By PHILIP CHANDLER
Ace Queenstown ultrarunner Brooke Thomas says she received a ‘‘lovely’’ message from the Aussie whose length-of-New Zealand women’s record she’s just smashed.
The 32-year-old nurse, who finished in Bluff last Friday night, completed the 3000km Te Araroa Trail, from Cape Reinga, in 57 days 12 minutes, compared with Lucy Clark’s 66 days, 7 hours, last summer.
Thomas: ‘‘[Clark] messaged me to say, ‘well done, I’m happy to pass [my record] on to you’.
‘‘I was so impressed because it was such good sportsmanship, I thought that was lovely.’’
Thomas averaged 45km a day in the North Island and 60km in the South Island, but last Friday, her longest day, she ran 100km.
‘‘I was meant to do, like, 70km, then the last 30km on Saturday.
‘‘But that just seemed way too boring.’’
She says she had ‘‘some pretty tough days’’ early on.
‘‘I definitely thought, ‘oh my god, can I really pull this off for another 50-odd days, or whatever?’’’
She even took two days off after a ‘‘wee visit to a hospital’’ in Te Kuiti.
Her key, however, was just focusing on enjoying the run.
‘‘I knew I was so lucky to be there with my mum and dad supporting me, and it was time off work.
‘‘I was like, ‘you’ve just got to make the most of it’.’’
Speaking early this week just before going for a small run — ‘‘it’s strange sitting still for long’’ — Thomas says she’d like another challenge, ‘‘but I just don’t know what, yet’’.
‘‘I definitely know I won’t have my family [next time].
‘‘They were like, ‘no way are we doing it again’.’’
Her coach, local ultrarunner Adam Keen, believes her record will be hard to beat.
‘‘To have everything line up and work out, in terms of having someone that’s fit and strong, having the support crew for over 50-odd days, having everything go right in terms of the weather and all that sort of stuff, it’s going to be pretty hard.’’
That sort of challenge, he says, is ‘‘partly mental, partly physical, and then it’s partly about recovery and almost being able to eat like a machine, ‘cos you’re just burning that many calories’’.
In fact, on Saturday morning after completing the feat, she downed three different breakfasts at Invercargill’s The Bach Cafe.
‘‘What most people don’t know is there’s about 70,000 metres of vert — I think it’s about nine Everests,’’ Keen says.
He thinks a key was Thomas’ ‘‘good mindset’’.
Having been fitted with a pacemaker about 10 years ago due to a heart condition, she also fundraised for HeartKids, making more than $24,000 for the charity.
‘‘I think she was thinking of the kids that find out they’ve got a heart condition.
‘‘I think that sort of thing probably took her mind off how difficult it was.’’