Podge smells blood

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A battle-hardened Queenstown running veteran isn’t letting injury stop him tackling the gruelling Routeburn Classic. 

Queenstown Primary teacher Mark Douglas, 60, was choppered off the Motatapu race seven weeks ago after rolling his ankle. 

It was the first time he has failed to finish a race – and he’s got no intention of repeating the performance in the 32km mountain run this Saturday, despite still nursing a swollen ankle. 

“I’ve never pulled out of a race in my life,” Douglas says, adding: “I’ve had some pretty slow times over the years but I’ve never pulled.” 

The injury could give his workmate and long-running rival Stuart ‘Podge’ Cochrane, 64, a chance to even up a personal race tally. 

Douglas has powered through seven Classics compared to Podge’s six races. Douglas has been quickest three times, Podge twice and there’s been one draw. 

Will Podge be making the most of his old foe’s weakness this year?: “Absolutely!” 

“Well, he maintains it was me that tripped him up and wrecked his ankle anyway,” Podge says. 

“All joking aside, it’s just a weekend out in the beautiful scenery – and the fact that I whip Mark’s arse every time we go out there is beside the point.”