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18, Apr, 2010

Sunday 18th April 2010


It was a beautiful day out at Rawhiti for the Cape Brett Challenge yesterday (Saturday), clear, windless and hot (although it started out cool).  The Cape Brett Challenge is the second hardest trail run in New Zealand.  It begins at Rawhiti, in the Bay of Islands, along the track to the Cape Brett Lighthouse (and the Hole in the Rock), and back.  It is 37km of sweaty gut-busting vertical off-road running.  Of course Sean would choose it as his first running event to enter.  We arrived at Rawhiti before 8am and completed registration.  The long distance competitors (there is also a 17km race) have their gear checked.  They are required to carry 2lt of water, a wind jacket, a thermal top, a first aid kit and survival blanket, plus all carry several sachets of gel fuel/food.  After the safety briefing they were on their way at 8.30am.  There were around 40 competitors, three of them women.  Sam and I had an hour to relax before the start of the 10km Kauri Ridge Walk which started in behind the 17km runners.  The first hour was spent walking back along the gravel road to the start of the DoC track, and the next 1.5hours was spent climbing up and down through Tanekaha forest with spectacular views.  At the main ridge we emerged into a stand of 400 year old kauri.  Sam and I walked briskly the whole way propelled along by the other competitive walkers, and overtook several people on the hills.  Sam’s was keen for a good placing and on a couple of uphill sections I thought I might not keep up!  We were 29th and 30th walker’s home out of 75.  Sam was the first child.  We were both hot, thirsty and hungry as we hadn’t stopped once (Sam wore his hydropack and sipped as he went, and half an hour before the end I desperately reached into my pack for a water bottle).  We stopped briefly at Pukehuia shelter to take a photo of the view (in the photo Sam is more focused on those people coming along the track who might over take us!).  Back at the start point we rested in the sun and ate our lunch waiting for the long-distance competitors to arrive (the first 17km competitors beat us back).  The first Challenge runner arrived 5hrs 19 minutes after starting, and collapsed at the finish line.  What a huge effort in the beating sun.  Sean was 10th competitor back in a time of 6hrs 1 minute.  Sam and I were glad to see him, we had been worriedly waiting at the finish chute for almost an hour.  Sean was tired but elated.  We were very proud of him.  He and Sam had a swim to cool off, then a rest while we sat through prize giving.  We finally got home at 6pm.  Rory was waiting for us on the deck.  He had spent the day at Whakapara with Grannie and Grandad Gardiner, who kept him busy.  Neither Sean or I like leaving Rory behind, and we do as much as we can to ensure he has an active role in our adventures.  But there was no way he would have made the 10km walk, and it was too hard for me to carry him in the steep terrain (he weighs half my body weight!). 

We are having a quiet day at Whakapara today.  I am getting everything organised for Rory’s trip to Starship this week, and Sean is doing his monthly reporting.  The boys are ripping around creating with the lego, playing bat down with Grannie, building their Hot Wheels track, and have watched Kung Fu Panda. 

On Friday I went to work at Whangarei District Council while Sean looked after the boys as he wanted a rest day before the big race.  My good friend Dianne provided us with expert technical assistance, managing to download the footage I had taken on camcorder onto a disc (thanks heaps Dianne).  The boys did some shooting with their bows at home in the morning.  Rory shot around 20 arrows with fairly good accuracy.  His left arm waivers and he has to be reminded to move it in the right direction to line it up, and hold it steady, which he can only do for a short while.  He gives it heaps and gets great satisfaction.  The boys picked me up from work mid-afternoon and we went to the Surgical Admissions Unit at Whangarei Hospital.  Rory is going to have minor surgery in the next month or so at Whangarei Hospital, and the appointment was to give him a ‘warrant of fitness’ for it.  When we got home Grandad Gardiner had collected a heap of wild mushrooms.  Sean and I helped him prepare them, and we had a massive delicious feed at tea time.