The 7-in-7 Challenge: Hiking New Zealand’s Great Walks in a Week!

National Geographic Adventure tipped me off to this story earlier today when they posted it to their Adventure Blog. It seems that New Zealander Malcolm Law, an adventurer and ultrarunner, will attempt to complete seven of the country’s “Great Walks” in just seven days, in an effort to raise money for Leukemia research. If all goes as planned, he’ll cover 223 miles over the course of a very busy week.

Law covers the basics of his plan on his 7-in-7 website, which begins with the very apt tag line “It’s going to hurt!”. The challenge will get underway on November 29th, when he’ll take on the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk, a 26.5 mile trail that typically takes 3-4 days to complete. From there, it is on to the Tongariro Northern Circuit, which is 25.4 miles of mountain trail, before moving on to the Abel Tasman Coast Track (32.2 miles), the Heaphy Track (48.7 miles), Routeburn Track (20 miles), the Milford Track (33.2 miles), and finally ending at the 37.3 mile Kepler Challenge, a mountain run that is a yearly competition in Kiwi-land.

In order to accomplish his goal, Malcolm will be assisted by a team of support crew, that will help arrange rides to and from each of the daily routes, as they are spread out in different parts of New Zealand. Each day he’ll also be joined by a fresh group of support runners that will help pace him as he goes. If successful, Law’s website says that this will be the equivalent of running 9 off road marathons, while climbing Mt. Cook twice, in just seven days time.

In all, New Zealand has nine great walks, and the seven that Malcolm will attempt all fall on the mainland. The other two include the Rakiura Track, a 22.3 mile trek through Stewart Island, and the Whanganui Journey, which is a 90 mile kayaking route, and not a “great walk” at all.

For more information on the 7-in-7 Challenge, head over to the official website, where you’ll find a bio of Malcolm, who is 49 by the way. You’ll also find info on his support runners and ground crew, as well as ways that you can get involved with the challenge too by either joining him on the trail or donating to the cause.

Good luck Malcolm!

Kraig Becker

2 thoughts on “The 7-in-7 Challenge: Hiking New Zealand’s Great Walks in a Week!”

  1. I've done 5 of them with a backpack.
    Kepler is easy. Took me 2 days instead of 4 recommended.

    some sections are steep, if it rains can be slippery.

    Tongariro: same but easier (less ascents/descends). It's basically doing the tour of Mordor volcano (LOTR)

    Routeburn, did 1,5 day instead of 3, met an Israeli couple who have done it in 1 day. Can be muddy and more wild than the 2 previous. It's an excellent walk passing through some valleys of the lord of the rings (LOTR) set.

    Abel Tasman: very flat but lot of sand. I roughly managed to do it in one day. I did more with an inland part in 1,5 days actually. It's a highway.

    Lake Waikaremoana: i wanted to do it in one day but started too late. Did it in less than 1,5 day. flat and easy.

    While there I met guys who wanted to do the Milford in 1 day. But these guys were training for this:

    So no doubt they were very fit as it takes 2 years to train!

    If he trained he'll make it easy. If you can do a marathon all the way running, you can do it.

    The major one is the heaphy, the longest but I heard the track can be easily lost and it's not an easy one with a lot of mud if it rains.

    Anywa, very interesting challenge, an excellent cause. Thanks for sharing.

  2. @ Belgian adventurer. Walking them is not running them. I'd not call any of them easy. you have a bit of an ego eh 🙂

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