The High Five-O Challenge (2015)
This was the project that took everything to a whole new level! Billed as “the most audacious feat of endurance ever attempted on New Zealand soil” it took two years to plan, train for and ultimately complete.
To run 50 mountain marathons and climb 50 peaks in just 50 days! Never before attempted anywhere in the world, this was considered totally impossible by many. But if you know you can do it there’s really no challenge is there?
Completed on behalf of the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, with more than 300 support runners signed up to join me for a day or so each. Then add in a support crew of six and a two-person film team and you get an idea of the scale of this nationwide mission.
In all the most important ways the Challenge exceeded its goals. It raised a staggering $510,000 for the charity and was instrumental in helping reduce the stigma around the topic of mental health. Physically, not everything went to plan, with injury, illness and weather forcing the shortening of some days. But 50 peaks were climbed on 50 consecutive days and the equivalent of 40 rough, tough off-road marathons were knocked out.
What It Meant To Me
If ever I needed reminding that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ this Challenge did it. The obstacles that needed to be overcome, both before and during the 50 days were immense, and the stories that these have spawned will make great speaking material for years to come. But most of all I’m exceptionally proud of the contribution we made to the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders throughout the two-year duration of the project.
The epic tale of the High Five-0 Challenge was written up, as it happened, in a series of daily blogs. You can read those here.