Just wants a challenge: Lucy Olphert


A Queenstowner tackling one of New Zealand’s biggest ultraruns this weekend admits she doesn’t even like running.

Instead, showjumping rider Lucy Olphert, who’s running the scenic Tarawera  ultramarathon 100 Miler (165.2km), says she’s doing it for the challenge.

‘‘My good horse was injured early in the season, so it’s just left me at the moment looking for that challenge to fill the gap until she comes right.’’

In 2016, she ran the Rotorua marathon on the spur of the moment, and last year had about four days’ notice she was running the Tarawera 50km race after losing a bet at a hen’s do.

That time, she was inspired by fundraising for a four-year-old diagnosed with leukemia.

This time the 32-year-old — who’s been busy taking showjumping clinics around NZ — is fundraising for Lifeline Aotearoa.

It’s a mental health charity with a specific focus on increasing awareness and understanding of suicide prevention in New Zealand.

Despite entering during lockdown, Olphert says she’s still going in under-trained, ‘‘but the  positive to that is fresh legs and a fresh mind’’.

She’s aiming to complete the race, which starts 4am Saturday, in about 32 hours, meeting  cutoffsalong the way as well as the final 36-hours cutoff.

‘‘My big goal is to finish — probably a good 40%, 50% of the field don’t finish each year.

‘‘All finishers receive a beautiful handcrafted pounamu necklace — it’s very much an incentive to finish.’’

As for her next challenge, Olphert, who moved to Queenstown from Mount Maunganui in
spring, says ‘‘it could be an ironman, it could be anything’’.

‘‘It could be a chess tournament.’’

Meanwhile, Parkrun Queenstown founder Chris Seymour is running the Tarawera 50km this
weekend — his first official ultra race after 20-plus marathons.