WEATHER UPDATE: Posted here @ 9.00am, 6th December, 2019.
Sitting here in Ohakune, it feels a lot like 2018 right now.
Outside the Powderhorn it’s a little gloomy, but it’s pleasant enough. When you arrive for registration this afternoon you may well have the sun on your back and be in a teeshirt and jandals as you bound through the registration doors.
Up top of the Maunga yesterday it was the image above. The Saturday forecast up the top is a repeat of yesterday (Thursday) and the Sunday forecast is worse.
And that right there is the difference – the Maunga! The Powderhorn is approx. 600m above sea, our finish area is over 1600m. That 1000m matters.
As per every year, our staff and Safety Management team have been carefully monitoring the weather this week. As we draw ever closer to the event, the weather patterns look more and more locked to Saturday being bad, and Sunday being worse.
Last night the Kepler Challenge team confirmed that (for the only the third time in the 32 year history), an altered race course was required.
We love a challenge. We love being tested. We are you. A combination of severe weather factors expected in the higher parts of the mountain on Saturday and Sunday takes the main courses well beyond “a bloody good testing challenge” and into territory which simply isn’t feasible to safely stage the main courses. The potential wind speed, visibility, the driving conditions in the top section of road and the ability to fly helicopter extractions are all major red flags for us – we have a duty of care to our competitors, marshals, staff and supplier safety.
As of 9.00am this morning, The Goat can confirm that one of our contingency courses is required for Saturday. This is the ultimate gut punch to you, as it is to us, but we will absolutely have a kick arse event on Saturday for you.
Below, we want to lay out very clear information for you around our event contingencies prior to travelling to the event.
Please carefully read the following and remember The Goat website will be
our primary information page for relevant contingency planning updates from
here on in.
First off, why do we have contingencies in place for this event?
This event is held in a fast changing alpine environment. We absolutely need contingencies in place and we have had these in place since year 1 of the event. In our 15 year history we have implemented contingency courses twice (in 2012 and 2018).
Who makes any decisions around implementation of contingencies?
Decisions regarding implementation of one of the contingency plans will be made by a Contingency Management Committee comprising our lead Safety Manager from Peak Safety (our mountain safety experts), our Course Director, Event Director and Event Manager. This group is able to consult with a wide range of experts including personnel within the Department of Conservation, GNS Science, Ruapehu Alpine Rescue Organisation, LandSAR, NZ Police, & Mount Ruapehu.com
What weather factors are considered by the Contingency Management Committee?
Consideration will be given to a wide range of factors not limited to; the rain volumes, river levels, river flow, wind speed, predicted temperatures (particularly wind chill), visibility, ability to fly for helicopter extractions, sleet/snow, thunderstorm activity, potential road closures, volcanic alert levels, start/finish line shelter and infrastructure as well as competitor, marshal, staff and supplier safety. Any decision is final and will be made in the interest of safety.
Why are we not waiting and running the main course on Sunday?
As the forecast weather factors on Sunday are worse than Saturday, holding out to stage our main course on Sunday is not an option.
Ok; as the main course is out for Saturday and Sunday, what are we running Saturday?
The Goat and Big Kid entrants will complete our 25km “Lower Contingency Option” on Saturday. We acknowledge that this is a longer distance than you were expecting, however the overall elevation gain and road surface of this longer 25km course makes this offering comparable to the challenge you’ve been training for. You are ready for this.
The event course cruises up Ohakune Mountain Road turns right along the Round The Mountain Track, turns right down The Old Blyth Track, turns left back down the Ohakune Mountain Road, then finally turns left on the Mangawhero Trail. You’ll pop out and have a 100m sprint to the finish. PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A DIFFERENT CONTINGENCY COURSE TO THAT OF 2018.
The Goat 2019 Challenge.
View at https://nz.mapometer.com/running/route_4985231.html.
In the words of Squadrun’s Kerry Suter “Considerably tougher than the usual ‘one-way-up’ course I reckon it’s the down that is going to hurt most. Will be some legless goats tomorrow night”
What does this mean for me?
The “25km Lower Contingency Course” will take place on Saturday as follows:
– Friday registration as planned 3.30pm to 9.00pm at the Powderhorn.
– Saturday registration. The only option is the Powderhorn from 7.00am through to 8.30am.
– No pre event bus transport required (those who had booked transport in Ohakune simply walk to the start area near the bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road). No post event transport required. For those who pre booked transport through Event Plus, partial refunds will be made available post event. You will be communicated with – no action is required by you now.
– The event starts and finishes at the bottom of Ohakune Mountain Road so supporters can wait in the calmer conditions in Ohakune.
– Compulsory gear remains exactly the same.
– The event will still start in waves as per the following schedule
* All of wave 1 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.00am
* All of wave 2 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.04am
* All of wave 3 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.08am
* All of wave 4 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.12am
* All of wave 5 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.16am
* All of wave 6 (Goat and Kid combined) will begin at 9.20am
– Course cut-off time is 2.20pm.
– Post event prizegiving will commence at 4.30pm.
– Post event dinner timelines remain the same.
– Post event party timelines remain the same.
Safe travels to the event!
Please share this info with all of the people you know who are participating in the event.
Please note: Our registration team will be fully briefed on the new course so please save your questions to ask direct to our team on Friday night. We are full steam ahead with planning another special day on the mountain.