On Friday 20th May the team from Arcus Property Limited and Creating Communities Limited traversed the famous 80km Hillary Trail in less than 24 hours.
Participants completed around 80km from the start at the Arataki Visitor Centre on Scenic Drive to Muriwai Beach. In doing so the sponsored team raised over $10,000 for local Glen Innes charities, including Glen Innes School, St Pius Catholic School and Literacy Aotearoa.
The Hillary Trail has a number of vertical ascents and descents (over 2,000 metres) with much of it over rough tracks and navigational challenges.
The team was well prepared and on arrival at the start of the trail it was time to gear up properly and ease into the journey, with a flat gravel road leading to steeper, rocky inclines. Arriving at Huia and with the weather holding out, the group tackled the slightly more difficult terrain. At around 11:00 pm the weather took a turn for the worse, with torrential rain, strong winds and slippery slopes making it challenging as team members slid their way towards the support team.
Arriving at Whatipu, the tired trampers tried to get some cover from the heavy rain under a poorly built shelter. Luckily the support crew was ready with everything needed to prepare for the unsupported section of the journey. The team stocked up on food and water for the night, changed out some wet gear and headed out.
Traveling to Karekare in complete darkness, bodies became sore and aches and pains set in. The dune section of this leg offered some interesting navigational challenges. Although the rain eased the forest section was as slippery as ever.
Arriving in Karekare, the team made a brief comfort stop before heading off towards Piha. Steep hills felt like they would never end; only to be replaced by ankle-breaking slopes all the way downhill to Piha, where a hot cooked breakfast greeted the weary travellers.
The next leg to Bethells started off with gentle farmland before the hills of the Kuataika added to the difficulty. Some team members found a second (or tenth) wind and managed to start picking up some pace to try and make the sub-24 hour time. Traveling around the lake took a lot longer than expected but the flat terrain allowed the front runners to keep a solid pace.
Arriving at Bethells the team was greeted by the support crew and an amazing spread of food to help get through the final 16km. With the end in sight, it was the last chance to get feet taped, and swap out wet gear before embarking on the last leg of the 80km journey.
Bethells to Muriwai presented its own unique challenges, opening with a delightful steep climb to the first peninsular ridge through slippery wet clay and mud. The track continued along the ridges in the face of some serious ocean winds, which kept the chill alive. This section presented a good opportunity to stretch the legs, with a good hearty downhill run until the track narrowed, allowing for a decent pace to be maintained until the dreaded, ultimate, vertical hurdle.
The final stage to Muriwai had one more considerable obstacle for the team to face; 216 steep steps down to the lovely flat road and the final 4km.
It was fair to say the journey as a whole was enjoyed by the team, and the approximately $10,000 contributed by the many sponsors, will be enjoyed by the three benefiting charities.