A top Queenstown runner endured excruciating pain to win a recent mountain run in Fiordland.
Sarah Douglas won the women’s 27km Luxmore Grunt – companion race to the longer Kepler Challenge – despite the recurrence of a painful nerve tumour in her feet.
Even worse, the 32-year-old, who represented New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria this year, ran after rupturing the tendon under the third toe of her left foot during a training run a month earlier.
Douglas says she’s never felt more pain in a race than during the Luxmore – “there were definitely moments when I didn’t think I could finish”.
“I don’t know whether I should have run or not.
“It’s probably not something I would recommend somebody does, so yes, you might question why on earth I did it.
“But I put in a lot of training and Luxmore was one of my goals of the year – I just wanted to have one last race.”
Douglas took 17 months off running due to her nerve tumour problems, after winning the 2014 NZ mountain running champs.
After coming back last September, she finished third in last year’s Luxmore Grunt before winning the local 30km Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon, the 15km Motatapu Miners Trail, near Arrowtown, and this year’s NZ mountain running champs in Queenstown.
That win qualified her for the worlds in Bulgaria, where she finished 37th.
Douglas, who requires surgery to fix her tendon, says she’s stoked with what she’s achieved this year, “considering how inconsistent my training has been”.
Meanwhile, former Queenstowner Jack Beaumont, who also competed in Bulgaria, won the men’s Luxmore Grunt title, while veteran local Mark Douglas won a medal for completing his 20th Kepler.