On Saturday I’m going to run the Hillary trail…twice! From the southern end of the Waitakere Ranges to Muriwai and back. It’s around 155km long with 6,300m climb, and I’m doing it just for kicks!
The Hillary Trail connects a network of existing regional park tracks through the Waitakere Ranges. The 3-4 day tramp is advertised on the Trail’s website… “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.”
Why would I want to do it twice? Together with Gus Grey, we were the first to run it (just before the official opening of the trail), so I guess this is the next logical step. I’ve never run this distance before and am not particularly trained up for such a feat, but it has to be done and might as well be now. I was talking to a guy I met at a party on Saturday night who is a very experienced ultra-runner and he re-iterated everything that I knew was wrong with doing this thing now:
- I’m not at my fittest. My last long run was in March racing in the 49km Mototapu Adventure Run event with Phil Wood. This real trail run goes from Wanaka to Arrowtown and includes some massive climbs. We took 8 hours and I was meant to make use of this great “training” and do the Hillary double a month later. Unfortunately I pretended to be a car and move a loaded trailer a week before the big day only to damage a disc in my back. Bugger! So a month of rest and physio and I started running again. I’m playing on the fact that it takes a while to lose fitness!!
- It’s wet and muddy. Probably the wettest time of year so the tracks will be muddy and energy sapping.
- It’s the shortest day of the year 4 days after my run. So dark!
- The longest I’ve ever run is 12 hours. I’ve done 24 hour adventure races that have strayed up to 36 hours but that includes rests in a kayak or on a bike!
But why wait – I’ve talked about it for ages.
It was quite funny - there I was at this party telling him my plan for the next weekend, me drinking rum and he was on water, as he was off to the States to compete in the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile race in July. I could see that look in his face!!
The plan then is to start at 2pm on Saturday 18th from the start of the trail at Arataki Visitors Centre (near Titirangi). All going to plan I will finish Sunday evening – really late afternoon if I follow my fast scenario or mid-evening if I’m closer to my slow scenario. I’ll run as much as I can but this really means power tramping up the hills and running down and flats.
I have Richard Moyle (pretty much a professional support crew) following me in the car and he’ll meet me at points along the way so I can restock my pack with food and water. I’ve also roped in some awesome people to do certain sections along the way. These are die hard Hillary trail runners who hardly need an excuse to get out on the track. They are coming mainly for my safety so I don’t run off a cliff, but also to keep me company through the long sections! I’ll introduce these fine people later.
I plan to tweet, blog, facebook and email as I go so people can keep up with progress but also to share what an adventure this is and what my body and mind will go through – should be interesting I hope. If anything it will help break the monotony of running! The support crew will get in on the posting action too, so you don’t just get unreadable sleep deprived ramblings from me. You can keep up with progress by following tweets from @LacticTurkey, blogs on http://runningbeast.tumblr.com/ or the Lactic Turkey facebook page
In my next post I’ll go through the plan a bit more, go through my checklist of gear (read this as a shameless plug of some great products from great companies who support Lactic Turkey Events) and introduce some of the people joining me for sections of the trail.