Overnight hallucinations, 250,000 steps and 165 tough kilometres; that, and much more, sums up Allysia Kraakman’s Tarawera Ultramarathon experience earlier this month.
Talking through the February 13-14 event over coffee, she reckoned it was a little like childbirth … hell when you’re going through it, but the pain fast fading into memory. Within 24 hours of crossing the finish line, feeling so spent that there was none of the emotion she had expected would wash over her, Allysia was ready to get back into her running shoes.
“Well, maybe not to do another 165km … but run again, for sure. I might try and do a few smaller ones and take on another 100km,” she smiled. First up, however, is next month’s 2021 Spirited Women Adventure Race out of Whangarei, then she may look at doing an Iron Man.
Allysia put herself through the gruelling 165km ultramarathon to raise money for Cambridge Lifeskills.
The organisation provides free counselling to school-aged youngsters and is close to her heart. She is a trained counsellor herself, and once worked at Lifeskills.
As prepared as she was, Allysia was still caught out by how much of the race was uphill, one section a steady 8km climb at the 120km mark. Nausea gripped her for a few kilometres during another section, hallucinations affected her deep into the night, but there was relief to be found at the regularly placed pit stop stations. She changed her shoes four times and her clothes twice, and was encouraged when joined by a couple of supportive ‘pacers’, one her husband Aaron and the other, her friend George Pringle.
Towards the end, she was accompanied by friends and family members eager to see her finish.
Toughing things out isn’t new to Allysia. She has battled an eating disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression in her time, and has done runs of varying distances in recent years.
By earlier this week, her ultramarathon efforts had raised over $1100 for Cambridge Lifeskills. The organisation’s manager Sandy Wesford said the money would go directly to providing additional counselling hours for Cambridge rangatahi. “I’m amazed at what Allysia endured in completing the ultramaration. The passion that drove her is incredible and inspirational,” she said.
Karen May of Kaz Design, who designed a logo for Allysia and supported her efforts in other ways, said it had been ‘an incredible feat’. “It was awe-inspiring watching people of all ages cross the finish line, even more so when you know someone in the event and that she is supporting a charity.”
She said several other businesses had also supported Allysia, including Champion System NZ, Smith Sports Shoes and Body Performance Massage.
Fundraising through the event is still open through the website. The account name is Cambridge Lifeskills, and the account number is 06-0301-0229802-000 (ref Allysia). Visit