Brendon Thompson is one of the many runners who have been cranking up the miles in preparation for the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra.
Mr Thompson, an avid runner, will be heading to the Waitaki district from Wellington to compete in the inaugural event, which starts on February 25.
He runs about 100km every week and began seriously training for the ultra three months ago.
Mr Thompson met Alps 2 Ocean Ultra organiser Mike Sandri when the two both competed in the Grand to Grand Ultra at the Grand Canyon, in the United States.
Every two years, Mr Thompson likes to compete in an ultra race.
He said he was “pretty stoked” to be one of the runners to compete in the inaugural Alps 2 Ocean Ultra.
About 20 of Mr Thompson’s friends from France and England would be coming to compete in the event.
“I know quite a few international runners coming, which is quite exciting,” he said.
“They get to come into our backyard.”
All of Mr Thompson’s international friends were excited about coming to New Zealand because they finally had an excuse to visit – and they could justify spending the thousands of dollars it would cost for them to take part in the event.
Based on his performances at two Grand to Grand Ultras, Mr Thompson expected the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra to take him about 48 hours (combined time) to finish.
It was good to see New Zealand hosting an ultra race, he said.
If this year’s race went well – and if there were future events in following years – Mr Thompson said he would be visiting the South Island more often to participate.
He applauded Mr Sandri for the time and effort he had put into organising the event.
Although he expected everyone would enjoy the event, he had some advice for competitors.
” Your feet will actually stop you running, which will make you pull out,” he said.
“Eating and carrying a pack isn’t going to make you pull out.”
Mr Thompson said if people did not take care of their feet, they would be forced to stop running completely or they would be “doing the long days”.
He was looking forward to meeting local runners and listening to the stories they had to tell.