Name:  Jess

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Age: 22

Race:  Speights West Coaster 10K Adventure Run

Personal Tidbit: Training to be a teacher

Speights Sign 

In Her Words:


When my friend Caz emailed me telling me that she had signed us up for the Speights West Coaster (“one of the finest (and undeniably one of the toughest) events that New Zealand has to offer”), I was excited. It was a challenge I would never have signed up for by myself, but having a friend do the scary first step helped… And meant there was no backing out!


The Adventure Race, which also includes a trail marathon, is along the Te Henga Walkway, which is “certainly not for the vertigo challenged,” according to the website.  “In places it is extremely steep and narrow and remember you go both ways on it.  Those not fazed by it will get to enjoy the absolutely stunning cliff top views – there will never be a boring moment on this track!” 


In the weeks before the event I had about six assignments due and I basically didn’t move from my couch except to go to class and hand in said assignments. To say I was undertrained would be an understatement. So I changed my goals to finish and have a blast. And I did!


The race had a late start: 10:00 AM. We arrived a little early and got our bearings. Before we knew it we were off! The race had major uphill and downhill sections and the first kilometer was all uphill… after crossing a river.  Caz started having an asthma attack halfway up the hill so we stopped so she could recover. We pressed on (in last place) but we stopped often because of Caz’s asthma. There were many times when we thought about turning back, but we knew we would regret it if we did.


We took things slow, walking the whole time, and stopping when we needed to. We cheered on the people running past us (out and back course) and took stunning photos. When we got to the turn around point we rested and chatted to the first aid guy there. The only way out at that point was by emergency helicopter, and since Caz was feeling much better, we started heading back to the finish line. 

 Speights West Coaster 036

We finished the course in 3:17:00 and we were the last 10Kers over the line by an hour.  BUT we didn’t care! 🙂 We had finished. We went in with the goals of finishing and having fun and we did just that. We went at our pace and realized that we were undertrained so we didn’t push ourselves too much.  There were also things that happened beyond our control (asthma, well-meaning people trying to tell us we had missed the turn around sign when we hadn’t!), but we just went at our pace and laughed the rest of it off.


Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. Would we train a little better? Definitely.


Want more Race Recaps?


Race Recaps is a blog series that features stories from readers + other bloggers who just completed races of all distances and paces… including 5Ks, Marathons, Ironmen, and Triathlons.  If you have a story of an epic recent race, send the recap + picture to



  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 28, 2011, 9:51 pm

    That must have been a beautiful (and terrifying!) trail to have a race! Congratulations on your run 😀

  • Sophia @ Raven Waves March 28, 2011, 9:55 pm

    I love this new feature! Everyone is different, yet still so inspring! 🙂

    • Liz March 29, 2011, 10:37 am

      I agree! Love the feature … so different … so inspiring!

  • Emma (Namaste Everyday) March 28, 2011, 9:56 pm

    I ran the North Shore Coastal Challenge in Auckland and it was wild! I’m sure this was about the same. Finishing is the number one goal, what a great story! congrats!

  • Holly @ The Runny Egg March 28, 2011, 9:57 pm

    I’m glad you were both able to finish and that you had a great time!

  • Abby March 28, 2011, 9:57 pm

    Wow! What a great story! Way to stick it out! 🙂

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin March 28, 2011, 9:57 pm

    Wow! What a great story. I love this series Caitlin!

  • Katie @ peacebeme March 28, 2011, 10:05 pm

    Gorgeous setting! I always wanted to do an adventure race.

  • Haley March 28, 2011, 10:11 pm

    Oh my gosh, I have to just say how much I LOVE THIS POST! Great job, JESS! I studied down in Dunedin for a semester [then stayed over summer to play some] and loved it! It reminds me so much of Maui, where I’m from, but on a vaster and grander scale.
    When I saw the name Speights I did a double-take! We drank way too much Speights while we were down there, and the brewery tour was worth it every time! 🙂

    Aloha Pumehana, Jess. Mahalo nui for sharing your race!

    • Jess March 29, 2011, 12:56 am

      Kia Ora Haley, I’m glad you enjoyed NZ!! Confession – I had my first speights ever after this race. I’m not a beer drinker but I really felt like having a beer! And they were free!

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy March 28, 2011, 10:14 pm

    Congrats to them! Finishing every race is an accomplishment! It takes a lot of determination to finish and not quit! Well done!! 🙂

  • Laura (Starloz) March 28, 2011, 10:51 pm

    great post, love it.

  • Ellie@fitforthesoul March 29, 2011, 12:02 am

    that’s awesome!! great job on your strength and persistence girls!!!

  • Mary (A Merry Life) March 29, 2011, 12:15 am

    So cool! I actually haven’t heard of this race. I think I might look into doing it next years since I’ll be in NZ. Great post! 🙂

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) March 29, 2011, 12:53 am

    I love this series! I want to do a recap, but I will wait until my next race in May. My last race was not as epic as I hoped 🙂

  • Katherine: Unemployed March 29, 2011, 5:48 am

    congrats to her! I don’t ever keep track of paces or anything but when there is a camera around, I try and hold up how many miles I’ve run so when I see pics I’ll know where in the course I was

    • Caitlin March 29, 2011, 8:10 am

      That’s a good idea!

  • Jumanah @ Healthy Living in the Middle East March 29, 2011, 5:56 am

    I love these stories! Very motivating!

  • Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope March 29, 2011, 7:47 am

    What a fun race! I love her attitude!

  • Lucy @ The Sweet Touch March 29, 2011, 9:10 am

    That course looks beautiful!!

  • Natalie March 30, 2011, 10:43 pm

    Hi Caitlin and Jess,

    Kia Ora! I am a New Zealand reader and (fan of HTP)! Big fan actually 🙂

    So excited when i saw this weeks Race Recap of Jess’s who raced in New Zealand. I have been in the country since 2006 and it is such a beautiful place. We just don’t have the same healthy resources, the blog world and incredible choices that you have in the states so I get my ‘fix’ through blogs like yours and many others.. I even want to start a Girls On the Run here.
    Thanks for being amazing…and blogging every day 🙂

  • Cristina March 31, 2011, 2:29 pm

    Hi from Switzerland!

    Let me first just say that you do an amazing work with this blog! You’re always posting really interesting posts and I enjoy reading them. I think your point of view about health condition and fitness are realistic and, for once, seeing someone who does not complain about the bad part of being injured but tries to show us little light instead is refreshing 🙂 Thanks !

    Talking about fitness, I have got some issues with my thigh muscles. They get easily injured and therefore running and even swimming is difficult for me, since even low impact activities are too stressful for my legs. I am a very active person and I enjoy walking. Plus, my weight is absolutely normal and I do absolutely not need to lose some! I was just wondering if you could give me some advices on other activities I could do instead ? Do you think Pilates, or any other strength training activity, for example, would be enough?

    Again, thank you for the awesome work you’re doing. Keep it up!!

    • Caitlin March 31, 2011, 4:06 pm


      Pilates is a great exercise program… I would just try to do an exercise that gets my heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. I get a pretty good cardio workout in hot yoga so you might have the same benefits at Pilates!

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