from Dusky till dawn details

This page will leave plenty of stuff out. Some of it will be filled in as we get closer to the event date.  An email communication will be sent to all participants roughly a week before the race. If you have questions before then, just ask 'em. 

Schedule:  This is still a work in progress but here is the general idea--
  • Expect to meet somewhere Friday night. Probably in Te Anau.
  • We'll make an alpine start from Lake Manapouri where you'll leave your cars. We will transport you to lake Hauroko and the start of the Dusky Track. 
  • There will be different start times due to number limitations on the boat. You'll know your slot ahead of time (i.e. boat rides at 6 a.m. 8 a.m. etc)
  • We're working on a finish line with hot showers, beds, and even food, and will transport participant drop bags to the finish line location.
  • You'll be waiting at West Arm until the next boat ride out, which will happen twice a day. 
  • Specific details will be provided to participants as the event gets closer.  
Cost: TBD. This one will certainly be a bit pricier than some other events because it will include a chartered boat ride across lake Hauroko, as well as a ride back to Manapouri, plus all shuttling costs and possibly hire of tracking devices.  As always though, we're only charging for actual costs associated with the event (transport, food provided, etc). The first year the total was around $200 pp.

Categories:  Do we really need categories?  I mean, if you're not going to be satisfied just on account of taking on this epic challenge, then you should probably look at doing something more, well, conventional with your time.  Heck, I'm almost satisfied already just from having the courage to contemplate the attempt, without even having to set foot on the track. Almost.

Recommended gear:  
  • a GPS with spare batteries (per pair)
  • a head torch with spare batteries (per person)
  • space blanket or equivalent bivvy sack (per person)
  • Personal locator beacon (per pair)
  • suitable clothes (including spare insulating layer)
  • enough food for 36+ hours
  • basic first aid kit (including any necessary 
  • firestarting gear suitable for starting damp wood (piece of bike tube, etc)
  • Whatever else you think you need...don't take our word for it that this is enough!
Risks management:  We may not have volunteers on the course at all.  We will TRY to have a course sweeper.  The route encounters five huts along its length for those that decide a thru-hike/run isn't in the cards for them.  These huts are also opportunities to sit out bad weather, dry out feet, pray for salvation, or to do whatever else you might want to do when/if you realize that what you've mistakenly thought might be a good idea has led you into a truck stop full of bloodthirsty vampires who want to kill you.  [If the end of that last sentence baffles you, then ask someone older and/or cooler.]  

Participants are required to run in pairs.  Although we recognize the limitations of this, we had a few 'close calls' during the first year of the event and found that it was more often than not the top runners who presented the biggest risk because of the levels to which they pushed themselves. Lots of good races and events require teams.  Think of this as one of them. 

Post race: The race will finish at the West Arm Hostel run by Meridian Energy.  There will be hot showers, bunks to crash in, food, and possibly even rugby on the big-screen.  BEST...GRASSROOTS...FINISH LINE.  EVER.

  • Is it doable? The track itself? Of course.  At least two people have walked it every year that I can remember. If you're asking whether it can really be managed in a day?  Well, that's what the Russian Mafia is wondering too which is why they've asked us to host the event.  Word on the street is that some high-rollers in Kaliningrad have major fortunes resting on the outcome. 
  • What safety is provided as part of the event? Us knowing where you are?  Possibly a sweeper?  To be honest, not much.  But this IS an 'established' track (if you're not sure why established is in quotes, better do some research on the Dusky...don't want to spoil your fun here!), so assuming you're not in completely above your head, then the danger you face shouldn't be much more significant than what you'd face tackling the track on your own.  So it's really YOU, by virtue of your sound(ish) judgement, that is the main factor providing safety.  
  • Is the track easy to follow? Depends who you ask.  It is in theory marked the whole way.  But every year there is tree-fall that may take down markers, cause re-routes, etc.  We'll be doing it relatively early season and as the track isn't a DOC priority, some of these issues may still exist if they haven't done their annual 'spruce-up'.  But to be honest, even after the spruce-up, it's still a bloody hard track.  As part of my conservation work I've walked into the Spey hut more than a dozen times.  I still get off the track in some of the swamps every time I go.  Thankfully, I've always managed to find the track again.  So it's best to be realistic about the possibility of losing the track on occasion and have good enough bush skills that you're confident that with map and GPS you'll be able to back-track/bushbash and find it again. 
  • Is it going to be fun?  Yes.  FearSociety personally guarantees anyone participating in the event will have at least some of one of the types of fun during the event.