Express exceeds expectations

Express exceeds expectations

Express exceeds expectations

The inaugural Ruapehu Express event exceeded the organisers’ expectations, with 725 riders, walkers and runners taking on the challenge to complete the distances ranging from a 15km trail run to a solid 55km Mountain Bike.

“The start line for the 55km Mountain Bike was nothing short of spectacular,” said organiser Nick Reader.

Over 500 riders lined up beside the Tukino Mountain Road to head for creek crossings, hill climbs, drops, single track, firebreaks, gravel roads, bridge crossings, farmland, drink stops, through tussock, desert, pine forest, native forest and finishing on a fast downhill sealed cruise to the finish.

The fastest riders reached Ohakune in under 2 hours 12 minutes, a blistering pace, whilst others took a more relaxed approach and cruised in at around 5 hours.

“The event catch phrase of ‘race it or cruise it, it’s up to you’ really rang true on event day,” said Nick Reader.

Feedback is that it was the variety of the course that made the event so appealing.

Comments included: “That was a fabulous event. The mix of trails made the 55k race the best fun I have ever had at a race.” “You have absolutely got it right – that was damn near perfect”.

The 21km and 15km trail walk based on the Old Coach road was also well received by the nearly 200 people who took part. After a bus ride to the start at Horopito, runners and walkers took on farm/bush edge trails and then ventured onto the very first of the national cycle ways built – the Ohakune Old Coach Road.

“With beautiful native bush and stunning outlooks the runners and walkers had lots to take in while they trekked to the Junction.”

The finish line was at the aptly named ‘The Junction’ where runners, walkers and bikers converged and shared the finish line chute to complete their journey. 

The event start times were staggered to ensure that the main group of 700 -plus people arrived at the Powderhorn Chateau around lunchtime.

“So after a very strong start, the Ruapehu Express looks set to be a classic event on the New Zealand trail running and mountain biking calendar,” said Nick Reader.

“The Express has cemented the Ohakune area as an adventure capital of New Zealand.”


55km mountain bike: 1st Phillip Mcilroy-Bisley, 2:11:40; 2nd Lewis Ryan 2:13:40; 3rd Scott Rhodes 2:15:45. Female 1st Rachel Drew 2:31:37; 2nd Ann Hunn 2:34:04; 3rd Candice Chizmar 2:45:14. 21km ride: 1st Mat Moon 59:42; 2nd Ketzal Sterling 1:05:03; 3rd Rogan Pike 1:08:09. Female: 1st Deborah Jolly 1:16:13; 2nd Vicki Vertongen 1:21:18; 3rd Kim Beech 1:21:54; 4th Jude Chevin 1:24:15. 21k Run: 1st Olly Shaw 1:12:37; 2nd Andy Palmer 1:17:43; 3rd Doug Moore 1:18:52. Female:1st Kym Skerman 1:34:16; 2nd Nic Leary 1:38:13; 3rd  Jo Clark 1:43:57; 4th Sarah Demchy 1:45:59. 15km Run: 1st Josh Dunstan-Brown 1:05:56; 2nd James Harvey 1:09:27; 3rd Samuel Berry 1:11:48. Female:1st Sarah Hart 1:19:27; 2nd Paula Ryan 1:26:14;3rd Mariane Wray 1:27:53.


Fastest runner Olly Shaw congratulates fastest rider Phillip McIlroy-Bisley. Photo: Robert Milne.