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ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz

Extreme temperatures are no deterrent for long distance runner Mark Wellstead, who will be among the competitors at Saturday’s Run the Ridge race.

Wellstead, who works in Western Australia, but regularly returns to his home in Central Otago, has been training for the event from his home in the Pilbara region despite a heatwave pushing temperatures into the 40s.

till 6pm in the evening, which is when I go for a run, and at the moment it has still been in the 40s at that time. So, I limit the training to an hour and a-half, or it could be unhealthy,” he said.

“I carry around 2 litres of water with me on my runs and use it all up, every time.”

A heat wave has, this week, pushed warmer temperatures over Central Otago, giving Wellstead a possible advantage.

However, he was hoping for more “normal” conditions of the cooler kind to race in this weekend.

Strong contender . . . Mark Wellstead, who is among more than 455 people registered in this week’s Run the Ridge race, has recently been competing in Western Australia. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Wellstead is registered in the half marathon event at Run the Ridge, despite having just completed a 75km race last weekend in Australind, Western Australia.

Wellstead started running when he was 7, but has “not taken it too seriously” for about 20 years.

” .. I figured I had better get into it before I get too old and something falls off, or stops working,” he said.

“I love running because you can do it anywhere at any time. I travel to work with all my gear in a backpack and run instead of getting taxis.”

He said it was a great way to save money and keep fit.

This year marks the first time Wellstead has taken part in Run the Ridge, an event he was inspired to do by his son.

“. . . he has definitely inspired me to get back into running,” he said.

“Who would not want to run around a vineyard with mountain views and clean air? “The run is in a fantastic setting and I can’t wait to be involved this year and not just be on the sidelines.”

Wellstead’s ultimate aim means he will have to run fast – and that is not so he can cross the finish line first.

“My goal is to enjoy myself and have a good run with friends, but what I am looking forward to most is seeing my son finish the 10km, so I need to run fast enough in time to see him come over the finish line.”

Run the Ridge, which is into its second year, features 5km, 10km and 21km races, along with a 20km team relay.

There are 502 people registered for this year’s event – 312 more than last year.