Matty Abel Northburn 100Km Race Report

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Matty Abel Northburn 100Km Race Report

Abel, Matty #101
“15 weeks ago I entered The Northburn 100km Ultra Mountain Race. 5 weeks later I saw a video on facebook about a guy called Joe Bonington from Joe’s Garage Gym in Balgowlah and what he was doing with endurance sports. After an initial meet with Joe, I was assured they could help me with my goals. Joe then placed me in the hands of his Strength Coach Si Bennett.
After 10 full weeks of general and specific training I found myself on the start line feeling ready to rumble. Despite the confidence I still had my doubts as im sure any athlete goes through before an event. Had I training enough? Am I recovering properly? Is my nutrition right?
I flew into NZ a few days early to relax and enjoyed time in Queenstown staying with ActiveQT race director Adrian & Mountain Marathon winner Martin Cox, i couldn’t of been in a better atmosphere. We spent Thursday & Friday doing promotions, filming, coffee meetings & running Queenstown’s lake and even better Moke Lake which was something i never had experienced.

Friday I arrived at the race, checked and weighed in, did my gear check and we had our race debrief. I had already adjusted to New Zealand time so getting up at 4:15am (2:15am Syd time) wasn’t to bad for me. We drove into the race and I was feeling very relaxed going over all the training and my race prep I had done, (i had the race broken into four – been 20km, 30km, 30km, 20km)  I did my warm up, spoke to a few runners I knew and next minute we were off.

Matty Abel Northburn

Matty at the start

First we had a 5km loop, which still being dark i took with extreme caution, knowing my ankle was still weak. 3 runners took off, not knowing who, I stayed content and stuck to my race plan. Next to me was another 100km runner and he said it was his first. In my head I knew he was going too fast and he would later drop. 3km later he did. Around 7km in we hit the HILL! From 7km-19km it was 90% up hill continuously. This was my strength. I was running with a 50km runner and dropped him a few kms later. Around 16km I ran into Martin Cox, Grant Guise & Gary Melhuish who had missed a turn. They were the only three in front of me and thank god they were in the 50km race. I stuck with them till  the 24km mark where I refuelled, put on my thermals (as temps were around 4 degrees) and let them run off as i was running my race. The next 13km was down hill and it hurt I took my time trying not to do anything silly. At the 40km mark I caught and passed Grant & Gary while Martin was in eye sight. The next 10kms was a mind battle thinking “have i gone out to hard” i’ve just past 2 elite athletes and they are only doing 50km. I came into 50km check point with cramps so I took my time tried to hydrate as much as possible. I re-stocked my bag and set up my music for the next 50km, talked a bit more as the Marshall’s weren’t expecting anyone yet then Lisa Tamati kicked me out and said “Get running”.

Matty Abel for Joe's Garage Gym, Northburn

Matty out in the lead

The next 50km is still a blur to me we had a 16km climb which I walked a lot with cramps in every muscle from legs to arms. I got to the check point TW re hydrated and took of on the “LOOP OF DESPAIR”: 13km down and back up out. I was in front of the marshall’s so I didn’t see anyone I was having an emotional battle, have I gone the right way? am I lost? have I screwed up my race ? I was close to destruction. Tom the land owner went out on a search for me as no one knew where I was. He shortly found me with around 1km left of the loop. I cruised the next 8km, chatted to the photographer on course and just shuffled as there was an insane head wind from what I remember hearing around 110km winds. I hit the last checkpoint and had 15km of down hill to the finish “GREAT”!
I felt like i’d done 200+ squats and then 2 days later had to walk down stairs (i know you may of had this feeling before) Regardless of me running slow or fast it still hurt  so I just run fast.
Matty Abel for Joe's Garage Gym, Northburn 2013 I got to a point where i could see the finish but had no idea how far it was. i got to a point where i saw the finish was about 800m away i looked at my watch and it was 11hrs58mins OMG i can go under 12hrs i knew in training off memory it took me around 1min to do 400m i just went all for it down hill every pain i had went i kept looking at my watch and saw the crowd running to the finish i was flying and on top of the world. Final time 11hrs59mins40sec, 2hrs20secs faster than the record set in 2011 i was over the moon still today its still very surreal i know i could of gone a lot harder and got a few more things under control but overall its a dream come true and has set me up perfectly for 2013 and beyond.Matty Abel for Joe's Garage Gym, Northburn 2013
I just want to say a massive Thank You to everyone who was involved in the Northburn100 these events could not be put on without you also I want to say Thank You to my sponsors BarefootInc who supply me with Inov8 shoes and UltraAspire Bags, BodyScience who do my race compression’s and nutrition, OnTheGo Racing, Joe’s Garage who trained me for the event and finally all my friends and family who support me in every step i take while chasing my dreams.
My training at Joes Garage with Si Bennett came together perfectly during my training I got a few messages of people saying I was doing it all wrong but I had 100% faith in Joe & Si’s professionalism & knowledge & they went well above expectation which proved them wrong on race day & there is no way I could of trained to the intensity Si trained me. A massive thank you to the team at Joes Garage Gymnasium.
Looking forward to future races in 2013. Please check out my twitter @mattyabel or my facebook Matty Abel Ultra Trail Runner for updates.
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