Teen tackles Hillary Trail

JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2013
Reegan Absolum
Julian Raethel
BUSH RUNNER: Reegan Absolum tackled the Hillary Trail.

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There's no such thing as down time for Reegan Absolum.

He's just completed the harrowing 75 kilometre Hillary Trail run.

And he's only 14.

Reegan set out from Muriwai at 6am on Saturday and crossed the finish line 12 hours and 38 minutes later at Arataki.

Not surprisingly there were moments of doubt for the Green Bay High School student.

"Once I got to Karekare about 42km in I started thinking, ‘what have I got myself into?'

"Everything from my waist down was hurting," he says.

The Hillary Trail is no Sunday stroll and the terrain is testing for even the most seasoned runners.

But the goat track rewards with outstanding views of the west coast beaches.

The Hillary Trail's origins began in 1925 when Sir Edmund Hillary's father-in-law Jim Rose built a bach at Anawhata.

Sir Edmund would come to the west coast to unwind and prepare for his next adventure.

The Hillary Trail was developed through the joint effort of the Auckland Regional Council and bush rangers between 2005 and 2009 and opened the following year in memory of its namesake.

Reegan had never attempted anything on this scale before Saturday. The furthest he'd run was 21km.

He started running two years ago and joined the Huia Road Bush Runners with his father, Shane.

"Dad asked me if I wanted to do it and I just said ‘yes' straight away," Reegan says.

"I get excited about running up hills but running down them was definitely the hardest part."

School triathlon team manager and deputy principal Chris Woodward didn't bat an eyelid when Reegan told him he wanted to tackle the full length of the Hillary Trail.

"Tragically, I wasn't surprised," Mr Woodward says.

"That's just the nature of Reegan in all his sports."

Reegan was joined by his father and a small support crew who followed him in a vehicle along the roads and beaches.

Mr Absolum also ran part of the way with Reegan to keep his spirits high.

"I just went straight to bed when I got home and on Sunday I was a little sore so I went for a bike ride," Reegan says.

"I'm pretty keen to do the double trail run at some stage.

"But that will be a while away I think."

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