Just me, nature and 100 gruelling miles

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Queenstown ultra-marathoner Tracey Woodford (right) is putting no pressure on herself to defend her Northburn 100-mile title this weekend. 

Woodford, 36, was first woman home in the inaugural 100 mile (160km) off-road mountain run at Northburn Station, Cromwell, last year, in 35hr 20min 27sec. 

“I am by no means competitive against others, so I don’t want the pressure of defending my title, as the race organisers would like to put it. 

“My only goal is to finish with a smile on my face and to have an enjoyable adventure with other like-minded nutters whilst testing my limits mentally and physically,” she says. 

Woodford couldn’t bear running four years ago but has now completed 11 marathons and seven ultra-marathons. 

“I relish being in the outdoors all weekend, just me and other competitors in nature,” she says. 

“And that’s why I love ultra-running.” 

Woodford is also using Northburn as a training weekend for her first international race in May – a 100km run in Australia’s Blue Mountains. 

Other Queeenstowners tackling the 100-miler are Paul Faulkner and Tony Emanuel.