Had the pleasure to take part in the opening ceremony of the Hillary Trail today - a very special event. I ran into the opening with a running group from Girls on Top including Sarah Hillary (Ed’s daughter) who ran from Muriwai and we were met by another group who ran from Arataki and another walking group including Peter Hillary (Ed’s son) from Karakare.
We got interviewed by TV3 - the news article is here..
There were speeches from the Hillary family, the Governor General, Bob Harvey the Mayor of Waitakere and various Auckland Regional Council people - some great speeches about how the trail originated and has come to be. I got a mention for running it all on Wednesday!
A very good vibe at the event which ended with the Hillary family and the Governor General unveiling a trail marker. There was even a nice feed which us runners really appreciated!
Well done to all who organised it and made it such a special occasion.
Photos to follow.
Our running group with Sarah Hillary arrived in Piha early so all having a coffee at the cafe before the official opening. It a hard life
Just got interviewed by tv3 news with Sarah Hillary as we arrived into Piha
I’m lucky enough to be part of the opening ceremony for the Hillary Trail today, Monday 11 January 2010.
I’ll be joining Sarah Hillary, Sir Ed’s daughter, and a bunch of others to run to the ceremony at North Piha beach from Muriwai . Another group of runners will run from the other end (Arataki) and yet another group will walk from Karekare. All three groups will rendevous on North Piha beach and head into the ceremony together for the formalities.
The Hillary Trail is four-day (approx. 70km) tramping trail through the Waitakere Ranges and along Auckland’s west coast. Named the ‘Hillary Trail’ after pre-eminent mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary. The Hillary Trail connects a network of existing regional park tracks and basic backpacker campgrounds.
Well we did it! What a mission of a run that is! My whole body can testify that I did something special yesterday!
12 hours of running off a small base was always going to be a challenge but it was amazing how quickly time went. Ideally some cooler weather would have been nicer instead of the sweltering heat we endured. The sweat was pouring out faster than I could drink liquid in! This caused some cramps to sneak in just before Piha but I was fine after a decent feed and drink and they stayed away for the rest of the way.
The Hillary Trail is an awesome route and should become a great tramp for Auckland and indeed for NZ. Whoever designed the route did a good job - they have included all the great and many of my favorite tracks in the Waitak’s, it’s obviously not the most direct route but takes in some goodies. A great route to show off some prime NZ coast and bush and so close to Auckland.
Not sure about tramping it over 4 days, but I’ve never been that keen on walking. The suggested timing for tramping seems a bit funny as we arrived at the first day campsite in one hour 20. Even walking this will be a short day. But at the opposite end of the scale the 3rd and 4th days will be big solid days. Day 4 would be the toughest I’d say. This was the part of the run that both Gus and I battled on. From Anawhata road to Bethels would definitely be the hardest leg. A huge climb that didn’t seem to end and then a relentless technical downhill to Lake Wainamu – hard work on the quads, calves and knees!! Our feet started to burn from here.
Then the last section - Te Henga walkway along the coast which weaves along the cliffs just south of Muriwai – I love this track and it was all the better to know that at the end of it we’d be finished our 70km run. All the way along this walkway you dangle above the wicked and wild west coast waves crashing into the cliffs.
At the end of the Te Henga walkway there is a road section which could have been a really bad way to end the mission but it only ends up being a few kilometres on the road, as you then zig-zag down some bush tracks in Muriwai and then along the gannet colony walkway to finish on the beach.
So, a great adventure, which rings true to the name of the trail. I think we were the first to do it and I’m sure many others will run the whole thing too – it’s an awesome challenge! With training and some discipline around stops/refuels I reckon someone will do a much better time…we’ll see. 11 hours should be easy!
Will pop some photos up shortly.
Thanks to our support crew - Richard and Laurisa, and my family (wife and 3 wee girls). All a welcome sight when we can into a designated transition. They fueled us up and then kicked us out again! Perfect!
All done. Total time 12 hours 54. Transitions of about and hour so just under 12 hours on the feet.
Just the road stretch into muriwai to go. 12 hours 23 including transitions. Very sore feet. Beer at the finish! Beer!!
3 hours 20 into whatipu and then 5 hours into Karekare. Geting hot now!
Piha at 6 hour 50. Time for food!
Through huia in 1 hour 20. Beautiful time of morning to run!
Should be 10-12 hours running. Support crew is booked, food sorted. We start at 6am from Arataki. Will do posts and photos to http://runningbeast.tumblr.com/ along the way.
I’m going to run the Hillary Trail!
The Hillary Trail is four-day (approx. 70km) tramping trail through the Waitakere Ranges and along Auckland’s west coast. Named the ‘Hillary Trail’ after pre-eminent mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary.
The Hillary Trail officially opens on 11 January 2010 and connects a network of existing regional park tracks and basic backpacker campgrounds. The course from Arataki to Muriwai is roughly as per this map i’ve done in Google Earth or Mapmyrun.com
“The Trail epitomises the sense of adventure and personal achievement that Ed Hillary himself championed and was renowned for. It is not a walk in the park - but a chance for well-prepared trampers to experience the diverse, and often challenging west coast. The ARC hopes that creating an opportunity like this, in close proximity to urban Auckland, will inspire Aucklanders to get outdoors and experience the wilderness that exists on their own doorstep.” - ARC Website
Most of my training is done in the Waitak’s so what better way to kick off the year than run the whole trail in one day! Like they say above - not a walk in the park …more like a run!
I used to adventure race but backed off competing and training in 2007 when my third wee girl was born and Lactic Turkey Events started getting bigger. Since then I done bugger all but recently got back into things and did the Lake to Lighthouse recently as a team and managed a few bigger sessions in training for that - nothing this big though - 4 hours max! But the many years of base in my younger days will get me through…hopefully.
Looking at doing it this week sometime and have convinced a mate to tag along - an old adventure racing team mate - Gus Grey.
Will keep you posted.