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Tongariro Crossing at speed

February 19th, 2007

Another training weekend under the belt, and another mountain summit reached. For the third year in a row I took park in The Great Lake Relay, which circumnavigates Lake Taupo taking in 154km of scenic New Zealand. This year I had the first (at 2am!) and 14th legs. With a little sprint I was even leading the pack coming out of the first road and our of Taupo, but once we hit the first hill (about 400m from the start) I was being overtaken and was probably somewhere around the middle when I finished. I was then in the support car until just after sunrise and back to the house for a nap before getting to my next start point. We had a dozen or so runners and together we made it in 14hrs 15 which is much faster than last year. That night I attended a talk about the Oxfam Trail Walker Challenge which Rachael and Tania are taking part in. It’s 100km in 36 hours and I’d love to take part but it’s after I fly out of here, speaking of which I need to get my tickets sorted.
On Sunday the three of us did the Tongariro Crossing and we did it pretty fast with the stair case taking only 30 minutes. I took an hour long side trip to the peak of Tongariro while the girls happened upon a wedding going on at the top of Red Crater. The bride was even in a proper dress, but she was wearing sensible hiking boots :-) While Rachael and Tania went light weight, carrying only what they’d need for their charity event, I loaded up an Aarn Natural Balance which they lent to me for the weekend. It was as full as I could get it and weighed close to 20kgs, but true to their word it didn’t hang from my shoulders. The clever rigging puts the weight on the belt and with front packs taking full water bottles I was standing up straight the whole way, no back pain. Physics being physics I still had to carry the extra weight though and it certainly wasn’t easy keeping up with two trail runners on the long down hill after the Ketetahi hut. We reached the road end in just 6:40, a respectable time in anyones books.
I was also wearing brand new New Balance 1222s I’d bought the day before. They sure let the dust in as I ran down the Red Crater gravel slope, hopefully that means they’ll let the water out just as easily. The arch of my right foot got a little sore, but some strapping tape stopped it getting and worse and I didn’t get any blisters. The GPS logging unit didn’t quite do as well. It logged the whole way, at least I think it did. But when I got it back to a computer the files were really messed up, unreadable on my Mac. I think I turned it off while it was writing, that can cause trouble. So I walked to work with it today, no problems. Now that it is fully changed I am leaving it on until it goes flat, to see just how long it will go without the solar panels.

New Balance pack at the top of the Devil's Staircase
Shoe grit after running down the Red Crater gravel chuteDirty feet after completing the crossing
Ha ha, I just realised I was wearing New Balance shoes and carrying a Natural Balance pack

Distance today: 0 miles. Total distance: -1 miles

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2 Responses to “Tongariro Crossing at speed”

  1. Peter Andrew Stanton Says:

    Dude, my full pack plus carryon is so totally more like 30Kgs and yesterday I carried it for many hours, at least two without stopping (I was walking between tube stations without a map or the certainty that they get further apart the further from the city they are).

  2. Craig Says:

    OK now do the same today, and tomorrow, and for the next five months. You should totally come to America get out and see the sierras, they’re awesome man.