The 2016 Skyunning ANZ series is about to kick off and in just a few weeks we will see the first of many gruelling races take place, the first of which being the Ultra Easy Sky Ultra 100km.
The Ultra Easy is anything but what its name portrays, with 4700m of vertical accent over 100km and terrain varying from technical single track forest to high alpine scrub it’s bound to keep even the best runners on their toes. However, the race isn’t just for seasoned Skyrunners and in the spirt of the sport will see a number of new Skyrunning prospects take part in a quest to become a Skyrunner.
To celebrate this, we caught up with newcomer to the sport, Sam McCutcheon for a quick interview.
Skyrunning ANZ: So it is your first Sky Race, what are your thoughts going in?
Sam McCutcheon: It is a long way, much further than I have run before so to be honest I am pretty scared. In saying that it has always been a goal to one day run 100k and so I am pretty excited about the prospect of ticking that box down in Wanaka.
Skyrunning ANZ: With a 3rd at Kepler you are obviously a talented runner but what is your background in running?
Sam McCutcheon: I started competitive running quite late compared to some. When I was younger I started off as a competitive swimmer during high school and after I found out that I wasn’t as fast as I needed to be I transitioned into surf life saving which I really enjoyed.
During university I started running casually to keep fit and in my third year I thought I would run the Dunedin marathon. The race was a bit of a grind but I ended up winning that one and thought that might be a good place to ‘retire’, but a year later a mate (Rosie) convinced me to run the Routeburn Classic. It was tough. I hadn’t done the right training but I really enjoyed the adventure. I finished fourth in that one and remember being impressed at the pace of the top guys (I think Braden Currie won that year).
After Uni racing continued to be sporadic with a few half marathons. I did race a few low key (but cool) events and in 2014 managed to sneak wins in the Hawke’s Bay Triple Peaks run and the Great Forest Run marathon in (Waitarere).
Aside from the two-month training stint I would put in before the one-off races I never really had any structure to my training. However, a year after moving to Wellington for work I joined Wellington Scottish Harries and my running has improved from there. I had never been in a running club but after winning the Round the Bays half marathon inn 2014 Steven (from Scottish) got in touch and convinced me to join. It was a good call. There is a really good/competitive crew at Scottish and the best thing for me was realising how much faster/fitter these guys were. After the first year training with Scottish I had improved a bit and ended up finishing third in the Queenstown marathon. A year later I was third in Kepler. Kepler was my longest race to date and I look forward some more in future
Skyrunning ANZ: Have you been doing anything specific to train for the race?
Sam McCutcheon: The best thing about this timing was that I could build from the Kepler preparation. The biggest change has been to increase the length of time on my feet. I have also purchased a hat in the anticipation that it may be quite hot.
Skyrunning ANZ: What is the goal for this year’s race?
Sam McCutcheon: Finishing will be the first priority. Ideally under 12 hours but pretty hard to predict a time as I’ve never been upright for that length.
Skyrunning ANZ: What shoes and pack will you wear for the race?
Sam McCutcheon: Made a switch to Asics GT 2000 about 8 months ago and borrowing a Salomon pack.
Well there you have it Sam is looking forward to his first Skyrace and will be among quite a number of new Skyrunners trying to seek “Less Cloud, More Sky”
For more info on the race visit: http://theultraeasy100.nz/