weekend warriors alike, offering a range of races for everyone, from a 10km run to a Triathlon and Ultra Run. If you’re not convinced, take a look at the events offered and have a read of what competitors from the 2016 Macpac Motatapu had to say about their experiences!
Rachel Grunwell, Wellness magazine columnist and Director of Inspired Heath
Rachel had been longing to experience the Macpac Motatapu for herself, and in 2016 she took on the 15km Miner’s Trail run – which she found to not only be an adventure race, but a piece of art to be admired.
“The highlight was being up high – 906m to be exact, overlooking a postcard-like vista of Arrowtown with great skies above. It’s about the feeling you get up high in the hills: isolated, free, the invigorating fresh air, the jaw-dropping views… Up in the hills here you get as close to heaven as you can while alive.”
“I’d recommend putting the Macpac Motatapu event on your bucket list. This place made my heart beat faster for more reasons than one. And almost anyone who prepares for this event could take it on. The oldest competitor in the Miners Trail event was John Falconer, 83, from Gore, who ran the 42km marathon last year. If a mum runner like me and an inspirational 83 year old can do it, then you should too.”
Rachael Grooby, Adventure Racer and Blogger
“The Macpac Motatapu has long been on my list of races to try, and although the full marathon was tempting I thought I’d dip my toe a bit first and give the Miners Trail a crack. At 15km long and with a respectable 632m of height gain, the trail is breath-taking – in every sense of the word.”
“Starting and finishing in picturesque Arrowtown was a huge bonus, with the event village here buzzing throughout the day as the different disciplines finished their respective races. We were demolishing some delicious whitebait fritters and a coffee about ten minutes after we crossed the line! My Macpac Amp 12 hour was perfect for carrying a little extra water and I found the harness really comfortable throughout the race. I also made use of the new Macpac Hightail Anorak, which at 170g and super packable, made for a great waterproof option to carry.”
Pete Marshall, Competitor in the Macpac Motatapu Xterra Triathlon 2016
The Motatapu Xterra Triathlon had been on Pete’s radar for several years, and in 2016 he finally got the opportunity to experience the race for himself. Even for a seasoned athlete, having competed in several prior Ironman events, the Macpac Motatapu presented challenges and demonstrated the importance of keeping on track with training plans to ensure optimum performance during the event.
“My aim was to get through the swim and then make up as much time as I could on the bike – I started fast on the bike and it didn’t take me long at all to catch the tail end of the mountain bike race. The mountain bike course had 1214 meters of climbing which gradually climbed all the way to 33kms, and the scenic course was absolutely stunning. The bike section went really well, except where I made the mistake of not following my nutrition plan and not eating and drinking what I had planned to – I would soon pay the price for this on my run.”
“The run started pretty much straight uphill. After a brief flat section, we entered a grassy field and started to climb again. At this point I started to really suffer, and knew it was because I hadn’t eaten properly on the bike. The next 4kms all uphill was very bad for me and I was in a very dark place battling with pain and trying to get myself to focus. I took some pain killers and forced myself to eat and drink, knowing that I had to do this to start feeling better again.”
Pete ended up finishing 4th in his category for the Xterra Triathlon, 7 minutes behind 3rd. Although this time was slower than he had planned, this can be attributed to not following the nutrition plan, and suffering physically due to this. Not one to be kept down by the challenges he faced during this event, Pete would still love to try again another year and try to get on the podium – perhaps 2017 will be his year!
Škoda Mountain Bike, 47km
This event can be as challenging or as laid back as you want it to be with pros, amateurs, and newbies all racing the same 47km track. Top NZ Mountain Bikers have set records here, and celebs such as Bill English, Steve Gurney and Hamish Carter have added character, but it’s the everyday recreational rider that is the backbone of this event.
Off-Road Marathon, 42km
Your journey follows a route early Maori used for hunting and gathering, and to move Pounamu (Greenstone). The valley was not discovered by European explorers until around 1862, during the gold rush. You will go through numerous river crossings, hill climbs, and personal challenges, and no doubt be struck with the spectacular views of these southern high country valleys.
Miners Trail, 15km
Be prepared – underfoot you’ll find everything from established farm roads, historic miner’s trails, backcountry single-tracks and river crossings. The course follows a spectacular loop from Arrowtown, ascending the historic Tobin’s Track up onto the Crown Terrace before entering the magnificent Glencoe Station. You’ll pass historic ruins of a miner’s cottage as you climb to the highest point at 906m. The course then descends down towards the valley and onto the new section of the track. Entering New Chum Track, racers will climb up to a ridge overlooking Arrowtown and follow the trail down into the Gully. The next kilometre will see athletes through an equally challenging and breath-taking section up and out of the gully and down onto Macetown Road to join the rest of the Macpac Motatapu athletes for the final river crossings into the finish.
UDC Finance XTerra Triathlon, 2km swim, 47km bike, 15km run
The UDC Finance XTERRA Triathlon is arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding off road triathlons in New Zealand. This triathlon rekindles the pioneer spirit by using the lay of the land to determine the course. Athletes can race as an Individual or in a team of two or three. Whether you are an established triathlete or need a goal to push yourself to the next level, this is for you. Test yourself, prove your grit and get off road!
Ultra Run, 51km
The Macpac Motatapu Ultra traverses the absolutely stunning ridges and valleys of the Harris Mountain Range between Wanaka and Arrowtown. The track covers 51km of exposed and physically challenging back-country terrain across the Motatapu and Soho Stations on an old travellers’ route that is steeped in New Zealand history.
You will ascend a total of 2790 metres over four peaks (the highest point being 1275m), and negotiate rough tussock-covered areas, long, steep saddles and river crossings. It will be an accomplishment you’ll remember and be very proud of for a long time to come.
Macpac is all about getting people into the outdoors, and encouraging them to venture out into their own backyards, through fitness, exploration, and recreation – the Motatapu event is a natural extension of these values, and we could not be more thrilled to be able to bring this to you all in 2017!