Heaphy Birthday to You, Tricia!

Ten runners tackle the 78k Heaphy Track

Ten of us ran the 78k Heaphy Track over the Easter weekend. Helen Bradford concocted the plan as a surprise for Tricia Sloan who celebrated her 50th birthday last week. The eight guests kept the secret well, so that Tricia was surprised to find three others (Jen, Ange and Paul) at the airport ready to climb into a Golden Bay Air Piper bound for Karamea and then was gobsmacked to discover another five join the party later in the day (Rachael, Rebecca, Kirsty, Christine and Loretta). 

On the Friday night we had a swept-up feast in the backpackers. On the trail, we economised on weight in the packs by dispensing with sleeping bags, using only bag liners and silver space blankets in the huts) and yummy (not!) dehydrated food.  

The weather on the run was perfect. A couple of us chose to walk most of the way, while one runner indulged in some walking at the end of the 37k leg on Sunday. We provided some amusement to crusty old trampers as we ran by. 

It was a run of contrasts. We saw the west coast bush and surf, giant carnivorous snails, kaka, weka, and robins, and maybe we did hear some kiwi at 4am even if we didn't see any.  The geology changed as we trotted along from coast to river to mountains.  The final scamper on Monday morning to the shuttle down 17.5k of trail through beech forest was also a thrill.  Awaiting us in Takaka were hot showers (thanks, Jen and her mum) and a welcome brunch.

We all felt a bit smashed afterwards with one of the party suffering a broken wrist (from a fall in the last couple of kms) and others some bruised toes. Those injuries aside, we all agreed it was the coolest Easter ever. Such an amazing experience in great company - trail running Nirvana!  Thanks heaps to Helen for organising everything and thanks heaps to Trish for being the inspiration for the trip!! 

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