New Zealand athlete, Rhys Johnson shares his Goat Tongariro experience

Rhys Johnson - The Goat Tongariro

The Goat Review – Rhys Johnson

Know before you start; if you are there to have a good time with mates on the trails, or race to 100% of your potential.

If you’re there for a good time you are in for a treat. Remember to stop and look up, you will be surrounded by constantly changing beautiful scenery but find yourself always having to look down for your next foot placement. Make sure to laugh at how ridiculous some of the trails are 🤣.

Rhys Johnson runs The Goat Tongariro

The Racers

Be careful not to run too hard-out off the start.  You have a lush downhill of road that is so easy to overspend on and destroy the legs.

Run smoothly and within yourself, there is plenty of time to destroy yourself later on 😊.

Once you are off the road, stay as efficient as you can over the terrain; stopping starting, and major changes in direction will chew up your energy.  Every step you take counts to the day’s overall spend and should be treated with complete focus and intent.

Watch the terrain a few meters in front of you and pick your line with 100% focus.  Don’t be a sheep. Glance into the distance as often as you can, there are always cleaner sections to run on and you will only find them if you can get your eyes up.

Play to your strengths.  The Goat has something for every runner and you can’t be the best on all of the terrain. Know what you’re good at and make your gains on that terrain.

Drink small amounts often and take nutrition in. Not fueling well in the first 3rd will come to haunt you in the last 3rd.

First 3rd (0-7km): You should be running at an effort where you can just manage to talk,  if you can’t do this you’re burning the candle too hard and will be walking before the end, slow down!

Second 3rd (7-14km): This is the time to push on the parts you’re strong on and keep on the conversation pace on your weaker terrain. Ask kindly to pass people if you want to hold a faster pace than them. You can waste a lot of time sitting behind someone on your best terrain, take those gains when you can.  Every second counts.

Rhys Johnson - The Goat Competitor

Last 3rd (14-20km): Once at Surprise Lake it’s time to go head down and get the job done. Caffeine and sugar are your friends 😁.  Have a reason to keep pushing and never give in to the hurt.  This is what all those training runs have been for! Believe in yourself and if that doesn’t work, think about someone else who believes in you and don’t let them down. Stand as tall as you can on the last climb to keep good form and help the oxygen get into your lungs. Hell yeah, if they are not screaming at you then you’re not pushing hard enough.

In the last 3rd never think about how away the finish line is,  this thought is always far too daunting.  Break it down into small targets and if it seems too hard break it down to a smaller one until you’re only focusing on taking the next step and keep ticking them over.

There is something special about leaving it all out there on a race course and knowing you gave it your best.

I wish all of you the best out there, it is one hell of a great event.


Rhys Johnson – Athlete
Coached by Goat and Ring of Fire sponsor, Squadrun
Previous Goat age-group winner
First placed male 2021 Tarawera 102km

Squadrun Coaching