Revenant 2020 was all we hoped for and more. It had drama, heartbreak and challenge a-plenty.
I was lucky enough to be out on the course in this year’s event. Here’s how it unfolded.
Can You Imagine Going Deep Into The Revenant?
“ I saw a black and white cow pulling a caravan up the river.”
That might have bothered Shaun the first time he clambered up the Nokomai River. But as he scrambled over boulders and under logs for the fourth time in 60 hours, the cow didn’t faze him at all.
When you’re pushing body, mind and spirit to the limit, hallucinations happen. Your brain starts to play tricks when you’ve been running and navigating with no sleep. And when you’re climbing, descending and racing for 190km over three days.
It happens when you go deep into The Revenant.
25 men and women lined up in the 2020 race on Welcome Rock Trails this year. Some had been there before — they had demons to conquer. Last year, no-one came close to finishing the race.
Others were there to discover their own limits. How would they face the challenge that is the Revenant Ultra Adventure Run?
Blue gums line the gravel road that winds past our dusty little farmhouse. Look out to the west. Once you could see for miles, but not any more. Now your gaze stops at the towering gums.
Why are they still there, blocking my view?
Eucalyptus trees, as blue gums are more properly called, are a hardy bunch with more than a few annoying features.
You couldn’t call them pretty trees. Their bark peels like last week’s sunburnt skin littering the lawn with long brown stripes. Branches sprout every which way and their dull green leaves hang limply from every twig.
Kiwi Saffron’s Steve and Jo Daley are as down-to-earth as any couple you’re likely to meet. He’s originally from Te Puke – think Kiwifruit and beekeeping. She’s from pioneer Southern farming stock. With those backgrounds, as you can imagine, they’re not afraid of a bit of work.
And that’s just as well because as well as caring for cows on the farm, beekeeping and contract fencing, Steve and Jo are the hard-working duo behind this small, but increasingly successful, organic saffron company.