The annual Rotorua Half Marathon has expanded to become the Rotorua Running Festival, incorporating a 50km Ultramarathon through scenic trails and around the stunning Blue and Green lakes. Sports reporter David Beck spoke to the winner.
Waiuku's Carl Read is a self-proclaimed "sucker for punishment".
"I hurt today but for some reason I enjoy it, hence why I'm covered in tattoos, I don't mind a bit of pain."
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That willingness to go deep into the pain cave and get comfortable being uncomfortable paid off today when he won the inaugural Rotorua Running Festival 50km Ultramarathon.
He finished the race in 3h 30m 46s, ahead of Wellington's Matthew Moloney (3h 44m 36s) and Ohaupo's Anthony Hancy (3h 54m 16s). The fastest woman was Rotorua's Sue Crowley in 4h 17m 6s.
Read even overcame taking a wrong turn and having to back track.
"There was three of us for about 2km and when we went under the bridge I actually went straight ahead, I wasn't thinking, and they all said 'hey, you're going the wrong way'. Once I caught back up to them I basically ran 47km by myself.
"It would've been good to have some company but I don't mind it, I do a lot of training by myself. When you're out on a Saturday or Sunday running four or five hours nobody really wants to come along. I was more than happy to be out on my own and pushing as hard as I could."
Read is riding a wave of success at present having also won the 100km Taupō Ultramarathon last month.
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"It's good to know all the training is paying off, I'm really happy with it. I come from a professional Ironman background, I've done that all over the world, and I've only just in the last couple of years got into ultraman triathlons, which three days of triathlon.
"That includes an 84km run so I know what to do but it's a lot different when you haven't done a swim and bike first. I enjoy it, running around here through all the forest trails was just awesome, the course and the scenery were awesome."
The next big goal for Read is to run the Tarawera Ultramarathon 100 Mile race next year.
"This is only a little warm up compared to that. I'll have a nice easy week next week and recover then I'll just keep building over summer and make sure I stay injury free."
Meanwhile, Albany's Fabian Downs won the Half Marathon in 1h 15m 17s and Rotorua's Michael Voss won the 10km in 31m 48s.
Rotorua Running Festival Results
Men: 1st Carl Read (Waiuku) 3h 30m 46s, 2nd Matthew Moloney (Wellington) 3h 44m 36s, 3rd Anthony Hancy (Ohaupo) 3h 54m 16s.
1st Sue Crowley (Rotorua) 4h 17m 6s, 2nd Anita Chan (Palmerston North) 4h 51m 39s, 3rd Lesley Turner Hall (Grafton) 4h 54m 41s.
Men: 1st Fabian Downs (Albany) 1h 15m 17s, 2nd Ash Watson (Australia) 1h 15m 42s, 3rd David Haunschmidt (Rotorua) 1h 23m 36s.
Women: 1st Kim Cadzow (Mount Maunganui) 1h 36m 5s, 2nd Anna Spencer (Wellington) 1h 38m 50s, 3rd Yoko Miya (Onehunga) 1h 44m 48s.
Men: 1st Michael Voss (Rotorua) 31m 48s, 2nd George Gwynn (Cambridge) 34m 17s, 3rdIain MacDonald (Rotorua) 34m 32s.
Women: 1st Clare Barratt Wood (Rotorua) 44m 10s, 2nd Tracey Futter (Birkenhead) 46m, 3rd Jana Schuepbach (Tauranga) 49m 27s.