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great run details

All the other great walks seem to have runs on is it fair that the Milford Track doesn't?  Well, we aim to remedy that situation.  But 50 km isn't really all that long--and besides, the cost of a boat ride to the start pretty much already blows our dirtbag budget out of the water, so...

Eureka!  We'll get to the start by cruising up and over the wickedly cool Dore Pass! Now that is a race worth writing home about (and carrying a camera for!).

Schedule: (tentative and subject to change)
  • Friday, Date TBD (2018): pre-race meeting (night before).  Knob's Flat
  • Transport options include sorting yourself out on your own (free!) or connecting with us to sort out a shuttle, which will vary in cost depending on whether we can manage it or have to get a commercial company like Trips and Tramps to help out. Either way, you (or your group) need to get a vehicle up to Milford or at least have a seat in one for a ride back to Knobs, unless you're planning to be the first person to try the full loop! Shuttle times from Milford will be arranged to allow for Friday travel, so expect something around 5-7pm, TBD. 
  • Saturday, Date TBD (2018): race start--approx. 6 am, maybe earlier.
  • race cutoff--TBD. Note, there will be a cutoff at Glade House (at the start of the Milford Track) that is enforced to ensure that runners unlikely to complete the race in the required time can be transported back to Te Anau Downs via one of the days boats. Such transport will be at the racers own cost, but we will help arrange.
Cost:  TBD. in 2017 the cost was $30 and included victuals at the end (aka food usable by people), shared fuel, and boat transfer from Sandfly point. Costs will vary to reflect actual charges of services. FEAR society is a not for profit society and will not profit from entry fees to this or any event. 

Map: Have a look at and zoom into the Milford Track area for maps.  The start of the race will be near Knob's flat or Kiosk creek. The Dore pass route starts a few km to the North. Also, HERE is a MapMyRun of the course.

Categories:  male, female, junior (under 18). 

Recommended gear:   
  • Headtorch with spare batteries (just in case)
  • suitable clothing and footwear
  • space blanket or emergency shelter
  • 1 extra, dry insulating later
  • drybags sufficient to hold gear
  • PLB (per person, or if travelling together, per team.)
  • sunscreen, dry pair of socks, sunglasses, camera
  • sandfly repellent or head net

Cutoffs:  There will be an enforced cutoff at NOON at Glade house. If you are not over Dore pass by this time, then you'll be heading back on one of that day's  boats to Te Anau Downs (last boat 4:30) and we'll sort out how to get you up to Milford to your vehicle.  Our last boat shuttle from Sandfly Point will be at around 9pm, so if you just make the Glade cutoff you've got 9 hours to go another 50 km with only one big climb--easy, but not if you can't average 6 km an hour.  Be honest with yourself about your abilities.  You'll cover the cost of the boat ride back if you end up needing it, which will be anywhere from 50-90 bucks (2017 prices) depending on the boat. This might be Incentive for the cheap bastards among you to HTFU or do some hill climbing sprints. 

Risks management:  Dore pass is a marked route and in fine weather is relatively straightforward but in not so fine weather can be a challenge.  FOLLOW the marked route at all times, even when it seems like easier alternatives exist.  There may be snow on the pass--we will provide an up to date forecast before the race, but be prepared to source a lightweight mountain axe if need be!  Participants will also need to cross the Eglinton river to get to Dore Pass.  This means wet feet. Volunteers will be present for this crossing however to make sure everyone arrives safely on the other side...but be warned that if you decide to turn back before reaching Dore pass you will be re-crossing the river on your own.  

Once on the Milford Track, signs mark the way and the track is very fast except for the steep climb to Mackinnon pass and the equally steep descent on the other side. 

Despite the 'great walk' status of the track and its suitability for running, you must run within your own abilities at all times.

There will be a volunteer at Glade  where racers must check in and one sweeping Dore Pass.   There may be other volunteer locations along the track, TBD at a later date. They may have radios.  Details will follow. But regardless, racers should be completely self-sufficient in all other regards and pack enough food for the entire race.  Water on the Milford Track is plentiful and should be safe to drink. 

Toilet facilities exist at all of the huts as well as at select locations between them.  Use facilities when possible, but where not, please bury waste and either use 'natural' toilet paper or carry out what you use.

A time keeper will be at the finish line at Sandfly point.  A boat will shuttle finishers in a first come first served basis from the finish line to Milford Sound proper.  Racers arriving at the finish line may have to wait for the next boat, so be prepared.  There is an enclosed shelter at the the finish line to escape the wind, rain, and sandflies if need be. 

Post race: There is cafe at Milford Sound Lodge that may be open, depending on when you finish. It serves meals until 8 pm so if you want more than that bag of chips you left in your car, you better run fast. Showers are available at Milford Lodge for $5 for those finishing before 6 pm (good luck!). Otherwise, you can either have a quick dip in the Sound or drive back to Knob's Flat (or beyond) enjoying in the ripe glory of your recent achievement for a shower.  

Accommodation:  Knob's flat.  There are cabins or tent-sites available, though the cabins will require pre-booking.  We'll reserve enough campsites a few weeks out to hopefully accommodate expected numbers, so if you call to book please ask for a 'fear society' spot.   Overflow camping may be available at nearby Kiosk Creek or other DOC sites, or 20 km to the south at Te Anau Downs.  Pre-Race meeting will be at Knob's Flat, as described in the schedule. You are responsible for your own camp fees.  

Caravan camping in Milford Sound at the Lodge (but no tent camping) is also available. It is about an hours drive from Knob's to Milford.

Didymo: Didymo is present in the Eglinton river which is crossed to get to Dore Pass.  It is NOT present in the other rivers along the track.  There is a boot wash station near Glade House, just before the big swing bridge across the Clinton river. Use it please!

  • How long is the race? About 10 km over Dore pass, plus a couple on the road from Knob's flat.  Then 50 odd km of great walk trail.
  • How long will it take? We expect the fastest runners to manage the whole shebang in somewhere around 10-12 hours.  Back of the pack runners will take 12 to 14.  It could take longer if the track is in flood or there is snow on the pass.  Or if you are attacked by a tribe of kiwi.  
  • What if I can't finish?  With over 15 hours of daylight we hope you'll be able to finish.  You can walk the Milford track if you keep moving at a good clip in roughly 10 hours. But you signed up for a run, so hopefully you're doing some of that.  You should only really be looking to do this if you've done some big stuff before, because it is IMPORTANT to get through in a day (or out via the 4:30 boat) to stay on DOC's good side, and we want to stay on their good side.  So...barring serious injury, suck it up and go into survivor mentality if you decide you'd rather not half way through.  Our finish line specialist (yes, we just made that up) will have a few emergency packrafts on site so if you arrive at Sandfly point after the last boat shuttle, you end up getting to add a 2 km paddle onto the end of a long day. Lucky you. 
  • Alright, that's all we've got--ask more and we'll answer.