Does the Wild Kiwi beat Matt 2018?

Wild Kiwi 2018 we owned it!

Last year after failing miserably at the Wild Kiwi race, I wrote a blog about how failure is awesome and how it can drive you to succeed and do better…..12 months has passed and a large number of Activ8ors have smashed the Wild Kiwi in the weekend. (Read Matts 2017 post here: Failure and why its fricken Awesome )


Truth be told you never smash the Wild Kiwi – it smashes you. Every event option- the 8k, 15k, 21k, or the multi-sport is next level, the half marathon is the hardest in the country (there are stats to prove this).

After the race last year, I was so disappointed in myself- firstly because I was too cocky and didn’t put in the training, and secondly because there are things I got wrong during the race that caused me to be slow (and I should know better). Those feelings subsided over time, but come Christmas time- I thought it’s now time to get stuck in and train hard for Wild Kiwi 2019. I trained hard and specific for the Kiwi over January and then life got busy. I was still training hard but not specific. Not biking enough (truth be told between Jan and April I did 1 ride before the Kiwi), and not kayaking enough. 3 weeks out, I got Kayak scared (2017 I fell out at least 17 times and wasted a ton of energy getting back in), I started sneaking kayaks in where every I could.


So truth be told – 2018 I was only a little more prepared than 2017. But confidence was high leading into the Kiwi, and come Friday night I was excited and amping. I woke up early got out there in the dark ready for action. I had arranged 2 kayaks and ending up taking both down to the start line, only choosing the fast tippy one (the same green machine from 2017) 2 mins before the start of the race.

The Kayak leg was changed on the day due to rough weather and I was really neverous about my descion to take the tippy kayak. But typical Matt- go hard or go home. It turned out I was pretty fast (comparing myself to 2017 Matt), I was in the top 20, 1/3rd into the race, then had to go around a point that had a rough patch of water, fell out 4 times and lost 20 odd places. Started thinking here we go again- but then thought NO, I got this, I was smarter this year, didn’t get angry (really hard to stay in your boat when you are paddling angry). The next 30 odd mins I stayed in the boat and clawed 20 odd places back. When I got back to the dreaded corner I slowed down, took my time and only fell out once. Not dropping much time. Finishing the kayak feeling really good.

This year I found the bike awesome – it went fast and the views on the Mt Bike course are world class. I hit the running feeling good and positive about the race. Over the first 2 hours of the run my head was in a good space. It was hard and I was hurting but love that feeling and pushed on. Around the 2 hour mark everything changed. I had been out there for 5 1/2 hours and had loved every second. The remaining part of the course was hell- my body packed in- major cramps, sore knees, twisted ankle (from the week before) started effecting my running. I had a sore neck and shoulders, back was aching and had chafe on my arms. Worse than my body packing in- my head started to go. The next 40 mins and 6 odd ks was a night mare and at the time I am not 100% sure I would finish. Those that know the course the last 6ks is the easiest in terms of hills and difficulty but to me it felt like running on glass through brick walls.


Near the end – our team Activ8 ‘HYPEMEN’ found me on struggle street and pushed me back. Running over the finish line to a bunch of awesome Activ8ors and my family was amazing – but I was still really struggling.



I had to lie down for close to an hour without moving and a top over my head. I struggled talking to anyone and the thought of food, water, poweraid or even a beer made me nauseas. After that lie down, I got some food and poweraid in and felt (mentally, not physically) a lot better. It was then that I started to care about how others had got on, once started moving around the Activ8 family group I found out that everyone had done awesome- there was a real buzz and sense of achievement. For 6 hours I was in my own world and it was all about me. But talking to all those others who had gone through their own battle, I realise we had all achieved something great.


As I said at the start you don’t smash the Wild Kiwi – it smashes you. Entering events like this is what it is all about. It tests us on so many levels- physically, mentally, emotionally- you coming out knowing what you can and can’t handle (which is way more then mentally perceived).  Those around Activ8 have been talking about their race- what went well and what didn’t, all week. For the 50+ Activ8ors who completed the race, well done, don’t underestimate your achievement. We all have our own Everest to climb, to some you may have done that in the weekend, others it maybe a great stepping stone on the way to our ultimate prize.

I also want to thank all those amazing volunteers out there on the course – you guys were amazing- always so positive and supportive- and am sure some were out for a long time. Well done for getting behind a great event and giving some of your valued time.


The other reason I love events like this is the realisation that you can do anything. I couldn’t walk properly for 3 days after the race, but now (6 days later) I am close to 100%.

                                                     “Pain heals – glory lives for ever”

Those that did the race and have beaten personal demons along the way – I expect more of you now. You know your body and mind can go to those dark places and come out the other side alive. Now you don’t have to go there every single workout (that’s not healthy or wise), but now and then you can. Expect more from yourself, demand more from yourself. Keep training hard team, keep training smart, and when the opportunity comes to test you – jump at it – find out what you are made off.

See you there 2018!

For the record – I was 1 hr 12 mins fast than last year.

2017                                 2018

Total time: 7:20:51        6:08:38
Kayak 1:47:13                 1:27:20
Mt Bike 2:30:38            1:56:42
Run – Mt 2:42:08          2:18:40
Run – Road 0:20:55      0:25:58


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