Mt Oxford Odyssey, The Toughest Half Marathon

Becky Clarke tackles the hardest half marathon she has done to date... and she is doing it all over again this May!!

@Beckypowergirl all cosy pre race, instagramming it all!

On an icy cold morning in May I ran the toughest half marathon I’ve faced so far. When I say I ran, I really mean I hiked/scrambled/slipped my way up and down the 1364m summit of Mt Oxford. The temperature was in the negatives with frost of the ground and snow on the summit. But with no breeze or clouds in sight we were lucky to get a stunning Canterbury winters day. That made wardrobe decisions tricky with the fingers and toes frozen on the start line but the thought of overheating climbing to the summit. I wore a Primino tee and my favourite arm warmers which didn’t last long with the sun heating us up and giving us that sweaty ‘glow’ we all love so much.

becky and jen checking folks in

The race regos were a blast with the FurtherFaster Gals giving a hand at the shop.

The climb was painful with the icy air burning my lungs and legs screaming at me while I climbed and climbed and climbed. I hit the snow and if you looked straight up you could see the summit and a train of athletes battling their way to the top. I was jealous of the guy in front of me effortlessly climbing with his running poles. At the top most of the athletes had stopped to take in the views which was pretty special.
start line
And they are off!! Icy cold start!
We are all guilty of not appreciating the views during an event with the focus on crossing the finish line ASAP. The 360 degrees view of the Canterbury plains and the Southern Alps was insane so I took my time appreciating the beautiful country we live in.
The climb!
The Climb in 2017! Beckys fave pic by Centuri Chan.


The traverse along the top was technical with the challenge of snow but smooth and undulating giving my legs time to recover. The descend through the goblin forest was beautiful with moss covered beech trees sprinkled in a dusting of snow and my favourite kind of technical downhill trail… until I hit the deck. Typical, I slipped over and landed flat on my back giving me a sore tailbone and wickedly dead butt cheek. I knew my favourite trail shoes were well passed their expiry date with hardly any tread left. Some grunty trail shoes are a must for this event and please take care on the slippery tree roots. 
oxford top
Oxford Odyessy Runner Dianna on the top! Taken by another rad runner up there.


Once we met up with the 15km competitors the real muddy fun began with unavoidable knee deep mud pools. There was lots of laughter and athletes helping each other through the mud which I love to see as trail running throws you surprises and isn’t always about getting that PB. There was plenty of friendly chat going on as we ran towards the finish line and through a very convenient river crossing. I attempted a sprint finish against another lady I had been following for a while but my legs said no and I plodded my way over the line.

finish line
Becky on the home straight!

Those who know me know it’s all about the food and the hotdog and chips did not disappoint. Washed down with a cold beer from the FurtherFaster tent I was a happy girl with a bruised butt cheek and a good excuse to get new shoes! 


team on point
Some of team FurtherFaster looking fresh before the race! Becky was a little more muddy and bruised by the end!


A challenging but achievable day out I highly recommended this event to everyone. Thank you Mt Oxford Odyssey I’ll be back.

It is time you entered, this race is calling you. Enter here.


Written by Becky Clarke.

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