The High Five-0 Challenge will start on 7 February with a marathon and a climb of Rangitoto Peak near Rotorua (as part of the Tarawera Ultramarathon event). From that day on, Law will climb 49 other mountains, running 49 other marathons without a day’s rest.
The final marathon will happen on 28 March, when Law will run the DUAL Marathon, climbing to the top of Rangitoto volcano in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
The challenge will see the adventurer cover the length and breadth of New Zealand, supported by runners from all over the world, including local Kiwis as well as runners from UK, Hong Kong (China), Canada, USA and Australia, each of whom will join him for up to 3 days each.
The High Five-0 will be a celebration of New Zealand’s stunningly beautiful places, the adventurous spirit of its people and its long tradition of peak bagging, trail running and exploration. Law is aiming to raise at least $NZ250,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and driving awareness of issues surrounding mental health.
“I am massively excited – and more than a little scared – about the places that this challenge will take me,” says Mal. “Without a doubt New Zealand has some of the most beautiful, pristine and varied landscapes on the planet and I’ll be getting up close and personal with so many of them. Every day will have its unique challenges and will be shared with a different group of big-hearted support runners, so it really will be an adventurer’s dream smorgasbord feast!”
It is New Zealand’s unique geography and landscape that allow Law to attempt an off-road marathon a day in what are some of the most pristine locations in the world.
From stunning ocean views to massive mountain ranges, volcanoes, rainforests, glacial lakes - the most beautiful landscapes in the world are, in many cases, a short drive away from each other, making New Zealand the perfect playground for such an adventure.
New Zealanders love getting outdoors and there is a long history in adventure sports. It’s an attractive location for outdoor lovers from all over the world and is also one of the reasons the country has seen a massive boost in its events calendar for trail running, mountain biking and all kinds of multisport in recent years.
Over the 50 days of the challenge, Law will run over 2,100km and ascend more than 100,000 metres, the equivalent of climbing Mt Everest from sea level nearly 12 times.
The runs will be on challenging backcountry trails, covering the best of New Zealand’s untamed wilderness as well as lots of well-known trails and peaks such as Rangitoto Island, Auckland city’s iconic volcanic cone. Because of the nature of the terrain, the average day’s run is likely to take 10 hours to complete.
“Apart from the obvious physical challenge presented by the distances to be run and the peaks to be climbed, I think it is the sheer relentlessness of the undertaking that scares me,” admits Mal. “There are no lay days. Early every morning, for 50 days in a row, I will have to coax my exhausted body out of bed and on to the trail, regardless of weather conditions. Mentally, that is going to be very, very tough.”
An ode to New Zealand’s spirit of camaraderie, Law will not take a single step alone. On each day, to the top of each peak, he will be joined by a group of runners who will also join the cause as fundraisers for the challenge. Collectively they have already raised a staggering $126,000 and look set to smash the original target of $250,000.