Last Saturday was Ngarama Milner-Olsen’s first race back since competing internationally in Sweden in June. The IronMāori Duathlon was the very first event she ever competed in, back in September 2013, which she found tough but loved it so much that’s why two years later she’s still here. It’s a wonderful race with a great, supportive atmosphere, and Nga looks back at the highlights despite battling a cold.
Saturday’s event was a tough and challenging day on many levels, I woke up not feeling the best – chesty and blocked up. I don’t like making a big deal of things so I told my husband I’m just going to do what I can out there and I’ll try my best, so we put our backpacks on and cycled to our event which was 5km down the road.
IronMāori atmosphere is always electric, even though it was a small event everyone was energised to get the race started. When I arrived it reminded me of why I started this sport 3 years ago, I looked around and was inspired by so many people predominantly Māori taking up this challenge for the first time, it was really uplifting. This year was the first time this event had been held in the Wairarapa and it was an absolutely perfect location. The run course was around gorgeous Lake Henley Park and the bike section was a 2 x lap course taking us on the back roads of Masterton through some undulating hills. What a fantastic place to hold this event.
How the race went down:
We headed off on our first run leg which was 6 x laps around the lake, I quite like laps as it gives me a good indicator on pace. Initially I set out faster than planned but it didn’t take me long to realise that and I began to settle into my pace. From the first lap I knew this was going to be a tough day, my body didn’t feel like it normally does especially for race day, but I continued my run and then made my way into transition heading into the bike leg.
I took it easy during my first lap and my legs were feeling it and my breathing wasn’t normal, but I was okay with how things were going, I was inspired by so many of my clients out on course giving it their all. The second lap I pushed a little harder – a friend had caught me up so I had to crank up the pace and give everything I had left which was really tough, a lot of self-talk was going on to push myself to the end of the bike.
I came into T2 leading into our final run leg of 3 x laps of the lake, this was tough but I could now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt okay on the run I had to dig deep but I knew it wasn’t for too much longer so I kept telling myself to “hang in there!” my friend was just behind me and we exchanged a few words now and then on the run in between our deep breaths. The support around the course was amazing, encouragement was everywhere in true IronMāori spirit.
Coming to the end of the race, we both held hands and crossed that finish line together. The IronMāori Duathlon reminded me of why I do what I do in Triathlon relating to Health and Wellbeing. Seeing so many people out there throughout my race including my sister gave me an feeling of fulfilment , even though I wasn’t 100% and hurting, all I could see around me was determination and courage by everyone – I would like to thank each and everyone one of the competitors who gave it a go, set personal bests and to those who won their age groups congratulations on your amazing achievements.
Nga’s Total Race Time: 2.24mins (Overall Female Winner)
Run: 9.8k – 43.30sec
Cycle: 40.9k – 1:16:40sec
Run: 4.93k – 26.14sec
Nga’s next event will be IronMāori Quarter Ironman on 7th November 2015.