Crush The Cargill 2021
Happy New Year, friends! While you were likely making frenzied laps through Dunedin malls as the holidays were closing in, records were being made as Crush the Cargill participants vertically lapped all 676 metres of Mount Cargill! Let's catch you up...
The annual Valley Project fundraising event involves a 24-hour endurance race up and down our beloved Kapukataumahaka, the mountain dominating Dunedin's northern skyline. Starting from its base at Bethune's Gully, dozens of audacious runners take to its slopes at 10am sharp to achieve as many full laps as possible by 10am the next day. A singular lap is defined as a full return trip including a mandatory tap of the trig at the mountain's peak. That's 8.5km a lap! Many complete one round, some complete 10, few make it to 14 or more!
In this most recent Crush the Cargill, there was a spirited calm among the participants in its first hour and up until its last. Competitiveness seemed generally low priority throughout the event. Costumes were worn. Wet weather was endured. Somebody further challenged himself by carrying a kayak atop his shoulder, while another carried his arm in a sling to nurse a previously broken clavicle. Grid Coffee Roasters were on hand to fuel runners and their supporters over both days of the event. The Valley Project team served up a feed at the finish line for all survivors, including the canine kind. There may have been mulled wine in between.
Once again, former VP chairman, Steve Tripp, was responsible for
this awe-inspiring, mammoth marathon. After beating his personal best this time around with a whopping 16 rounds, he still had breath left in him to formally close the event. He awarded the Cargill Twig trophy to Brandon Purdue, the overall race winner with 17 laps to boast! Brook Thomas came in at 16, exceeding previous numbers for female competitors.
2021 was a notable year for Crush the Cargill. Entrants totalled a winning 112 humans and dogs. Michael Mitchell, Nathan Lungley, Steve Tripp, and Brooke all tied for second place, while a new Over-50 record was set by Steve. Technically, each of them covered the height of Everest, or the driving distance between the Valley Project and the Otago-Canterbury boundary-town of Glenavy. In the Cargill Canine Crusher category, a Border Collie named Hendrix managed a remarkable 76.5km in nine whole laps. Moeraki Boulders is where he'd end up had he travelled that distance over Highway 1. Fundraising efforts nearly out-shined previous years. Almost $4,000 was collected via Give-A-Little. The Valley Project team is immensely grateful for your contributions.
Even though the last standing participants had mud up to their ankles, bandages on their toes, and sore paws all around, they beamed with content and pride. It was inspiring enough to make me want to partake in this year's Crush the Cargill challenge, no matter how mad the feat may seem to be. See you on the mountain!