A local “running junkie” recently did what most people would deem to be crazy, making his way up and down Mt Te Aroha nine times over 28 hours to climb the equivalent of Mt Everest.
Cameron Ferguson took on the More FM Mt Everest Challenge over March 24 and 25, starting the 75km journey at 4am Saturday and finishing just after 8am Sunday, climbing 8,900 vertical metres. And despite reaching the summit nine times, the 25-year-old only saw the view once due to heavy cloud cover, coupled with persistent wind and rain.
“It was incredibly challenging, but my mindset was, ‘just one lap at a time’,” Cameron explained. “I’ve always very much been someone who wants to push my physical boundaries to the point where my body’s just going, ‘nah can’t do it’, and my brain’s going, ‘nah can’t do it’, and you’ve just got to find that way… it’s just a mindset thing… when your brain is telling you to stop you’re only at 40 percent.”
Cameron, who has only being doing trail running for less than a year, referred to a quote he’d heard multisport athlete Steve Gurney say many years ago, “When it gets really tough and it gets really dark, all you’ve got to do it put one foot in front of the other and you’ll achieve your goal.”
Cameron credited his friends from Waikato Trail Runners as being instrumental in achieving the goal, with members taking turns to accompany him on almost all of the ascents. By lap 8, Cameron started to hallucinate, thinking he was chasing a dark shadow up the pathway. “The support person behind me was kind of freaking out thinking ‘who is he talking to?’”, Cameron laughed, adding that he was not making much sense for around 15 minutes.
On lap 6 Cameron injured his hip flexor, making it difficult to lift his foot up the steps, but he carried on regardless, tying a piece of fabric around his leg to lift it with his arm. “Yeah that was a bit of a mission,” he laughed. “I learned so much about where I can take myself when the going gets tough, and mental fortitude… anything’s achievable with the right mindset and a bit of hard work.”
With the initial goal of raising $1000, Cameron and his band of supporters managed to raise $1865 for Waipuna Hospice. He wished to thank all those who made the feat possible, including Gu Energy NZ, Altra Running NZ, title sponsors Access Partners and Property, and Waikato Trail Runners.
“Without their support I wouldn’t have been able to do it, it was very much a team effort.”