The Raglan Karioi Trail run is now in its fourth year. Each year the event has grown as organisers continue introducing fresh challenges.
In the first year, there was the epic 24k (either individual or relay team), the second year saw the introduction of the mini Karioi kids 2k and last year a 10k option was offered to allow more participants. This year sees the inclusion of a walking category for the 10k.
When: Dec 10, 2016
Where: Mt Karioi, Raglan
Options: 24k individual, 24k team relay, 10k individual run, 10k individual walk, 2k mini karioi (kids).
Points of interest: Lots of early interest this year, including running groups and overseas entrants. The last 24k finisher from 2015 was one of the first to register for 2016.
Points of difference: This is a small, not-for-profit event with a big personality and great community/ family feel. There is a welcoming grass-roots atmosphere at the event village with a barbecue and beer included for the (adult) racers, plus Pilot Brewery onsite. Also heaps of cool spot prizes.
What you should know: For the 24km Single and Teams Event, it’s around 1850m ascent… and the same descent! Runners have eight hours to complete the trail so there is no need to run the whole time.
Start and finish lines are at the same point and there are three drink stations along the way. The terrain is everything from farmland, bush, mud and roots to rocks, ladders and chains.
Feedback confirms this is a tough, technical race and you need to be prepared.
Most of the run is on a rough, slippery surface so off-road running shoes are highly recommended. A few parts are too steep to run so get ready for the challenge!
The views are amazing. On a clear day you can see Mt Taranaki from the summit, the Kawhia and Raglan coastlines.
Meet the Lotens; the Raglan family of five who live life to the fullest. Dad, Mike is a GP and mum Joan is a nurse and stay-at-home mum. Kids, Sam (12), George (10) and Scout (8) spend as much time as possible involved in outdoor activities, from various sports and cycling to running and family walks.
“As a family, we ensure family time is based around activities,” says Mike. “Kids who have an active and healthy lifestyle are much more likely to be healthy adults.”
All five of the Lotens have been involved in the challenging Karioi Trail Run since it first began four years ago. Not an event for the faint-hearted, Sam, Joan and George have run in all three events so far and Mike in two.
“It’s our local mountain and its way cool,” says Sam. “It goes over the mountain – twice, and you can run much of the track on your own in a peaceful setting.”
Last year, Big Ted and Little Fred (Mike and Sam’s relay team) won the team event and Joan came first in the women’s 24k in her age category.
As somewhat experts of the trail, they agree that the last ascent is the greatest challenge.
“However, for anyone who hasn’t participated, I’d say don’t be afraid to do give it a go; walk some, run some, you won’t regret it.
“There’s a great sense of achievement in finishing and of course the camaraderie, scenery and strong local vibe make for the best after event ever – with local beer and local sausages, not to mention generous prizes from local sponsors. It’s full of Raglan flavour.”
Fitness Journal asks the Lotens for some tips around the 2016 event:
How best to prepare?
The best training is running/ walking on mountain tracks. Don’t limit yourself to road running. It’s more fun running in the bush and you will be better prepared. Try to do a longer run every weekend and shorter regular weekday runs.
What have you learned from the first event?
This is the best off-road run I have done in NZ – both for the variety of running, the scenery and the atmosphere Francois and his team have created.
What advice would you give to first time participants?
Train on the mountain and expect to be out there for a while longer than expected.
The mind behind the madness
Adrenalin junkie Francois Mazet is first to put his hand up at any opportunity for adventure. The Raglan-based outdoors enthusiast is the mind behind the challenging Raglan Karioi Trail, an annual event which has fast become iconic for those looking to push their physical limits.
Set on Mt Karioi, the track is a true mountain run, taking participants through everything from thick bush and mud, to rocks and steep hills requiring a ladder to scale them.
“I chose to make it a real “mountain run” instead of just a trail run. That means it’s steeper than most of the other events around,” says Francois.
“You have to run to the summit twice if you do the 24km event, so this is a tough run. Some parts are too steep even to run but this is what I like: mountain running. I would describe it as a very technical run, and sometimes it’s so challenging you need to get on your hands and knees to cope with the steepness.”
A keen skier and trail runner, the Raglan Karioi Trail combines Francois’ passion for the Kiwi outdoors with his knowledge in sports events and Masters in sports management.
“Karioi is a mountain that I love running and that’s why I wanted to share this experience. It’s not about the time it takes but about the experience.”
“I want the Raglan Karioi Trail to be recognised as a iconic mountain running event in New Zealand, but I really want to keep it as a Raglan community event, as this is part of what makes it so special.”