Our Woodford heads for Aussie hills

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Queenstown long-distance runner Tracey Woodford tackles her first offshore ultramarathon in Australia’s Blue Mountains this Saturday. 

Woodford, 36, is competing in The North Face 100 in New South Wales. 

It’s her second 100km race – her first was a central North Island event a few years ago and she’s also competed in the past two 160km North­burn runs near Cromwell. 

Woodford hopes to break 20 hours on Saturday to qualify for a bronze belt buckle. 

“It’s going to be gnarly – about a quarter of the runners drop out but I’m pretty confident that I’ll finish. 

“I haven’t had a DNF [‘did not finish’] and mentally I’m very strong.” 

Woodford’s often asked how she can run for so long. 

“As long as you don’t let your mind think, ‘Oh, geez, I’ve got 18 hours out here, or 35’, you just take it as it comes,” she says. 

“The scenery and the other people in the race take your mind off actually how long you’ve got out there, so you just treat it as an adventure.” 

Woodford – who only took up running four years ago – says preparation is import­ant to make sure she has enough nutrition, hydration and, if the weather’s cold, protection. 

Other locals competing this Saturday are Morgan Garandel, 36, and Bernard Robinson, 40. 

Garandel finished fourth in the first North Face 100 in 2008, in 11hr 31min, and Robinson finished seventh in this year’s Coast to Coast one-dayer.