The Hillary Trail is a 75km route through the Waitakere Ranges, beginning at Muriwai Beach in the north to Arataki Visitor Centre in the south. The trail opened in January 2010 to honour our national kiwi hero, Sir Edmund Hillary. The trail has been special for me since, I ran the Arataki-Piha half on January 8th with a group to arrive at the opening ceremony held on the 2nd year anniversary of his passing to mountaineering glory. A year later, I ran with seven others the full trail for the first time in 14 hours. The trail is just too good to make it an annual bash - a further six months down the track I decided to team up with Kristian Day of Napier to take on the trail again for real.
|Peter Hillary, Timothy Burrell, Me, Sarah Hillary - Jan 2010|
But we didn't want to make it too easy.
North - South: evil hills saved for the finish.
Unsupported: no cars following us with watermelons, we'd have to carry our own soggy crumpets.
Winter: mud. Enough said.
With no fanfare to blast us on our way, we climbed from Muriwai Beach through backstreets to the beginning of the Te Henga trail - a jewel of Auckland's west coast. Myself and Kristian were joined by Gene Beveridge and Matt Ogden for this first 10km stretch, they were keen for an early morning bash. At least after some thorough persuasion. They set us off at a solid pace that we dreamed was sustainable for the whole run, but when they left us at Bethells Beach we slipped into our own rhythm. Initial nerves shaken off, and Ruahines damage report coming up clean, we moved through the iconic sand dunes and around Lake Wainamu smoothly.
|Te Henga trail|
And off again - a swim at KiteKite falls was tempting, very tempting, but if we were to beat Nick Harris' 11 hour record, some sacrifices had to be made! We crested to Piha Rd for the road bash towards Karekare, but not before making a costly mistake following the trail markers... Note to self: always bring map! Kristian was psyched to see the marker after an extra half hour of unnecessary knee-crunching along the road.
|The ever sensational Omanawanui Track|
|One ofthe many 'final' climbs to Arataki|
|Smashed, Ravaged, but Finished|
|The Hillary Trail|