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!