The Loop the Lake is a great little event, taking place in the stunning setting that is Nelson Lakes National Park. Runners will start and finish at Kerr Bay on the shore on Lake Rotoiti. This is pretty much right next to the DOC camp ground- yeah- the start finish is right next to a camp spot, which in my books is a major plus! From Kerr Bay runners will head west, to West Bay along some very nice single track. I got out and ran the course yesterday and the track is looking pretty good. This section from the start to West Bay is smooth, dry and fast. From here a short section of fairly pleasant road, that includes crossing the source of the Buller River, climbs steadily before returning to some more great single track, descending fast at times, back down to Lake Rotoiti. The track alternates between smooth and fast and some fun technical sections. It is a little wet under foot in sections leading to Coldwater Hut- if you have dry feet still the crossing of Travers River will change that! Once the Travers has been crossed a few times runners start heading north, on the eastern shores of Rotoiti. Again the trails on the eastern side of the lake are a mixture of underfoot conditions before runners find themselves back were they started, where the glory and fanfare of having “looped the Lake” awaits them!
As far as picks go- well this is a hard one. There are so many names on the start list, I haven’t really been able to sit down and go over it properly. At a quick glance the one name that jumps out is Graeme Taylor. He edged Vajin out in the Dun Run a while back, placed second to Costley at the Able Tasman, recently ran a 2hr31sec marathon at Buller and run a 1hr48 here last year. Hands down the man to beat tomorrow. The other name I will throw out there is a real dark horse. One of the few to run sub 7hrs at the short lived St James Ultra race, Gary Melhuish, who normally goes by a colourful range of nick names, is making a come back and sounds to be in good form. Good enough to match a 2hr30 Graeme Taylor- unlikely, but he should go well. As far as the women go, we haven’t had time to really research the names on the start list, but returning after her second place finish last year, in 2hr12, is Klaartje Van Schie- she is our women’s pre race favourite!
UPDATES I will be cranking race updates over at the BCR Facebook page from around 830am tomorrow. Make sure you check it out!