Friends cast rivalry aside to set new Mt Taranaki speed record
A trio of New Plymouth adventure athletes raced around Mt Taranaki twice - on foot and on bike - to set a brand new speed record.
Shaun Palmer, 19, and 20-year-olds Tom Spencer and William Adlam completed their epic run and ride in 17 hours and 26 minutes.
"I was stoked to do it, we had that real kind of excitement when we realised we were getting close towards the end, so we pumped up the pace," Palmer said.
The mammoth feat was attempted primarily as training for Spencer, who is set to compete in the God Zone 5-day adventure endurance race in Queenstown later this year, Palmer added.
* Swedish tourist goes tramping in socks and sandals on Mount Taranaki
* New Zealand's greatest gifts: Mount Taranaki
* Mt Taranaki gets a dusting of mid-summer snow
"What we did was just a blimp compared to the event he's competing in. It was his idea and we jumped in."
"It turned out to be an epic mission."
In 2015, Spencer and Adlam were part of a threesome that set a speed record for climbing up and down five peaks: Fantham's Peak, Mt Taranaki summit, Pouakai Ranges, Kaitake Range and Paritutu Rock, knocking all of them off in 12 hours and seven minutes.
However, the following year Palmer took on the peaks himself, and toppled his friends off the record podium with a time of nine hours and 58 minutes.
However, all friendly rivalry was set aside when they went around Mt Taranaki.
"I'm quite pleased we all did it together because now we can stop doing stupidly long races to beat each other," Palmer said.
Palmer attended Francis Douglas Memorial College and the other two are NPBHS old boys. "We've competed against each other quite a bit, and had that school against school competitive streak."
For the first leg of their latest "stupidly long race" they set off from the Stratford Plateau on bikes at 5am, heading anticlockwise around the mountain along the upper road that goes up and over Pukeiti.
"When we pulled up it was drizzly and blowing a gale so we sat in the car for a couple of minutes. We bit the bullet and just got out and did it," Palmer said.
Seven hours of peddling later, after a brief pitstop to refuel at the Stratford Mountain House, they finished the ride back at the plateau before walking off on foot.
This time they headed clockwise, over the upper route around the mountain and over the back country terrain.
They hit the finish line just under 10 hours later, minus a welcome parade.
"The entire way around we were talking about how we would go and have a beer that night to celebrate, but by the end of it we were all stuffed and just went home."
Palmer says he's not sure from where he gets his enthusiasm for such extreme sports, although his dad does a little.
His said his parents "have supported me and to some extent I think they are just pleased to see me go out the door and not come home for a while".
The racers' GPS tracked their movements throughout the entire race and they were given the official Mount Taranaki Speed Records stamp of record approval.