After a wonderful New Years break with my family in the Golden Bays, I took an incredible flight over the Southern Alps to Queenstown for a friends wedding. I had no plans for getting back to home to Dunedin and suddenly thought ‘I could run!’ and so that is what I decided to do. It didn’t take much planning really as I had a pretty good route in mind. So I packed a few essentials, contacted a few friends and off I went with no time limits, no distance goals, but just becuase I could.
Day 1: Queenstown to Bannockburn: 51km, 7.15hours
Alice and I headed out from her Kelvin Heights home and we headed for the private farm land running along the Kawarau river until Chard Farm winery.
Alice stayed there for a wine and I carried on down the Gibson Valley, sprinted around 800m of highway around the Nevis Bluff and into the Nevis River Valley.
I ‘bee-lined- up and over the hot dry mountains until I spotted Bannockburn 1000m below, where I recovered from the 32C temperatures in Lake Dunstan with great friends and of course a lot of icecream.
Day 2: Bannockburn to Lauder: 73km, 9.40hours
An early start with a group of keen Cromwell runners meant a few hours out of the burning heat as we crossed the Cairnmuir Mountains to Clyde.
It was then time to follow history along the Otago Central Rail Trail (http://www.otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz/). Stepping out on the long straights with Alice was hard and hot going, but with a refreshing stop at Chatto Creek we both regained some energy to get to our next destinations. Mine to Lauder for the night.
Day 3: Lauder to Waipiata: 56km, 7.20
This was the hottest day of all. Even the sheep were panting as they crossed the ‘highway’.
I was hoping to get 80km done but only just managed 56km. There is absolutely no shelter on the trail and I was down to running 20mins, walking 10mins. Gummy jet planes were the only thing keeping me going.
Day 4: Waipiata to Middlemarch: 52km, 6.30hours
This was just a ‘do it’ day. Long flat sections were going to be tough, but fortunately after a night long of thunder, lightning and pouring rain the day had a refreshing chill which made for easier going.
Day 5: Middlemarch to Dunedin: 76km, 10hours
It was raining. Hard. The first 40km on the railway tracks was fast and stunning running through the gorge. I made it to Hindon Railway station in 4hours and enough time to sit back and relax for a few hours before Matt Bixley joined me to bring me home over the Silver Peaks.
We contoured into the valley to Jubille Hut for some delicous sandwiches before stomping it out up Devils Staircase to Pulpit Rock. The mist and rain and gustily winds just added to the adventure and feel of the true mountains. As the light faded we summited Swammpy with cheers and exhilaration, now knowing where I was. We doned our lights and headed over to Flagstaff for the final grunty uphills and then dropped down the Pineapple Track for the bright Orange lights of Dunedin to welcome us home just before midnight.
An amazing adventure. Where I have seen many a beautiful view, shared some New Zealand miles with you and have completed a mission just because it was there to complete. http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/64221164/
Dont forget to do something for you…big or small…something that will make you proud, happy and worthy. It will help our world go round!