But will the deer be impressed?

00:01, Jun 25 2014
Jo McKenzie-McLean
Reporter Jo McKenzie-McLean completing the first 5km of the 10km Rustic Run near Cromwell.

Jo McKenzie-McLean is a woman on a mission – lose  weight, get fit, compete in the Northburn Station 50km Mountain Run in March. She reports on her progress.

I have been clambering up a lot of craggy Central Otago hill country the past couple of weeks and a thought that often has passed through my head is that I'm glad ''the roar'' is over.

I have not only run 5km through fog across hilly farmland, but also most recently the 10km Rustic Run at the Goldfields Mining Centre near Cromwell.

I am still early on in this exercise journey and was feeling quite anxious as I sorted through ''appropriate'' racing gear for the run.

I fossicked through my drawers – I was told to prepare for freezing temperatures – and grabbed my three-quarter stretch pants, a pair of woollen work socks (because all my gym socks are cotton and holey), a merino top, headband and my fancy new neck scarf thing that lots of endurance athletes apparently wear.

Somehow it did not quite work with my outfit.


Anyway, throwing a banana in at the last minute, I farewell my two chicken-poxy children cosied up by the fire and get a good luck from hubby as I run out the door.

Six weeks ago, I would never have been getting up early to head out of town for a 10km race up some rocky Central Otago hill.

On arrival at the Goldfields Mining Centre, I was pleased to see I did not have to be worried about not looking the part. There was a  woman  dressed up as an Indian and teenagers wearing Rastafarian dreads.  I fitted right in.

In a typical fluster, and having packed my gear with so much consideration, I left half of it jammed in my pocket as I ripped my jacket off, threw it at my mum and took off.

I am a vocal person – I often snort when I laugh, I sigh heavily when I breathe  and when I exercise I grunt, groan and occasionally swear. I found myself apologising to people running past me for the strange animal-like noises bursting from me as I lugged myself up a steep hill. 

If there were hunters around, they would think they were on the tail of a mighty fine stag.

I was amazed at people's reactions. ''Not far to go,'' some said. ''Good on you – nearly there,''  others shouted out.

One girl running in the opposite direction even held her hand out to me for a high-five.

As I ran exhausted to the finish line to the sound of a cow bell clanging me in, cheers erupted from my parents, aunt and a few friends.

''I'm so proud of you,'' Mum gushed.

It was slightly over the top – particularly when there were people  doing half and full marathons, climbing 30-degree hills on hand and knee – but I'll take it.

The Southland Times