High Five-0 Challenge Day 48 – Mt Donald McLean (Waitakere Ranges): Struggling to focus

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

"Do you want to hear something depressing?" Mal asked me as we were leaving the driveway of his Karekare bach.

"Go on."

"I got that Pohutukawa tree when it was tiny and planted it there on my 40th birthday," he said, pointing to the big tree on the side of the driveway.

"God, what are you? 250 years old?"

"That's how I feel."

He's not joking either. At one point in the challenge, Mal told me that he felt a year older with each day that went by. Today, he tells me that that has changed to two years per day. "I'm tired, I'm grumpy and I definitely wasn't in the mood to see people this morning," he confesses.

"It took me a wee while for that to change". By "wee while" he actually means about 10 hours. "That's how long it took before I started feeling anything half decent."

As they navigated the technical terrain in the Waitakere Ranges, Mal kept drifting in and out of the zone. "I had to really dig deep. It was a bit of a shame because it was a big group of good people and I just couldn't get in the mood."

Mal was surrounded by new and old friends, including a group of runners from day sponsor Fisher Funds, who ran alongside Mal and even had their own support crew who followed around all day.

While happy to be back in Auckland, his old stomping grounds, and glad to be running on familiar tracks to give his mind a little break, Mal found it really hard to shake off the tiredness. "I feel like I should issue a proper apology to anyone I may have offended or been short to," he adds.

Once the team got to Karekare beach, Mal felt his mood change. "Karekare is my spiritual home on the North Island. It is just uplifting for me, it's one of those places that I always leave feeling better than when I arrived."

As he continued his relentless forward motion, he kept thinking of Elyse and all the Elyses in the world who've been suffering on their own. "I just kept thinking of what she has gone through. If she can do it, I can do it."

"Like a horse that can smell the stable" (his words, I wouldn't call him a horses because horses are fast), Mal managed a good steady run for the final 5km of the day.

"I'm ready for this to end. There was a time when I was having so much fun I thought I could carry on but now I'm at that point where I just wanted it done," he tells me.

Now that he is in Auckland, it is much harder to focus on each day and take it one at a time. "There are a lot of the conversations around the finish, with people telling me I don't have long to go and that sort of stuff so it's very tempting to let the mind drift. I allow myself to visualise the finish but I need to keep thinking about taking it one day at a time."

One day at a time, he's done 48 of these.

Cartoon by Dawn Tuffery

Progress so far:
1578kms run
79,717 metres climbed
412h30 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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