Not since the 2018 Crush the Cargill 24 hour Challenge has the world of trail running been holding its breath for such an epic event.
The inaugural Crush the Cargill Longest Shortest Day (LSD) begins 8 pm this Friday (NZ Sheep bothering time). Participants will have the joy of running to the trig at the top of Mt Cargill (8.5km, 600m elevation) every two hours. What makes this even more fun is that it’s the longest night of the day before the shortest day and it’s set in the soggy foggy sunless quagmire of Bethunes Gully. And, it’s going to rain.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, this being the world’s toughest and stupidest last person standing event, a number of elite athletes are lined setting up for an event that could go for days. Last person standing style events introduce a new element to endurance as speed becomes irrelevant. Any of us can fast walk up and down Mt Cargill in 2 hours but can we keep doing it over and over again? How do we pace it so we get time to eat, drink, and poop without so much time that we freeze our arse off?
Chris Bisley, winner of the 2018 Crush the Cargill 24 hour Challenge is a hot favourite to take the first Crush the Cargill Grand Slam. Chris is coming off the backs of wins at the Old Forest Hanmer and Northburn 100 milers which should serve as worthy training runs.
However, he could be pushed to his limits by Glenn Sutton, two times winner of Northburn 100 miler and the only person to have finished every miler at Northburn. Glenn is preparing for the Badwater 135 mile race in Death Valley, California. No doubt the Mt Cargill climate extremes of low temperatures, rain, sleet, and gale force blizzards will prepare him well for the extreme heat of Death Valley.
Malcolm Law, the well-known adventurer, fun bloke and compulsive fundraiser could also be up there for the win. Mal is seeking to climb 1,000,000 feet in 2019 to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation of NZ. He only needs to Everest Cargill to reach the halfway point of his goal. That’s only 15 laps (30 hours) meaning he could take the next week off to rest before the next 6 months of climbing. Every two summits Mal does gives him an extra rest day later in the year so the temptation to keep going and going will be powerful. He won’t be in it to win on the day, but may get there by slowly plugging away at his bigger goal. To support Mal’s fundraising go here.
Orlaith Heron, aka, the Irish Energiser Bunny, will be making an appearance and is also one to beat. Orlaith eats mountains for breakfast and could probably keep going until Monday if her employer would allow it.
Stefan Rapley, one of the few veterans of all Crush the Cargill events will be hoping his superior knowledge of the course and his skill at pacing for the back of the pack, will give him an advantage in this type of event.
Event co-founder, Steve Tripp, is claiming that he has at least 16 hours in him. While this won’t give him the win he is hoping to still be going when the Otago Daily Times photographer turns up so he can get his picture in the paper again. Steve has been known to use dirty tricks on Crush the Cargill events in the past, such as calling up the Cargill ghosts and threatening people with cliched motivational quotes. What dirty tactics will Steve employ this time? How desperate will he be to avoid his first DNF?
Andrew Glennie, the other co-founder of CtC, is aiming to make at least one lap before quitting and going home. However, his dog, Archie will be aiming to win the canine event, probably by chasing Steve.
Although dozens of others have expressed interest in this foolish event, the organisers are still hoping that no one will actually turn up. If they do, it could be an interesting tussle. Will Chris do the Biz? Or will Sutts choose to go for the win?
So much is unknown. The only things we can be certain of is death and taxes. Oh, and it will be cold and dark and wet and miserable.
All in all a great opportunity to raise funds for the Valley Project. Please give generously here.