Mountain man ‘keeps it local’ with 54km run around Raglan

He’s training to climb a 20,000-foot Alaskan peak but to “keep it local” – and celebrate the easing of the Covid-19  lockdown – Dave Williams ran every road in Raglan last Sunday, a marathon effort which raised more than $1600 for mental health.

“It’s definitely up there as one of the more hilly towns in New Zealand,” Dave told the Chronicle of Raglan, where he’s lived and trained fulltime now for well over a year after previously commuting from Auckland most weekends.

The Wintec tutor in outdoor adventure education began his challenge – which was registered with the ‘Everydayhero’ website – from his Violet St home at 6.30 Sunday morning. It took him six-and-a-half hours to run all the streets in town and then the length of Wainui Rd out to Whale Bay.

One of the hardest parts was the slog up Upper Wainui Rd, he reckons, knowing he then had to backtrack a bit and find the energy for the final push out to Manu Bay and on to Whale Bay.

Dave had already done the 42.2km marathon distance by the time he reached Wainui Reserve.

All up, he says, his Every Road in Raglan Challenge came to 54 kilometres. That included a lot of unavoidable to-ing and fro-ing, particularly in Raglan town itself.

Dave says one of the high points of his day was actually completing his 71st marathon overlooking the “empty” surf from the top of the reserve, at the spot where he’d  proposed to wife Lynn.

Another highlight came early on – running Hills Rd at dawn to see the sun come up and to  reflect on an Anzac Day like no other.

The 35 year old is no stranger to personal challenges. His lifelong mission is to scale seven of the world’s highest peaks from sea level in a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

Dave has ticked off four of those already: Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro, Russia’s Mt Elbrus, Australia’s Mt Kosciuszko and Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua.

Alaska’s Mt Denali is next on his list, to be followed by Antarctica’s Mt Vinson Massif and finally Nepal’s Mt Everest.

His sea-to-summit challenge over seven continents – Sea2Summit7 – is about “never giving up no matter how tough things get”, says Dave, whose motivation comes from having lost two adventurous young friends to depression.

Meantime he’s also looking forward to a few challenges closer to home. Having enjoyed taking part in the Waitetuna Wind Farm Trail Run recently, he’d now also like to tackle both the Karioi Trail and Karioi Classic.

Dave’s in awe of the running, cycling, surfing, kayaking and rock-climbing opportunities right at our doorstep and is eyeing other ways he might help raise awareness of – and funds for – the mental health of young Kiwi men in particular.

“Too often we try to tackle all our mountains in life alone,” he says.

*Dave thanks Bivouac Outdoor for its ongoing support with both the Every Road in Raglan Challenge and the Sea2Summit7 mission.

**To help Dave make a difference go to https://give.everydayhero.com/nz/every-road-in-raglan-challenge 

Edith Symes