High Five-0 Challenge Day 47 - Kohukohunui (Hunuas): The end literally in sight

The following is taken from the High Five-0 Challenge Blog

The thing about the trails and the mountains is that they're a brilliant metaphor for life, really. You climb and climb and climb and you think you're never going to see the end of it but the summit gives you the most rewarding views and you get to the other side of the mountain in the end and look back at the difficult traverse and all the nasty stuff you had to overcome to realise it was all worth it.

Well, something like that anyway.

Mal is always smiling on the photo he posts daily from the top of the peak so, if you had nothing else to go by, you'd probably think he was having the time of his life on those trails every day. To get to that summit, though, he puts himself through hell and back on many occasions. Today was no exception.

The top of Kohukohunui was rather inconveniently located 30km into a 40km run after nearly 9 hours of really technical trails, on the full traverse of the Hunua Ranges that Mal and his team of support runners completed for day 47.

"Not everyone can say they've done a complete traverse of the Hunua Ranges. It's pretty tough terrain – an endless succession of ups and downs in rooty dense bush all the way to the summit," Mal describes. "It was both a physical and a mental struggle. A continuous rollercoaster of ups and downs is much harder to deal with than a big climb; with the big climb, you get used to the idea and just truck it out but the ups and downs are a much harder way to climb."

The beauty of the summit was proportional to the difficulty of the trail that led to it. From the top, Mal could see as far as the Waitakere Ranges out west and the Coromandel on the east – but, more exciting than those, he could spot Rangitoto, the final peak of the challenge, resting right there on the harbour, teasing him, waiting to be conquered.

Mal looked down on Auckland, the city he called home for 25 years, and it dawned on him that it was the first time he'd seen that view of the city. "Even this close to my old stomping grounds, there is still room for new adventures and for exploration."

These adventures are, however, getting much harder every day. "I no longer feel like I'm getting stronger. That was really brought home to me on this trail. There was a large section along the Pukapuka track, which I've run before as part of the Xterra Hunua race. I ran it today about three times slower I'd done before. I see now that I'm normally capable of a lot more than what I'm capable of right now. That's kind of hard to deal with. I try not to beat myself up about it but it's difficult."

Mal felt desperate at times along his very long 11-hour journey on the trail today. "Whenever that happened, I found someone to talk to." He also had Elyse on his mind a lot. She was a support runner on Maungatautari last Saturday and shared with Mal her lifelong struggle with depression and the terrifying thoughts that nearly meant the two of them would never have met. This morning, before Mal's run, he read a message Elyse sent him, encouraging him to keep going and reminding him of how much he'd helped her. "Her words echoed around my mind a few times. Blimey, she's got a lifelong battle. If she can get through that, I can get through this. It was a bit of reverse inspiration and a reminder that this challenge is about people lifting each other up."

Cartoon by Dawn Tuffery

Progress so far:
1533kms run
77,758 metres climbed
401h50 total time on feet

Mal is attempting the most audacious feat of endurance ever attempted on New Zealand soil - running 50 mountain marathons & climbing 50 peaks in just 50 days!
He and his support runners are aiming to raise at least $400,000 for the Mental Health Foundation NZ.
To follow his epic journey & see more photos visit https://www.facebook.com/high50challenge
To donate online go to Mal's fundraising page http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/MalcolmLaw/
Or you can text GOMAL to 2446 to donate $3 to the Mental Health Foundation

Made possible by the generous support of Partners Life, without whom none of this would be happening.

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