Gutsy Athletes Tackle Tongariro 

Our Hillary Challenge team took their A Game to Tongariro, finishing an awesome third place in the prestigious outdoor adventure challenge.

The event requires physical and mental fitness for the eight member team, who competed in a five day series of challenges, including a 2 day wilderness expedition. The athletes are extremely committed and put in some serious training.

This is why they love taking part:

Luke Horton: 
Being my second year of Hillary I thought I had an idea of what was to come and being reigning champions, we were the team to beat, we had set the standard which also put a lot of pressure on us. As it’s my last year, just being part of such a great team meant a whole lot, and then taking over the captain role from Mitchell Herbert was a big challenge but I knew my team well enough that if they had faith, then I had to believe in both me as a captain and the team as a whole.
Cole Edwards: Hillary Challenge for me is not only about sport and having fun, it’s more than that. It’s about having trust in your coaches and team mates, sharing life-long memories and completing challenges you didn’t think were humanly possible.

Jade Darrah:
Mud, sweat, blood, bruises and tears,
I heard you got game, so jump on that mountain bike, change those gears.
Looking for the most exhilarating adventure, along the way you will meet tons of new friends,
I promise it will be the best feeling that never ends.
CHALLENGE is the word, with relentless views comes that satisfying climb,
It’s the memories with team mates that will stick around for a life time. 

Georgia Hinds-Haye: The Hillary Challenge has to be one of the most incredible things a teenager could do. Its hard on the physical side of things but it is definitely hard on the mind too. It lets you grow as an individual but by the end of it, you and your team member become a family.
To me Hillary Challenge meant going through the same physically enduring week my brother and sister have done in previous years.
Its hard to explain what you get out of the Hillary Challenge. It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life so far but it has also been the most amazing experience.

Mitchell Murphy:  Hillary Challenge is the epitome of secondary sports in my opinion. The reason that I say this is because it is so unique and combines so many different skills both physical and mental. The way that The Hillary Challenge tested my brain and body at the same time is something that is very rare and hard to find in other aspects of life. That feeling of being pushed to the limit and then pushing some more is like a drug. Once you have tried it you are hooked and keep seeking it out. The other part of Hillary challenge that is so appealing is the friendships that you make. Because you spend so long with the other members of the team you begin to know them as well as you know yourself. This time spent with these people makes a bond of friendship that is second to none. You could not speak to them for weeks and then talk to one another as if you see each other everyday. Hillary Challenge is by far the most memorable time of my life. The training leading up to the event, and with all of its ups and downs, is so rewarding and when you finish the event it makes it all that more satisfying.
Hannah Chambers: I think the Hillary Challenge is an amazing opportunity to gain skills and knowledge of the outdoors while having fun with your team and pushing yourself to your limits. From doing Hillary you get to go to some cool places while training which you might never have gone to before. Hillary challenge is a life changing experience right from the first day of training to crossing the final finish line to complete the Hillary challenge. 
Hillary Challenge Haiku by Danielle Goodall
We ascend slowly,
strong winds blowing from the west,
exposed to its wrath.
The winters morning,
seemingly laughs from above.
Conditions worsen.
Packs heavier than
a small child, poles in the dirt,
we walk as a team.
Working together,
we accomplish so much more
than a lone man will.
As we get closer,
climbing only gets tougher,
truly testing us.
The team gets a thrill
from the challenge, not people
who given to this.
Faster and faster,
we manoeuvre with purpose.
Thinking of the end.
Of the satisfaction.
Knowing we put everything
into the long week.
Months of training and
preparing ourselves came to
moments such as these.
Where the summits seem
endless, dreams impossible.
Where times were toughest.
One more step to go,
feelings of fulfillment as
we reach the summit.
Our limits endless,
as we clambered up and over
another mountain.
And soon, we are done.
Triumph and pride, surprised by
our own strength and grit.
But as Sir Ed once
said, it’s not the mountain we
conquer but ourselves.
Jenny Bloom – Coach:  For me it’s about recruiting young people with a little bit of belief and a lot of drive. With a willingness to try, and fail, and to try again…and again. It’s about seeing the thrill of success and the ability to pick themselves up from failure and keep moving. It’s about working together and developing a deep care for each other. It’s about seeing the immense pride on the faces of their families when they see their children come in shattered, having given their all for 5 days non-stop, having learnt what putting time and effort into training can do, and the sheer joy of having pushed themselves to the limit. It’s about teamwork! “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” Helen Keller