The Vosseler Shield is one of NZ’s most historic and toughest cross-country races. It is a brutal and unforgiving start to the trifecta of cross-country races that make up Wellington’s interclub cross country season (along with the Dorne Cup and the Wellington Cross Country Champs).

You can expect to encounter hills, mud, hills, tree roots, hills, voyeuristic spectators, hills, gravel, and did I mention hills?

  • The typical stance of runners once they cross the finish line is foetal.
  • The typical weather is grudgingly damp and greasy.
  • The typical time that you will run 10 kilometres of the Vosseler is about 10 minutes slower than you would hope on a normal 10km race. You won’t be running a PB.
  • The typical supporter is there to witness pain rather than triumph. Expect cameras at all the worst spots of the course.
  • The typical kudos you would get from your work colleagues the following Monday for your Vosseler efforts is substantially less than if you had done something easier, such as an Xterra, a colour run or a crossing of the North-South Korea border.

So, with all that in mind, the question reasonably arises, why would you run the Vosseler?

Here are some reasons I have given myself in the past:

1. I knocked the bugger off—a.k.a. the Ed Hillary justification.

2. It will make every other race this season seem easier.

3. Todd will give me grief the next time he sees me if he spots me standing on the sideline.

4. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. (However, we have learned from the recent pandemic, this maxim is not true—even if it doesn’t kill me, it’s not much fun knowing that it tried to.)

5. I’m bored with laps around K Park.

6. It’s a chance to beat WHAC right in front of their own clubrooms.

7. I was on my way to the Badminton Hall and accidentally got caught up in the throng of runners.

8. Witchcraft.

9. Too much KFC and beer the night before.

10. There is no reason, you fool! Turn back now.