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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Day 37: Rest day

Day 37 today & the expedition has stopped for the first time! Jez has decided on his first rest day.  He is enjoying the rest & the photographers have been showing him some amazing footage.

Our rest stop for the night - near Lake Emily




His progress until today has been extraordinary, covering an average of 40 miles/day, but it's been much slower than he expected due to the difficult conditions under foot - the most challenging that he has ever experienced. Therefore his days have been much longer than we expected. 3 days ago he finished at 4.30am having run a a very difficult mountain pass involving a lot of river wading & scrambling in the dark. Last night he came in at 2.30am & consumed a large meal of chicken & sausage pasta followed by chocolate pudding & custard! 

The weather has been very mixed but lots of cold rain in the last few days, & we can now see large amounts of fresh snow on the mountains. Jez would have been running through snow if he had been out today. The heaters are working full time here in the camper vans. So much for the New Zealand summer!  

Yesterday we had an interesting challenge - to cross the Raikia River, one of the big rivers draining the Southern Alps. It is considered to be a 'hazard zone' by the Te Araroa Trust & attempted crossings are not recommended. Most Te Araroa walkers drive round but Jez, using 'human power only', had the choice of a river crossing or a 35-mile cycle ride on a very modest mountain bike that is too small for him. 

So Jamie, Matteo (photography team) & I left the van at 5am to survey the possibility of a crossing. The river is about 2.5km wide at the place where we wanted to cross it, & it is braided in the summer ie composed of multiple smaller rivers separated by shingle islands. I got across all the flows by wading, often having to try different crossings points that were shallow enough to be safe. However, the last crossing was several hundred metres wide, deep, & fast-flowing. We are carrying an inflatable kayak but have no experience of using it to cross fast-moving water. We returned & put the options to Jez - he chose the river crossing.

So back to the river with the inflatable kayak where Jez & I started the crossing with the mini-helicopter buzzing overhead taking aerial photos. We reached the large final crossing, prepared the kayak, & Jez was off! My anxiety evaporated as he rapidly made progress, & within 15 minutes I could see a tiny figure carrying the kayak across the rough ground on the opposite bank up to Jamie in the camper van where Jez could eat, have a cuppa, grab his running kit, & disappear back into the mountains.

We have another similar crossing tomorrow but we have had heavy rain again today so we shall have to be very careful. He won't want to fail this next crossing as the cycle round is 50 miles. 

I would like to stress that we are well equipped, & experienced with river crossings. Jez & the team fully support the Te Araroa Trust's view that the Raikia & Rangitata rivers are significant hazard zones, crossings of which should not be attempted without appropriate expertise (as for Cook Strait).


Jez making the water crossing

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rest well and recover fast Jez, hope you get back on track quickly and safely. Thinking of you whilst watching the snow fall in Knowle :-) Woody x

Anonymous said...

Keep going Jez and enjoy the rest day; getting this far without a day off is amazing. I'm also having a day off today, but that is because snow has closed the schools here:-) Matt G

Mark garratt said...

Amazing journey Jez good luck with the rest of the journey . Unbelievable with the weather my uncle lives in Australia and there experiencing 40 degrees heat

Sophie Bragg said...

A well deserved rest JB - I can't believe you far you have got so far without one. You are an inspiration :)

I hope the rest gives you the extra beans you need to complete your adventure.

S x

Eric@URP said...

Incredible job Jez. Keep up the strong work!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your rest day, your amazing. I'll be out on the whw tomorrow with some of your friends and I'm sure we'll all be talking about your adventures. Ellen x

Keith Hughes said...

Rest well Jezz, that river crossing sounded awesome !

Steven Morris said...

Just caught up on the blog having not read it for a few days and now need to lie down and recover !! Amazing stuff. Have you boys considered what life is going to be like when you return home ? Perhaps you shuld sign up for Ranulph Fiennes walk to the S Pole ! You should just about get there in time for the start in March !

L. Armstrong said...

Jez, I can lend you a bike, as I'll probably not be using it for a while.

All the best
Lance

Nigel Taylor said...

Read every blog . I am an avid reader of travel books and the blog is as good as the best of those . A stunning account of a spectacular adventure . Jez - how do you run not just the distance but over that terrain for that length of time and in such varying conditions . Awesome is barely sufficient as a description of this continuing achievement .
And then crossing the Cook straight ! Well done Mark . I know how supportive you are . You and James have been kept a bit busy . It has proved to be a great team . All the very best to all of you. Keep the blogs coming

Anonymous said...

Top top effort JB
Teerain looks amazing, if not a little more challenging than expected...A well deserved rest day before last big push.
Keep up the good work and stay safe...
Pat
ps. Long Mynd on 16/3 with MG and poss SP ;o)

Speckled Mouse said...

It'll be interesting to see if anyone else decides to do this challenge after Jez. The terrain just sounds too technical for anybody other than one of the best in the world to take on.
Rest well, you'll need it.

feetusonline said...

ENJOY YOUR WELL-EARNED REST JEZ! This adventure blog is the best running-related material on the internet at the moment.

Keep safe, and enjoy the remainder!

Lee from feetus.co.uk

L. Armstrong said...

Oh, one more thing Jez. if you get tired, just eat one of the patches in my puncture repair kit and you will be able to run at 25 mph for days on end.

Your pal
Lance

Anonymous said...

great blog just caught up with last few days great ruining!!!
May

Laspa health and beauty said...

amazing jez. I have been following your journey and I cant imagine how difficult it is. a real achievement for you. my favourite part of your blog was when you reunited with gemma (my friend from work). I thought that was touching.

good luck with the rest of your journey!!

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