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Lucy Clark on Te Araroa (NZ)
Complete - new FKT!

-41.2846495, 173.7672108

Athlete: Lucy Clark
Start date:
Style: Supported
Status: Complete - new FKT!

Day 1 (11/11):  Started at 7:00. 69km to Hukatere Rd  "Things I learnt on my first day: 1. It can be quite emotional when you start a trip you’ve been thinking about for 2 years and planning for 1. Cue 3 x teary moments in the first 4km 😢 2. Always take extra food and then some more. Tommy couldn’t make it to our first check point so I had to run an extra 10kms, meaning I meet him at the 50km mark. Lucky I had some extra @clifbar in my pack but I’ll be taking more from now on 🌯🧀🥐 3. Running on beach sucks, especially when you have a headwind for the final 20kms 🤯 4. Spikey ball is king. My glutes and hips were killing but 30mins rolling about on Mr Spike and they loosened right up🤴 5. Talcum powder is queen. My feet were manky as after being wet all day but Ms Talc dried them right up👸 "

Day 2 (11/12):  End at 126.9km, Ruaroa Rd "Number of blisters I got in training:0  Number of blisters I got yesterday:3  I’m not gonna lie, the last two days have been hard yakka. 101kms on a beach and then 28kms on the verge of a main road. This literally did my head in - I tried to distract myself with music and podcasts, but all I could focus on was the thud of my feet 🥴 Plus the blisters SUCK! I think I’ll be investing in some toe socks. Despite all this, my body seems to be recovering well overnight (I’m still getting 9hrs sleep!) and today I’m in the mountains, which makes me ALOT happier."

Day 3 (11/13):  End at 164.5km, Omahuta Rd.  "38kms and mug galore! Finally getting a groove on 🤘🏻 Yesterday had a little bit of everything - rolling farmland, super muddy and rooty Raetea Forest and then a little bit of highway running. Taped up my toes and had no issues with my blisters 🤗 I’ll be doing that every day from now on. I also managed to eat a lot more food. As @tommys_films mentioned in his post, I have really struggled with eating. All my go to foods have been a no go 🙅🏼‍♀️ But today we discovered some new go to foods so we will be stocking up on those moving forward."

Day 4 (11/14):  End at 221km, Kerikeri.  "57km  Another day of variety. Started off with a massive thunderstorm & torrential rain for the first 12kms 🌧 Then I had to wade down a river for 6kms 🛶 Then came forest, fire roads, farmland and then an amazing river trail featuring a waterfall 😍 It was a long day - nearly 12hrs so I’m totally pooped 😴 "

Day 5 (11/15): 278.4km, Russell Rd "50km 🤘🏻 Magic weather for number 5! After quick 20km this morning, I hit the Bay of Islands. So stunning that I didn’t mind running on the sand again! 😍Ran an awesome coastline trail from Paihia to Opau then set off through Russell Forest, which included another 4kms of river wading🛶 The highlight was running into @borntorun_physio who is also running the trail...SELF SUPPORTED! What a legend! She has a 9kg pack 🥴 She is way more hardcore than me (with my little 3kg pack and comfy camper bed 🚐) Today was scheduled as a 45km day but I bashed out an extra 5km 👊🏻 "

Day 6 (11/16):  334.3km, Ngunguru.  "56kms, 1800m ↗️↘️ This is the face of someone who was running for 10hrs today. I’m tired. I’m sweaty. I’m covered in sunscreen and grit. I’m very, very stinky. But I’m grateful that I get to spend all day literally running after my goal. Today was so long I barely remember it all 🧐 Started with a cruisy 7kms on the road then I headed into the mountains where I hiked and ran 20km of single track and farm roads with amazing views. Quick pit stop with Tommy at Whananaki (including a 15min power nap 😴) and then I back on the trail. This time running along the coastline. Highlight of the day was being waved down by a couple at Wooley’s Beach who had been tracking me 🧡 We had a lovely chat for 10mins before I hit the road to get the final 15kms done. The final 15kms cut through farmland and then a twisty, turvy forest which was tough going on tired legs and without poles 🤪 Thankfully @tommys_films met me at the 49km mark and ran with me to the finish line in Ngunguru. I then promptly sent him off to get fish and chips 🍟 🐟 Big day."

Day 7 (11/17):  "Day 7: 45km of the official trail (but I ran a bit longer due to detour). Total kms: 385  On paper, today looked like an “easy day” but in reality, it wasn’t 🤪 I had 2 x river crossings today so started at 6am to beat the tides. I made the first crossing of Horahora River just fine 👌🏻 I got to Taiharuru River at 9am and it was halfway between low & high tide, so I decided not to risk it and ran the road detour instead (which added on a few extra kms). Safety first folks! Then came farmland and some sand running on Ocean Beach. I was feeling good and had my eyes an early finish 🤩 But then Te Whara Track came along and spoiled all my plans 👎🏻 The 7.3kms took me about 2.5hrs - the track was rooty and steep ⛰ It felt like it was never ending.🥺 Finally got to the bottom and finished the day off with 6kms of road and a private boat chauffeur across the bay 🚤 Now let’s go do it all again tomorrow!"

Day 8 (11/18): 57km // 960m vert // 8hrs30  "Today was a GREAT day. My legs felt strong and I was excited to run 🤗 I started off with 15km on the beach, which I got through super quick thanks to a tailwind 💨 Then it was on the road for a little bit before I heading onto the hills along some fire roads and then fun viney, twisty forests. Quick pit stop with @tommys_films at 40km and then I was on my way across beautiful farmland and then followed an AMAZING coastal track to Mangawhai 😍 Why did I feel so good today? I have a few hypothesis:  😴 I got 10hrs of sleep  🤗 I had a lovely chilled night with Tommy so I felt really relaxed  🍫 I ate an entire block of chocolate  🏃🏼‍♀️ My body is adapting to the running"

Day 9 (11/19): 46km / 1728m vert / 9hr15 // Total: 489km  (Kaipara Flats Rd, Warkworth) Today was very much a tale of two halves. The first was 21km along road and beach, and only took 2hrs30. The second was 25kms along Omaha Forest then Dome Forrest, and took 6hr45 🐢 Slippery, rooty and seemingly never ending, this was hard yakka 🥵 Thankfully I had been warned it would take longer than expected (Thank you Jenny!!) so it wasn’t too surprised🚀 Best part of the day was having @tommys_films join me for the final 6kms 👫 He managed to lose his jacket and rain pants from his pack; stacked it once and gouge his leg on a safety barrier 🤦🏼‍♀️ Lucky I’m the one running the length of the country as I’m not sure he would make it in one piece 🤣 But in all seriousness, it was so lovely to share some of the running experience with him 💚

Day 10 (11/20): 44kms running / 8kms kayaking / Total: 540kms (Stillwater). "Today was a day of highlights 🥰 The first was a lovely undulating 27km run from Dome to Puhoi. Then I had a short siesta (including a pie and a nap 😴) before hitting the river with @tommys_films 🛶 We kayaked 8kms to Wenderholm. Then the running shoes were back on and it was another 17kms to Silverdale 🏃🏼‍♀️ About halfway there, I spotted two runners waving their arms at me - Paul and Tracey had tracked me down and ran with me for about 6kms. What legends! Now it’s time to refuel and rest before tomorrow’s big 60kms through Auckland 🌯🍟🍕🍫🍰🍚"

Day 11 (11/21): 59km / 1220 vert / 9hrs / Total: 600kms (Aukland)  Today was an amazing, long day. It kicked off with @purposejunkie who escorted me across the Okara Estuary and on to Long Bay. So fun having some company and also comforting when crossing the estuary (which freak me out!). Water was up to my belly button. Then I ran 22kms along the coast, pass all the amazing beach houses, to Devonport and caught the ferry across to Auckland! 🌃 Kinda strange to be back...but I also know I’ve still got a looooong way to go! @jennyhirst_ surprised me at the ferry terminal and ran with me up to Mount Eden summit. Part of the track was closed so we ran around in circles, enjoying the view 🤣😍 Then it was just another 13kms to the finish line. To be honest, the final 5kms was a bit of a killer. My feet were hurting from 8.5hrs on concrete and I was tired. Throw in a detour due to a bridge closure, which meant running a bit further 😫, and I was pretty much over it! Getting to the van and taking my shoes off was the BEST feeling in the world 🤩

Day 12 (11/22): 55kms (plus extra due to a wrong turn 🤦🏼‍♀️) / 688 vert / 7hrs30 / Total: 655km of the trail (but I’ve def run some extra) Today I was either running on the black stuff or running on the footpath beside it 🛣 And unfortunately the views around it were not that desirable either. While it was relatively fast compared to other days, it was mundane 😑 I also took a wrong turn and ran an extra 2 or so kms. Doh. But there were a few saving graces:
- I had new shoes to run in. 👟
- I trialled @injinji toe socks and they worked a treat! I’m in love.😘
@tommys_films ran with me for 6kms 👫
- These boring days make the days in the mountains more magical 🌈

Day 13 (11/23): 60km / 600m very / 9hrs50 / Total: 715km (Huntly)  Today started off on a high with a chatty 10kms on rolling hills with @april_fini🥰 Then it went downhill pretty quickly afterwards 👎🏻 I basically ran various grassy terrains...mostly farmland, which was slow going due to the divots and also fear of there being bulls in paddocks (thankfully there wasn’t) 🐃 I also had the pleasure of running through a marshy swamp, the verge of a main highway and a golf course which was heaven 🌈 I’m super hot and sweaty, and I’ve got bad grass rash on my legs 😑 But I’m pretty proud with how I’ve coped with a couple of tough days and there are some mountains on the horizon ⛰ 🤗

Day 14 (11/24): 60kms / 1000m vert / 10hrs / Total: 774km (Whatawhata)  Today was epic! It kicked off at Huntly where I met Rusty and we conquered the very rooty Hakarimata Scenic Reserve 🌿 We then picked up the lovely @maryroze1810 who joined us for 15kms along the river in the roasting hot sun 🥵 But we barely noticed it as we gas bagged the whole way.🤗 Then Brendan joined us for 10kms through Hamilton. Rusty dropped off at the 50km mark (legend) and I was then cheered on by Heather and Graham, who popped out of their house to say hi and walk with me for a km. I did the final 8kms across farmland and got a little too up close and person with a few cows.🐄🐄🐄 Rusty and his lovely wife Wendy then surprised me at the end with a big box of strawberries.🍓🍓 I felt super strong today and I know why - because of these guys ⬆️ The encouragement and support of everyone continues to blow me away. Bring on day 15!! 🧡

Day 15 (11/25): 47kms (but I ran about an extra 5kms due to a wrong turn 🤦🏼‍♀️) / 2100m vert / 11 freaking hours / Total: 821kms (SH 31). On paper, today was one of my shorter days. In reality, it was my longest one running 🤪 It started by running 10kms through farmland and road from Whatawhata. Then it was onto the Kapamahunga Walkway, which is where things went a little pear shaped 🍐 There were two sets of markers and I followed the wrong one, setting me back about an hr 🤬 Eventually I was back on the right trail but it was hard going as it was pretty hot running on exposed farmland at midday.🥵 By 1pm, I hit Pirongia Mountain and was pretty thankful for the shade. But this mountain is pretty brutal -muddy, rooty, slippery and lots of false summits. Going down was almost as hard as going up. It took me 5.5hrs to do the 16kms 🥴 The final 11kms had ridiculously beautiful views but geez I was glad to finally finish at 7:30pm. Stick a fork in me, I’m done 🍴

Day 16 (11/26):  Day 16: 49km / 1700m vert / 10hr30 / Total: 870km (Te Kuiti) All good days start with a cuddle of a lamb 😍 Last night we had the pleasure to staying with @tomleefoto and Hannah, who introduced us to Tiny 🐑 I’m in luuurve ❤️🧡 Unfortunately I couldn’t spend all day playing with him so I headed out for a “easy” 49kms. Spoiler alert - ‘twas not easy 🙅🏼‍♀️  To be fair, the first 8kms was along a lovely graded road and then I headed across farmland and forest for 17kms. It wasn’t too hard but it was slow.🐢 Met @tommys_films at Waitamo for a feed and then set off to smash out the final 14kms. I could smell an early finish...but then I hit some very challenging farmland 💀 The route had me going up and down extremely steep pastures, climbing over electric fences (and getting zapped in the one place you really don’t want to get zapped 😳) and dodging sheep and cows 🐄 🐑 The final 6kms took me 90 MINUTES! 🥴 I’m totally cream crackered...and I’ve gotta run 58kms tomorrow 😱

Day 17 (11/27): 58kms / 1200m vert / 9hr45 / 919km total (Pureoa)

Day 18 (11/28): 37kms / 720m vert / 5hr25 / Total: 965kms Yesterday was another biggie. Starting in Te Kuiti, I followed alongside the Mangaokewa River for the first 25km. This wasn’t your usual river track - it had me scaling the steep sides of farmland, jumping over mud/poo puddles and trying to stay upright on twisty, turny, skinny mini tracks. It was hard yakka esp because it was a hot day 🥵 I met @tommys_films at 1pm for some lunch and then headed off for 33kms of road running. Thankfully he decided to meet me again 7kms down the road because I had a mini meltdown 🤯 I was sooo freaking hot and felt like I was cooking on the inside. We poured water on my neck and forehead, and I had a little 30min siesta 😴 Made a huge difference and I hit the road again to bash out the rest of the miles. Finished up at 6:45pm and I was one very tired runner. Thankfully today’s schedule was a little bit easier - only 37kms and all along the Timber Trail 🤗 This trail is a magical 84km cycle/hiking undulating trail which runs through Pureora Forest Park. There were a couple of massive suspension bridges to cross which were a wee bit scary 🌉 But it was total bliss not having to worry about the route and being in the shade most of the time.🌲 I finished up at 2pm and Im loving the fact I’ve got time for a little extra rest.

Day 19 (11/29): 44kms / 520 vert / 6hr40 / Total: 1009kms!!! (Ongarue) Today was an amazing day on the trail! Cracked 1000kms with my lovely friend @caroline_pivett 👯‍♀️ We followed the Timber Trail the rest of the way to Ongarue. Lots of laughs, silly conversations and a few beautiful suspension bridges 🌉🌲It’s so nice to sharing the sights and sweaty kms with someone else 🥰 Can’t believe I’m a third of the way through 😱 I feel like I’m getting in a good rhythm and excited to run most days. Just gotta stay injury free and eat LOTS of food!

Day 20 (11/30): 50km / 830m very / 8hrs / Total: 1059km (Owhango)  Road, road and more road 🚙 Today’s run started off in Ongarue and we ran 23kms along gravel and tarmac roads to Taumarunui. Chatting to TA hikers helped to keep us entertained🥳 We had a quick pitstop to Maccas for a frozen coke and then we hit the road again - 27kms to Owhango. It was hot, stinking hot and the heat rebounded off the road. Sweat fest 🥵 We met a very inquisitive ostrich who followed us and did what we assume was a courtship dance 💃🏻 Then the skies opened up and we tramped our way uphill in the rain for 5kms 🌧 Very happy to have a hot shower and pizza waiting for us at the end🍕

Day 21 (12/01): 45km / 1230m vert / 8hr25

Day 22 (12/02): 41km / 1900m vert / 10hr20 / Total: 1145  Wowee. Two days which weren’t so long in kms but were pretty big due to the terrain 🥴 Thankfully I had company to make them fun!  Day 21 started with an easy 7kms on fire road and then we hit the 42 Traverse. It followed a 4wd track which was easy running to start with but then became deeply rutted and muddy.💩 @tommys_films ran out to meet us with about 7kms to go and we ran/bushbashed our way through massive spikey yellow bushes 🌼 In the horizon we could could see the Tongariro looming - our destination for Day 22! We finished up at 5pm and smashed down noodles, cold pizza and rice bubbles...then dinner 🤣 Today we woke up to the pitter patter of rain 🌧 But we were hopeful we might still get some views. We did not. Instead we were greeted with lots of fog, rain bullets and gale force winds 💨 ☔️ The few kms at the top were a bit scary due to the wind. We could only see about 10m ahead and were only averaging 30mins/km! 🐢 No views to enjoy so we basically got up and down as fast as possible. So thankful I had company for this. The next 10kms to Whakapapa was slow going due to the trail being deeply rutted/half washed away. But we met @tommys_films in town and the final 14kms were fun. Beautiful forests, rivers, board walk and silly conversation 🤣 We are all totally knackered but hearts are full ❤️ Big day tomorrow - 58kms on the road 😱 But then I have 3 days off as we canoe down the Whanganui 🛶 🤩

Day 23 (12/03): 58km / 631m ascent / 1336m descent 🚀 / 7hr20 / Total: 1203km  I started today out as a ball of nerves. It was raining & cold 🥶 Caz was leaving 😢 We were madly sorting out canoe logistics 🛶 I wasn’t going to see @tommys_films until the end of the day 🥺 All of this combined meant anxiety and tears.😭 But as soon as I got the first few kms under my belt, I felt much better. In fact, today’s run felt great..even when it poured with rain on me in the final 12km 🌧 🤗 Probably helps that it was pretty much downhill all day 🤫 Whilst I’ve found a good rhythm and my body is going strong, I still get scared and intimidated by certain days. But each time, with a lil encouragement from @tommys_films, I managed to tick them off✅ Now we are off to canoe the Whanganui River for 2.5 days! I was originally going to run the Mangapurua Track and canoe for 1 day but unfortunately the track is closed 🛑 So instead we canoe from Whakahoro, which is a little further up. This puts us back about half a day but we are confident we can make it up. Plus I’m looking forward to the extra chill time with Tommy boy 🧡

 

Day 24 (12/04): 37.5km kayak
Day 25 (12/05): 29km kayak
Day 26 (12/06): 21.5km kayak + 54km running / Total: 1326km  I’m back! @tommy and I have spent 2.5 days kayaking the Whanganui River and being totally out of reception, which gave us both a little break. We swapped the canoe for kayaks as I have to be totally self powered for the fkt. And geez do my arms and shoulders ache 🤕 My skinny little runner arms aren’t used to doing anything except shovel food in my mouth. The River was magical - at times it felt a little like Jurassic Park with its steep cliff edges and lush forest 🌳 The only bummer was forgetting to pack the cheese, salami and chocolate...basically the three best things 🙈 But we survived on wraps, baguettes and cereal 🥖🍞  We arrived at Pipriki today at 11am. From here, the route is either continue by river or road to Whanganui. I hit the road 👟 It was nice to get the legs ticking over again and I managed to smash out 54kms on an undulating road that followed the river. I’m still about 13kms behind schedule but hopefully we can claw it back over the next few days!🤞🏻

Day 27 (12/07): 72km / 537m vert / 9hr15 / Total: 1398km  (Bulls)  A couple of weeks back @murphy_matty told me I have a certain number of candles to burn this trip and I need to use them wisely. Today I burnt my first one 🥴 This morning was a cracker. I ran along the Whanganui River into Whanganui. Suddenly a car pulled up and out popped Carla to join me! A few minutes later we were joined by the lovely Wendy (who housed and fed us last night 🧡). We chatted our way for 5kms up to Durie Hill. Carla and I continued along a busy main road for another 10kms. We were regularly jumping off the side for oncoming traffic 🚗🚗🚗 Not the most scenic of routes and usually very boring but with company, it flew by! 👯‍♀️ After this, I put the foot on the gas 🚀 I had a river crossing coming up and needed to get there at low tide 🤯 I literally legged it for 30kms 🥵Ofcourse, it ended up being about knee deep and was nothing to worry about 🤣 The final 18kms was mostly along the beach but thankfully I had a tailwind 💨 .The good news is I’m back on track! The even better news is @ezza_roo is in town to run with me tomorrow! 🤩

Day 28 (12/08): 57km / 375m vert / 7hr20 / Total: 1455km (Palmerston North)  The definition of true love: Some who hates running on the road with a passion coming over to NZ to run 36km with you on the road ❤️❤️❤️ I’ve gotta admit - my legs were tired this morning 😴 @ezza_roo and I hit the road in the pissing rain this morning but that didn’t dampen our spirit. She set a cracking pace and 16km to Bulls flew by! 🚀 Ez swapped out with @tommys_films who accompanied me along more roads that cut through beautiful farmland to Fielding.🐄 Quick spot of lunch and a 15min nap, Ez and I were back on the road...a very busy main road with no footpath 🤯 We spend a good 10km jumping on and off the side of the road 😑 But then it was footpaths all the way in Palmerston North and finished up at a very respectable 4:30pm! Just finished smashing down a massive roast dinner and it’s time for bed for this little tired runner 🛌

Day 29 (12/09): 50km / 1427 vert / 9hr40 / Total: 1505km  Today was a day of highlights - the big one being my sis @juliatjoynt coming out to make a surprise appearance on the trail 👯‍♀️ I had no idea and was totally shocked 😯 Best surprise ever! Also amazing to catch up with @tomthekiwi plus my gorgeous niece and nephew 🥰  The 45kms before this was also pretty magic 💫 A little bit of road, farmland, fireroad then beautiful shady forests with lots of stream crossings 💦 The only bummer was the downpour in the final hour which soaked us through.🌧  Tomorrow I head into the Tararua Forest with @tommys_films for three days 🤗 The weather is looking good and I’m excited to stay in some backcountry huts. Likely no reception so I’ll be back on Thursday ✌🏻

Day 30 (12/10): 34km of the TA (but we did a shit tonne more) / 2371m vert / 14hr
Day 31 (12/11): 20km / 1600m vert/ 11hr30
Day 32 (12/12): 44.5km / 1600m vert / 12hr30 / Total: 1614km  Where do you not want to take a wrong turn? In the Tararua Ranges. Where did we take a wrong turn? In the Tararua Ranges 🤦🏼‍♀️ The kms covered in the past 3 days aren’t overly impressive...but the terrain was hard! We underestimated it hence we were a little lax with our start time on Tues (9:30am). The first half of the day was lovely - strolling through forest and jumping over creeks. We hit the Tararua Ranges at 4pm, which was cutting it fine to get up to Te Matawai Hut in the light. But we put our foot down 🚀 The trail notes warned us not to take the old route, to Waiopehu Hut, but in my haste I blindly followed the orange markers and didn’t check the signs 🤦🏼‍♀️ Around 6:30pm I decided to check the map and noticed we were half way up to Waiopehu...uh oh. I had a mini meltdown 🤯 then we belted our way back down. We hit the right track at 7:30pm and up we went ⛰ and up ⛰ and up ⛰ But it was beautiful being in the forest at sunset with the light filtering through the trees. We crested the ridge under a full moon and could see all the way to the ocean 🌊 The last 2 hours was hell - head torches on, navigating roots and mud 💀 We stumbled onto the hut at 11:30pm, had a baby wipe shower and snuck into bed. Unfortunately there was a snorer which meant we only got 6hrs of broken sleep 😴 We hit the trail, feeling a little worse for wear, but barely noticed it because the days hike was magnificent. Stunning mountain ridges & shady forests 🌳 The ridge up to Mt Crawford was AMAZING! Then it was a massive descent (1000m down in just 3.5km!) to Waitewaewae Hut. Today was meant to be easier...but wasn’t 🙅🏼‍♀️ We went through pretty but slow forest for the first 4 hours and finally exited the Tararua Ranges. Then we summited & descended Pukeatua, meeting @ezza_roo and Steve at the bottom 🤗 Ditched the bag. Road shoes on. I ran 11kms on road then 8km along the river to the Kapiti Coast....then 2km on the beach into a headwind. I’m tired. Very tired. But only 81.5kms left of the North Island!

Day 33 (12/13): 58kms / 1751m vert / 9hr30 / Total: 1672  @ezza_roo and I started our day with a lovely beach run along the Kapiti Coast and then onto the Escarpment Track, which was freaking fun! 🤩 Beautifully graded single track (and some stairs) with ridiculous views. A big highlight of the trail so far 🧡 Then it was onto cement footpaths for 16km 🥵 Whilst it is technically faster, geez you feel every single km!! Quick pitstop with the boys and to meet Hazel, an awesome local who took us up over Colonial Knob. It was crazy windy and there were zero views from the top, but it was fun bombing out way down the farmland 🐑 🐑 .  Our final climb was up over Mt KauKau. The first half was pretty easy as it followed a nice farm track, but then we turned the corner and suddenly were exposed to the wind again 💨 It blew our hats off and made it hard to even use our poles, plus there were about 8 false summits 🤪 So happy to see the boys and smash down a choccie milk 🍫🥛 . Only 22 or so km tomorrow and the North Island will be done! ✅

NORTH ISLAND ✅ .
Day 34 (12/14): 23km / 777m vert / 3hr45 / Total: 1695.5km I’m halfway! 🥳😱 Today I had the pleasure of finishing off the North Island with Mina, who is the current fkt holder and was the first woman to run the TA. She has been a massive inspiration to me 🤩 Plus she and her hubby James have been a huge source of info and advice. They also fed, watered and housed @tommys_films and I last night 🍲🍻 🛌 What legends!!! It was a cruisey, windy run through Wellington. We chatted our way around Mt Victoria, the Botanic Gardens and Mt Albert ⛰🌷⛰ The past 34 days have flown by but equally gone really slow 🚀 🐢 I’ve cried and laughed. I’ve learnt a lot and grown confident in my ability to actually finish 💪🏻 Next up is the Queen Charlotte Track then the Richmond Ranges with  @run_oldgirl_run and @mat_vaughan

Day 35 (12/15): 50km / 1748m vert/ 8hrs / Total: 1747km  South Island baby! But if I am totally honest, I didn’t feel excited this morning 😕 I had a mini meltdown yesterday arvo, stressing about the mountains and imagining myself getting swept down a river 😨 It is silly because most of my training has been done in the mountains so I know I can do it, but little bubbles to self doubt still come up sometimes.  But as soon as I started running, I felt a million times better! 🤗 I caught a ferry out to Ship Cove and ran 50 beautiful kms along the Queen Charlotte Track 👸 Stunning bay views and beautiful undulating trails with no risk of getting lost 🤩 I also ran into @run_oldgirl_run and @mat_vaughan in the final 5kms 🥰 So excited to spend the next 10 days with them!

Day 36 (12/16): 59km / 1100m vert / 9hr30 / Total: 1805km (Pelorus Bridge)  Today’s weather was crap 🌧 but the morale was high because @run_oldgirl_run and @mat_vaughan are in town🥳. I started off with 20kms with @run_oldgirl_run to finish off the Queen Charlotte Track 👯‍♀️ It poured with rain but we didn’t care coz it was so good to catch up 🤗 Quick tag team and @mat_vaughan hit the road with me...for 30+kms! We had a nice little coffee stop at Havelock ☕️ We finished off with some very boggy farmland where Mat got stranded ankle deep in mud💩💩. Tomorrow we hit the Richmond Ranges but there looks to be a heap of rain on it’s way ☔️ So we will suss out the weather tomorrow morning and decided if we go for it or have a forced rest day.

Day 37 (12/17): 12.5km / 280m vert/ 1hr25 / Total: 1817.5km (Maungatapu Rd)  Three words to describe the past 24hrs - wet, wet, wet 🌧 Last night it tipped it down with rain - so much that the river beside our campsite flooded this morning leading to a speedy evacuation 😱 All this rain has meant we have delayed our start to the Richmond Ranges. We don’t want to risk any flooded rivers or torrential rain ⛰ Instead @run_oldgirl_run and I ran 12.5km to the start of the track and tomorrow we will enter into the mountains. But for today, we will spend it drinking coffee and eating in Havelock ☕️🧁

Day 38 (12/18):  ~ 33km to Hacket Hut.  Richmond Ranges baby! ⛰ One day down, three to go! Managed to stay dry yesterday and the lovely @do_your_impossible played tour guide to Hackett Hut 🤩 It’s 10am and we’ve crossed a river 7 times and climbed a massive mountain...oh and lost my toothbrush 🤷🏼‍♀️

Day 39 (12/19):  24km to Mt Rintoul Hut

Day 40 (12/20):  32km to Hunters Hut

Richmond Ranges ✅
Day 38-41 (12/18-21): 127.5km / 8210m vert / 4days / Total: 1945km  (end at St Arnaud)  We set off in the drizzly rain on Wed. To be honest, I was a bit nervous as many people had told me this was the hardest section plus we had a stack of rain on the Tues 🌧 But the first day felt pretty easy 🤗 Swing bridges over a roaring river, forests & quaint huts. To make it even better, @do_your_impossible ran out to meet us 🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏻‍♂️ Day 2 was definitely harder but fun. It included running along some stunning ridge lines and then a big rock hopping summit up Little Rintoul then Mt Rintoul ⛰ We scree-skied our way down. Day 3 was memorable for good and bad reasons. The morning featured stunning summits and fun forest tracks. Then we hit the river...which we had to cross 7 times 😨 It was mentally draining and I would not have been able to do safely on my own. Then we had a massive climb up the Mt Ellis which offered amazing views right out to the coast 🤩 Then we bombed out way back down to Hunters Hut, arriving in the rain at 9pm. Today felt a bit like a death mark to the finish line 💀 Rock hopping, marshy swamp & forests with never ending false summits. I finished the day off with 8kms on the road. Tonight we sleep in a proper bed! Then tomorrow @run_oldgirl_run and I hit the Nelson Lakes for another 3 nights in huts ⛺️

Day 42 (12/22):  37km to West Sabine Hut (Travers - Sabine section)

Day 43 (12/23):  50km to Anne River Hut "Waiau Pass is scree city 🥴 Long, slow up and downs, but lucky I’ve got @run_oldgirl_run to keep me company! ⛰⛰⛰ We are racing the clock to hopefully get back to @tommys_films and @mat_vaughan tomorrow night so we can spend Xmas together! 🤞🏻🌲

Day 42-44 (12/22-24): 115km / 4112m vert / 3days / Total: 2060km @run_oldgirl_run and I set off into the mountains again on Sunday to take on the Waiau Pass, which is the 2nd highest point (1870m) on the Te Araroa. We were originally planning 4 days BUT decided if we could do it in 3 days, then I could have Xmas off! 🥳 
The first day was cruisy and we chewed through the kms around Lake Rotoiti and then through forest. We went up and over Travers Saddle which offered stunning views 😍 Then it was a steep forest descent (which featured my 2nd stack for the trip 🤒) down to West Sabine Hut. On Monday, we set off at 6am to take on the Pass. Unfortunately it was slow going to start as the recent rain had caused landslides, destroying the trail. So we bushbashed our way through for 90mins 🥴 But we made it up the top to see the beautiful Blue Lake and Lake Constance, which has the 2nd most pure water in the world 💧We climbed up and down huge scree slopes to make it over the pass by lunch 👊🏻 Beautiful views but hard going. We reached Waiau Hut at 4:30pm but it was full so decided to push onto Anne Hut, another 22kms away. We put the foot down and legged it there. Crossed Ada River safely at 8pm (phew!) and arrived at Anne Hut at 9:45pm 😴 That’s nearly a 16hr day 🤪 After a wee sleep in this morning, we ran/hiked the final 30kms out to meet the boys at Boyle Village 👬  To be honest, I’m pretty tired BUT I’m super happy to be spending Xmas with @tommys_films 🤩

Day 45 (12/25):  Lucy took a zero for Xmas. "Today I head out to the mountains again for 2 nights in huts...but this time I’m by myself. To be honest, I’m super nervous to be alone and kinda dreading it 😬 But hopefully once I hit the trail and meet some other hikers, it will all melt away 🤞🏻"

Day 46 (12/26): to Hurunui Hut, ~41km

Day 47 (12/27): to Kiwi Hut, ~32km

Day 46-48 (12/26-28): 90km / 2174m vert / 3days / Total: 2150km  (SH 73) The past 3 days have been emotionally tough. After 10 amazing days running with @run_oldgirl_run and @mat_vaughan plus a lovely Xmas rest day, I headed out to complete the Harpers Pass Track...alone. 🥺 I was a mess beforehand. Tears. Anxiety. Worried about being by myself. Worried about the river crossings. Tommy ran the first 12km with me and then off I went into the forest by myself 🏃🏼‍♀️ I was super speedy - basically just wanted to get to the hut ASAP and hoped there might be another hiker to chat to. There was and I had quite a nice evening chatting to a guy called Mark. I continued to smash out the kms on day 2 🚀 There were two TA hikers ahead and I wanted to catch them so we could do the river crossings together on day 3. I overtook them at midday and arrived at the hut, which stunk of rat poo, at 1pm 🐀 Then it rained. And rained. And rained. 🌧 We bunkered down for the arvo, hoping the river wouldn’t rise too much 🤞🏻 Today was a slow 22km weaving through the riverbeds. Thankfully we had sunshine and the river crossings were totally fine ☀️ So happy to be reunited with @tommy films and have a chill afternoon. I’m surprised by how good my body feels 💪🏻 I’m also surprised by how emotionally tough the South Island is 🥺 But I’ll keep chipping away at it, one day at a time.

Day 49 (12/29): 33km / 1153m vert / 7hr30 / Total: 2183  Today was a good day 😍 Not only did I get to take on the iconic Goat Pass, which is the route for the @coasttocoastnz, but I had 3 local folk show me the way 🤩 Steve, Bridget and Dan have all raced @coasttocoastnz before so led the way across huge boulders, wading through the river and clambering through the forest 🌳 I felt like a big kid, jumping from rock to rock 🤓 And it was lovely to not have to check the map for a day 🗺 🙅🏼‍♀️ I have huge respect for anyone who has raced this route - it is HARD! 💪🏻 Might be one for the bucket list for future...😋

Day 50 (12/30): 40km / 1023m vert / 7hr50 (Lake Selfe)  I got my mojo back yesterday 🥳 The skies were blue. The trail was pretty lovely. They say started with a beautiful climb up Lagoon Saddle which offered amazing views over the valley. The forest track was wide and undulating, so I was able to run freely with a big ole smile on my face ☺️ I hit the Harper River which I had to criss cross about 10 times 😑 Then I had to cross the Avoca River, which was only knee deep. River crossings freak me out BUT I’ve gain a lot of confidence over the past week so I’m not as scared...though I still don’t like them! Met @tommys_films at 3pm and popped on the road shoes for 7km 👟 All done by 4pm so had a relaxing evening eating, reading and listening to podcasts. 📖 🎧  Tonight I’ll be celebrating New Years Eve in a hut...which was built in 1957...and is rumoured to have mice...🐭

Day 51 (12/31): 39km / 1120m vert / 6hrs to Comyns Hut
Day 52 (01/01): 53km / 1284m vert / 10hrs (Potts River bridge) Happy New Years all! Hope you all had a fab night 🥳 My NYE was spent running 23km along the road then jumping into a car to be driven around the Rakaia River, which is a huge braided river that isn’t technically part of the @teararoanztrail. Once on the other side, I hiked up to Comyns Hut. This lil ole hut was built in 1957 and was super cute 😍 I was the only one there so ate my dinner in the sun and retired to bed at 8:30pm 🛌 Unfortunately a possum decided to rattle around on the roof at midnight, scaring the living daylights out of me 😨 I reckon I probably slept 5hrs total 🥴 The morning was spent crisscrossing a river, which was mentally draining 🤯 But then the trail climbed up a saddle which turned into super fun, runnable terrain 🏃🏼‍♀️ I met @tommys_films a lot earlier than expected so decided to bash out tomorrow’s kms, to shave a day off my schedule 🤗 It was a cruisy 26km along open grassy fields however it was made hard due to smoke that had blown over from Australia 😱 It was really eerie and quite confronting. My throat was constantly dry and I drank about 3 litres of water. I can only imagine what it is like back in Aus 😢 Am thinking of everyone back home and praying the fires get under control soon 🙏🏻

Day 53 (01/02): 39km / 2120m vert / 10hr30 (Camp Stream Hut)
Day 54 (01/03): 49km / 540m vert / 8hrs (Braemer Rd)  Yesterday I entered the mountains by myself again 😯 It was stormy and raining, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. I had to crisscross my way up a river for 7km which sucked 😰 But then the trail went up, up and up - across scree and tussocky hills. The sun came out and the views were pretty magic 🤩 I made really good time so decided to push onto an extra hut...which meant climbing over the highest point in the trail 🏔 I reached Camp Stream hut at 7:30pm and was knackered. This morning it was a beautiful 20km run across the ridge overlooking Lake Tekapo. I met @tommys_films - ditched the bag, had a nap, popped my road shoes and bashed out another 29kms, putting me a little ahead of schedule 💪🏻 Today we also heard that our hometown, Bright, is under threat from the fires. It’s really scary. I’m thinking of everyone back home and hope everyone stays safe 🙏🏻

Day 55 (01/04): 55km / 392m vert / 6hr45 / Total: 2458km (Ohau River) Today flew by 🚀 I ran an easy 16km along the Tekapo canal before meeting up with a friend from London, the lovely @scooby469 🤗 We ran around the shore of the crystal blue Lake Pukaki, with Mt Cook in the background 😍 Bloody bewdiful!  We then followed a rail trail to Twizel before jumping onto the worst gravel road for the final 10km 😫 The rocks made it hard to run and @tommys_films nearly crashed the van driving on it 😨 But we got it done and I barely noticed the 55kms because we were gas bagging the entire time ☺️ Today was another good day 💜

Day 56 (01/05): 43km (plus an extra 9km) / 1438m vert / 9hr45 (Ahuriri River bridge)  Another big day in the running bank 🏦 We didn’t want to drive the van down the dodgy road again so I ran 4km to the trailhead...then turned around to officially start the day ⏱ I did about 12km around Lake Ohau with Kerry, @tommys_films lil sis, joining me for a few kms 🥰 It was super blustery so we battled through a headwind 💨 Then it was off to do the East Ahuriri Track with @tommys_films 👫 The trail notes described it is “remote and demanding” but to be honest, it was totally fine. We climbed up through beech forest and then tussock before winding our way down through the valley alongside the river.⛰ The final section was to cross the Ahuriri River - something I had been dreading for days 😳 We walked up and down the banks for 10mins trying to find a safe spot, but decided to listen to our gut and take the “bailout” option - running an extra 5km through farmland to a bridge. We might have been able to make it across but we didn’t want to risk it 🙅🏼‍♀️ Tomorrow I head back into the mountains for an overnight stay...but this time I’ll have company 🥳

Day 57 (01/06): 37km (plus another 6km) / 2406m vert / 11r30 (Stody's Hut)
Day 58 (01/07): 43.5km / 1000m vert / 9hr / Total: 2583km  (Wanaka)  Two more days down ✌🏻After running 6km to the trailhead, @riding_to_ruin and I headed off to conquer the Breast Hill Track ⛰ We wandered our way across farmland and scree over Martha’s Saddle. Then we hit a fun track that weaves up and down through the forest and crossed a pretty river a dozen time 💦 Finally, it was a massive climb up to Stody’s Hut ↗️↗️↗️ After a crappy night sleep due to some mischievous mice🐭, we hit the trail and climbed all the way up to Breast Hill. Freaking amazing views 😍 The descent was pretty treacherous and slow going, and it was a welcome sight to see the van. Quick pitstop before joining up with @followmywheel@robbie.w.right and @philrigby22 to run around Lake Hawea to Albert Town. I finished the day off with another 10km around Lake Wanaka 💪🏻  Tomorrow I head back into the mountains with @tommys_films and @riding_to_ruin 🤩

Day 59 (01/08): 43.5km / 2620m vert / 12hrs to Roses Hut
Day 60 (01/09): 23km / 1205m vert / 6hr15 to Arrowtown  What a great two days! Yesterday I kicked it off with 20km running around Wanaka Lake with @robbie.w.right. Then I hit the Motatapu Ranges with @tommys_films and @riding_to_ruin ⛰⛰ We followed the river up through beech forest and then tussock covered hills to Fern Burn Hut. Then it was more up ↗️ over Jack Halls Saddle which offered amazing views 🤩 Then a quad busting descent down to Highland Creek Hut 🥴 Quick pitstop before taking on the “most demanding section” of the track - 2 big ole climbs & descents of over 400m of vert each. ⛰⛰ Part way down the 2nd descent we could see Roses Hut in the distance. Geez it felt nice to take the shoes off after a long day out. 👟 Day two was much shorter. We kicked off with a big climb and then sidled our way alongside the river to Macetown. We followed a 4wd track lined with beautiful flowers before taking on Big Hill Saddle which lived up to its name 🥵 Descending to Arrowtown seemed to take forever and we were pretty stoked to see @robbie.w.right in the van, with hotdogs waiting for us! 🌭🌭 In the last couple of days I’ve made up a bit of time so I’ve decided to take this arvo off so I can spend time with our friends and have a beer 🍻

Day 61 (1/10): 53km / 1260m vert / 10hr / Taipo Hut
Day 62 (1/11): 59km / 780m vert / 12hr  Another two days down ✅ Yesterday I kicked off the morning with an easy 28kms on lovely gravel paths that from Arrowtown to Queenstown 😍 I was tired to start but after 5km, I felt really strong. I think the afternoon off and carbo loading with a few beers worked a treat 🍻💪🏻 I then jumped in the van to be driven round to Greenstone Station, where @robbie.w.right and I started our overnight section. We followed the river through beautiful forest 🌳 We then reached a massive valley where we spend most of our time unsuccessfully trying to keep our feet dry. We reached Taipo Hut at 7:30pm and had it all to ourselves...except for the resident mice who woke us up in the middle and stole two of our clif bars. 🐭  Day 62 started off with a relatively easy 28kms through farmland and on a 4wd track to Mavora Lakes. After some lunch, I then hit the beautiful Mavora Walkway with @tommys_films for 8km, then with Scott, Chantel and Ava for a further 7km. 🤩 I decided to push on and knock off the 18km long Mararoa River Trail. This was possible the worst trail of the trip so far 😭 Grass as high as my chest. Markers which were hard to see. Marshy bogs which went up to my thigh. Oh, and it started raining ☔️ I tripped regularly. It was slow and I was getting very frustrated. Thankfully @tommys_films met me for the final 7kms which made it a little more fun. We were completely soaked through by the time we got to the van 🥶 But I’m glad that section is over and the forecast for the next 5 days looks good 🤞🏻

Note:  Lucy seems to be about 2+ days ahead of schedule, and has <5 days to go!  If all goes well she should set a new FKT by about 10 days!

Day 63 (1/12): 48.5km / 1731m vert / 11hrs to Lower Wairaki Hut

Day 64 (1/13): 37.5km / 1424m vert / 10hrs  We are getting closer and closer to the end 🥳 But that doesn’t mean my days are getting any easier 😕🤣 After recovering from the harrowing end to Day 62, yesterday started with a leisurely 20kms on the road 👟 Then @tommys_films and I suited up to take on the Takitimu Track 🎒 It started off as fun, twisty forest but every 5kms or so it would turn to boggy tussock covered fields. Every second step would send us ankle deep in stinky mud. 💩  We reached Aparima Hut and decided to push onto the next hut. Thankfully the trail turned back to forest so the next 3.5hrs flew by 🚀 We arrived at cute Lower Wairaki Hut at 8pm and we had it all to ourselves 🤗 We ate our dinner by a roaring fire and I finally got a good nights sleep in a hut 🤩 This morning we discovered our first error. The wraps and peanut butter hadn’t make it into our packs 🤦🏼‍♀️ So breaky was a fruitpot and clif bar, and lunch would be, well more clif bars.... Our second error was completely underestimating the trail. We ambitiously predicted a finish time of 1-2pm 🙅🏼‍♀️ But some slow farmland across Mt Linton Station meant we didn’t finish until 3:45pm 😳 I finished hungry, sunburnt, tired and covered in sandfly bites. But there are only 3 more days to go!!!!!

Day 65 (1/14): 55kms / 2170m vert / 11hrs / Martins Hut.  Well, that was fun 🥳 This morning I took on the Woodlaw Track with the company of Scott, who ran with me on day 62. We climbed up steep farmland which offered amazing views and saved a little sheep who was stuck in the mud 🐑 🦸🏼‍♀️ The track turned to gravel road and then through fun beech forest. At the end of the track, I traded in Scott for Chantel and the speedy Ava, who ran the Island Bush track with me to Merrivale 🤗 @tommys_films then stepped up, with a pack full of lollies, clifbars and about 18 peanut butter wraps, to take on the Longwood Forest 🌯🌯🌯🌯🌯🌯🌯🌯 We heard rumours of lots of mud but it wasn’t as bad as we expected 💩 In fact, we had a ball trying to dodge the mud by jumping, traversing and Tarzan swinging from bush to bush. We also ran into two of our fav TA hikers, @oap_adventures, who we met on the North Island but they are now doing the South Island in reverse.🔁 TWO MORE FREAKING DAYS!!!

Day 66 (1/15): 63km / 620m vert / 11hrs / Dunns Rd.  Another day done...and it was a biggie 🤪 @tommys_films and I took on Longwood Forest again...24km full of roots, fallen trees and branches, mud and about A MILLION SPIDERWEBS THAT WENT ACROSS MY FACE 🤯 It was pretty slow going in patches and a wee bit frustrating 🐢😤 Then I jumped on the road for a couple of kms before being joined by @robbie.w.right . We ran the coast around Colac Bay - pebbly beaches and farmland looking over the brilliant blue sea 🌊 The final section was a 23km run along Oreti Beach, which included a little river crossing. Rob kindly offered to join me...little did he know what was in store 👿 The tide was coming in so we were racing the clock....into a massive headwind 💨 And Oreti Beach isn’t your normal sandy beach...it was super pebbly which meant our shoes sunk deep every step. It was hard. Bloody hard. But we made the crossing and finished up the day with some very tired legs 😴 I also got a massive surprise at the end of the day. The wonderful @mlcassar flew in from NYC to see me finish. I am constantly blown away by everyone’s support 🙏🏻  ONE MORE DAY!!! [about 41km to go!]

1/16:  66 DAYS, 7 HRS AND 8 MINS  Stick a fork in me. I’m done.🍴🤣 What an unbelievable experience! I’ve had massive highs and lows ⬆️⬇️ I’ve cried and I’ve smiled 😭😁 This is something I’ve dreamed about for several years and I’m super proud of myself 🤗 BUT I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people, esp @tommys_films who has been my number 1 supporter for the past 67 days.❤️ Big shout out to @robbie.w.right@followmywheel@philrigby22 & @mlcassar who created an unbelievable finish line 🏁 And thank you to everyone who has messaged me over the past 67 days - it kept me running.🏃🏼‍♀️ Now it’s time to celebrate with a beer. Cheers @teararoanztrail, you’ve been great 🥂

Saramoira Shields on Death Valley N-S Crossing (CA)
DNF

36.5053891, -117.0794078

Start date:
Style: Unsupported
Status: DNF

 I’ve been working on this for two years (was going to try in 2018, but life got in the way) and Roland Banas’s trip report was super helpful. I’m both excited and nervous. :) 

1/08, 11:22:  Beginning the hike - north end of Death Valley National Park. 65 lb/30kg pack, 18 liters of water. Here goes!

1/09, 8pm:  "Made up some of the difference today - fairly beautiful hiking. Finished by the full moon!" [finished the day about 2.5 miles short of her goal]

1/10, 7pm:  "Resting and fixing up my feet after today. All rocky uneven ground from 6am to now. Truly terrible. Lost several toenails. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. :( "

1/11, 11:15am "Made it to the getaway car! Will clean up and get to urgent care to stave off infection on the toenails. Feeling good otherwise, thanks for following!"