Ready to race . . . Alps 2 Ocean Ultra organiser Mike Sandri with one of the medals that will be presented to people who finish the 316km race in February. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

In just over 100 days, 126 athletes from around the world will arrive for the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra, a 300km-plus test of endurance.

The staged run, held between February 25 and March 3, starts at Aoraki Mt Cook and ends in Oamaru.

It will be the first time a staged ultra event is raced in New Zealand.

Alps 2 Ocean Ultra organiser Mike Sandri said with only 15 weeks until competitors lined up for the start of the race, everything was in place to make sure there would be no problems come race day.

“To be honest, I’m feeling OK. We’ve got most of the big items ticked off . . . now it’s just a matter of crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s for when they come here in February.

“Most of it’s been pretty plain sailing. It’s a huge amount of work and everyone has been really helpful in making it happen.”

The 316km course was set, and would offer a significant challenge for many competitors.

As is the case in other ultra events around the world, the race is designed to test an athlete’s physical limits, endurance and mental strength.

“The course is nailed, pretty much,” Mr Sandri said.

“We’ve been able to go through most of the paddocks that we have asked to. Those farmers have been really obliging and helpful and it adds a point of difference to the race – it’s not on the whole Alps 2 Ocean.

“I think some of them have looked at the web page and thought, ‘It’s just a cycle track’. Well, it’s not just a cycle track. There’s 3500m of climbs, which is the height of Mt Cook.”

Some river sections have been added, which will involve competitors crossing the likes of the Maerewhenua River at Duntroon.

As it stands, stages one and two (53.85km) on day one have a 14hr cut-off; stage three (51.34km) on day two a 13hr cut-off; stage four (86.6km) on days three and four a 34hr cut-off; stage five (43.76km) on day five a 12hr cut-off; stage six (52.66km) on day six a 13hr cut-off; and stage seven (28.67km) on the final day a 6hr cut-off.

About 30 volunteers have been found to make sure the race runs smoothly.

“It takes the pressure off .. it’s pretty exciting.”

The 126 athletes taking part hail from 15 countries. Mr Sandri said there was a 50-50 split between males and females, while just over 50% were from overseas.bridge medianike fashion