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Australia's James Kohler and Queenstown's Kerryn Bell were the first male and female runners to cross the finish line on the shores of Lake Ohau on the second day of New Zealand’s first staged ultra run yesterday.
The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra started on Sunday with 125 runners from 15 countries, and after seven stages over seven days and 316km, it will finish in Oamaru on Saturday.
Both Kohler and Bell are running in the supported event.
The Australian from the Blue Mountains took 5hr 24min to complete yesterday's 52km stage from Lake Pukaki to Lake Middleton, and Bell came home 27 minutes later.
Brendon Thompson (Wellington) was the first unsupported runner to finish, building on his lead to finish in 5hr 37min, while Jane Ovington (United Kingdom) was the first unsupported women home, posting 6hr 34min.
“It was a nice course today with pretty good views,” Kohler said.
“I was trying to hold something back for tomorrow but felt pretty good. Tomorrow [Tuesday] is the hard day, 86km, so I had to leave something in the tank.”
With a young family, it has been almost 10 years since Bell, a former ironman competitor, has done any serious training or racing, so surprised herself by being the first woman home.
“It’s been tough getting into it,” she said.
“But today was easier I think as the body is getting used to running, but it’s also sore. I’ve never run in this area and it’s ever changing, quite stunning and beautiful."
Today's stage is the gruelling 86km stage from Lake Middleton to Loch Laird.
• For results, updates and videos, head to the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra Facebook page.