Cody Reed’s second place at the 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon is part of what he hopes will be a big year of trail ultrarunning. In the following interview, Cody talks about how the men’s race played out from his perspective, how despite finishing second he still suffered the difficult course conditions, and where else he plans to race and travel in the first half of this year.
For more on what happened at this year’s race, read our 2018 Tarawera results article.
Cody Reed Post-2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m here with Cody Reed, who just took second in the 2018 Tarawera Ultramarathon. Hi Cody.
Cody Reed: Hi. How’s it going?
iRunFar: Good. How are you?
Reed: I’ve been better, but I’m pretty stoked on my finish.
iRunFar: I mean, it’s very early February and you already have two seconds in big races this year.
Reed: Yeah, the five weeks between races if it helped me or didn’t. I feel like I learn a little bit and gain a lot of fitness and experience at each race that I run. I don’t know that I would have been able to push as hard at the end of this race, if I hadn’t at that race a couple weeks ago.
iRunFar: That taught you what you could do?
Reed: Yeah, kind of. I just gave me that fitness at the end of the race, which I’ve been trying to work on this year.
iRunFar: Like the ability to endure at the end of a long ultra.
Reed: Yeah, especially the 100k.
iRunFar: Let’s backtrack a little bit. You’ve been on the entrants list for this race for some time. When did you get on the list for this race?
Reed: I don’t remember when they contacted me, but it was a few months ago. I think I might have been the first elite guy that they invited this year. Tarawera has been a longtime goal race of mine because of the race and country–I’ve always wanted to come to New Zealand. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, even though I was packing my schedule pretty tight.
iRunFar: Let’s talk about the start of the race. I asked the same question of Dylan [Bowman] a few minutes ago when I interviewed him, but you guys came through the 41k aid station in 2:47. That’s essentially a 2:52 opening marathon for 100k. Most of that terrain is runnable, but it’s not like pancake-flat marathon.
Reed: Not pancake-flat marathon, for sure. But it was all open fire roads and kind of rolling. At that point it was rocky, so it wasn’t muddy anywhere. You could just really hammer it. But we didn’t feel like we were pushing the pace. We were all running comfortable.
iRunFar: So it was you, Dylan Bowman, Vlad Shatrov. Who was setting the pace? Were you all working together?
Reed: Yeah, we were all working together. On some uphill sections, one of us would pull away. Some downhill sections, someone would catch up. We were all together, basically.
iRunFar: After the 41k aid station, I think the course got a lot harder really quick.
Reed: Which one was 41k?
iRunFar: That was the Outlet where you started going along the first lake, and, then, the second lake after that.
Reed: Okay. The lake trail was not rocky. It was very muddy and really wind-y. There were some technical sections in there. It was super cool. The ground was covered in this bright green moss, which was actually pretty grippy in there, even though it was windy and wet. The scenery everywhere was so epic.
iRunFar: Did you get a chance to look away from your feet at times and see what you were running through?
Reed: At times, but not enough. I slammed my head into three trees. The first two I guess you could call branches, but the third one put me on my ass for a few minutes. It was on the climb after Okataina, around 60k. Luckily, I was just walking, not going too fast, because I’d just hit my head right above my forehead and went down on my stomach. I just laid in the mud for a few minutes and was kind of hoping that I was hurt bad enough that I could drop out with some dignity. [Laughs] Yeah, it was really hard right there. The climb… I think everything up to that climb I was feeling pretty awesome. Then, I hit that and my calves got a little twingy. It was super muddy. I’d take two steps forward and slide one step back. It was rough right there.
iRunFar: When I saw you at the 80k aid station, that was the third lake you went around, you had gone from less than a minute behind Dylan at the previous spot where I saw you to like 16 minutes.
Reed: I didn’t even know I was that close to him there. Nobody told me. I think if I knew that, I would have tried to catch him, so I’d have someone to run with on that climb.
iRunFar: At 80k you were a full 16 minutes back. And to me, you didn’t look that great, either. I was like “Uh oh, is he going to be able to hold on to second place?”
Reed: Yeah, I came in there and my feet were killing me. That was my main problem. We were descending down that dirt road before we got onto the paved road at Blue Lake. It was super muddy–think mud and foliage on the ground. I had a ton of mud and sand in my shoes and so they weighed a ton. They were obviously completely saturated and my feet were really hurting so I just needed to change my shoes there and once I washed my feet off and put on the dry shoes, I felt a million times better. It was good after that.
iRunFar: I think you did pretty well after that. Because in the next 13k, you gained back half a minute per kilometer on Dylan.
Reed: Dylan said he had run out of his Roctane at the start of that climb and was fading considerably or at least a little bit after that. I picked up the pace a lot from what I had been doing. But it wasn’t quite enough to get him in the end. Somebody mentioned during the race that I was up to maybe 20 minutes behind Dylan at one point and was able to close that gap quite a bit.
iRunFar: Do you feel sated? Are you happy? Are you going to go home content?
Reed: Yeah, I’m happy. Even with the second-place finish. The goal is always for first, but I really lay everything out there on the course and that’s all you can ask for.
iRunFar: As evidenced by the peg-leg walking you did to get out here for this interview. What’s next?
Reed: Next is Carrero Alto Sil in Spain. It’s a 40k with crazy amounts of climbing. Me and Jim Walmsley are headed out there with Elov Olsson and Johan Lantz.
iRunFar: So is it a running vacation or a drinking vacation?
Reed: What’s the difference? [Laughs]
iRunFar: Okay, got it.
Reed: Anyway, that’s going to be really fun. April, I’m taking a little road trip out to Lake Sonoma to crew Jim Walmsley and Jared Hazen at Lake Sonoma 50. And in May, I’m running Transvulcania. June is the big dance [Western States 100].
iRunFar: Your schedule isn’t packed or anything.
Reed: No, I was thinking of adding a couple more races. Lucy Bartholomew convinced me before the race to run a race on the South Island next Saturday. During the race I was thinking, That’s definitely not happening. I was thinking that maybe I definitely shouldn’t go to Spain. I was really tired and left it all out there.
iRunFar: It’s probably best not to make future decisions or racing plans or anything in the middle of an ultramarathon.
Reed: No, the next day you’re always thinking much more clearly.
iRunFar: Or even two hours later when you’re laying horizontally. Well, congratulations on your second-place finish. Enjoy your vacation here in New Zealand now.
Reed: I will. I’m really excited to be here and have my race finished.
iRunFar: Drink a couple beers and we’ll see you stateside.