Close Racing the Order of the Day in Ultra-Run & Xterra Triathlon at Macpac Motatapu
The Ultra-Run is the longest of events on offer at Macpac Motatapu with Andrius Ramonas (Lithuania) and Nancy Jiang
(Queenstown) both pushed hard all the way in two of the more competitive races seen in recent years.
Ramonas won the men’s race after a shoulder to shoulder battle with Joe Cox (Wanaka) for much of the distance, while
Jiang had a similar battle with Laura Reidy (Queenstown) before she prevailed.
Ramonas hails from Lithuania but has been living in New Zealand for five years and is quickly making a name for himself
as a trail and ultra-runner to be reckoned with, especially over a mid-range event like the 52km Ultra at Macpac
“I’m running so many years, I started 20 years ago on roads and tracks and quickly moved to trail running but I would
say I progressed to really long ultras but at the moment I settle to mid-range, more technical and hilly ultras, which
have physical and technical challenges.”
The 37-year-old knew he had a battle on his hands today though, sharing much of the course side by side with eventual
runner-up Joe Cox, only edging ahead to win by less than three minutes at the finish line.
“I think at the end it was a bit of a tactical battle. Pretty much from the start I could see Joe, I closed the gap with
me and another runner in the first hour and then we pretty much stuck together and when you are going through technical
and long and physically challenging places ,if you don’t have that really solid advantage it is good to join someone and
keep your legs for the final kilometres.”
That focus and indeed race preparation paid off for the Lithuanian.
“I did some research about the course and what to expect, this is the first time, I knew that in the final seven or
eight kilometres I could gain some time, my specialty is my road running skills, I know that I could probably push
four-minute kilometre pace and usually, if you don’t have a really experienced trail runner, that is enough to create
Women’s winner Nancy Jiang hails from Queenstown, the Chinese born athlete continued a stellar recent won that saw her
finish 15th at the 2018 World Mountain Running Championship proudly wearing the sliver fern and won the Keppler
Challenge on debut, late last year.
For someone so at home on the hills, it was perhaps a surprise that it was the climbing that had the 28-year-old worried
“That was tough, a really tough day. It was so steep I was like, I don’t know how I am going to do four of these, but I
finally found my groove half way through and I pushed it up the last hill and I knew after that it is downhill and then
just to get through the river crossings.”
Jiang had been in a titanic battle all race with Laura Reidy, with the two only minutes apart when Reidy chose the lower
route later in the course, with Jiang having taken the high track option, completely unaware of what her opponent was
“No, I didn’t know but I regret taking the high route, I probably got a bit more elevation than what was on the trail.
When I got to the aid station they told me I was still leading so I thought great, lets maintain that.”
And maintain she did to add another title to her burgeoning CV.
Meanwhile in the XTERRA Triathlon, Flavio Vianna and Emma Weston were popular winners, with Christchurch based Vianna
finally standing on top of the podium while for Weston (Dunedin), it was her first attempt at a serious triathlon.
“I think I made mistakes the whole way, I got on the mountain bike and dropped to the lodge and there was no way
through, so I went back and then I missed the sign for transition and came through to the finish line and had to go
back,” said Vianna.
“I think it hurt everyone, not just me. It was about who can tolerate more pain, I hurt on the uphill but managed to
drop the guys and win, I actually didn’t know I was in front until the finish. This is amazing, I have to say thanks to
my friend Dougal (former winner Dougal Allan) for not turning up, otherwise I would be second!”
Weston was perhaps the most surprised at her victory and couldn’t believe it when she saw the finish tape in front of
“This is my first triathlon ever so the swim I am not used to and didn’t enjoy as much as the rest of the day. I just
found a little space and ground my way through it. But all the competitors are great, really friendly and chatty – well
I was so I suppose they had to chat back! Running up the hill and looking at the views from the top were just amazing.”
The Macpac Motatapu continues tomorrow (Sunday) with the Off-Road Marathon, Miners Trail and Sawpit Trail events, all
finishing at Wilcox Green in Arrowtown.
1 Andrius Ramonas, LTU, 6:47:42
2 Joe Cox, NZL (Wanaka), 6:50:14
3 Bastien Missud, AUS, 6:58:48
1 Nancy Jiang, NZL (Queenstown), 7:30:45
2 Laura Reidy, NZL (Queenstown), 7:40:50
3 Rose Pearson, NZL (Dunedin), 7:55:03
2km swim, 47km mountain bike, 8.5km run
1 Flavio Vianna, NZL (Christchurch), 3:39:09
2 Jason Thomsen, NZL (Wanaka), 3:43:30
3 Adam Wilson, NZL (Arrowtown) 3:44:38
1 Emma Weston, NZL (Christchurch), 4:41:28
2 Georgina Read, NZL (Queenstown), 4:46:45
3 Janice Revie, NZL, (Dunedin), 4:47:21
For full results CLICK HERE
Queenstown Trails Trust Benefits
A portion of each entry fee for every event at Macpac Motatapu goes directly to supporting the Queenstown Trails Trust
and the continued development and upkeep of the trails throughout the Wakatipu Basin. Athletes also have the option of
making a further donation at the time of entry.
2019 Macpac Motatapu By the Numbers
•Average age: 43
•Gender split: 60% Male 40% Female
•Oldest Competitor: John Falconer, Gore, Miners Trail
Regional representation from a region
• Canterbury 29%
• Otago region 28%
• Auckland 9%
• Southland 8%
• 22 Countries
• Australia the largest contributor with 7% of the field hailing from across the Tasman
March 9 and 10, 2019
Sunday 10 March
7:30am Off Road Marathon – 42km (10:35am)
9:00am Miners Trail – 15km (10:15am)
9:30am Sawpit Trail – 8.5km (10:20am)