The Schormann to Kaitoke (S-K) traverse of the Tararuas has been on the hit list of many trampers since the early 1960s when it was first suggested that it may be possible to do the trip in a weekend. This was finally achieved in October 1963, and was then followed by many more in subsequent years.
Later the goal became to complete the Main Range traverse in one day. In 1995 Colin Rolfe completed the first S-K in under 24 hours – and established a record that stood for many years. However, the growing popularity of mountain running and a revived interest in the S-K record has seen the fastest time reduced a number of times since then and it now stands at 21 hours and 23 minutes.
But until last December no woman had broken the 24 hour barrier. This has now changed with Lou Beckingsale running with Al Shelton and completing the Main Range S-K in 23 hours and 26 minutes – a remarkable effort especially considering their trip was essentially unsupported.
You can read Lou’s account of her run here – it is an inspiring read.
But now will her record stand for years as Colin’s did, or is it just the start of more women accepting the challenge?
Editors note added 25 Jan 06: Refer to post above for yet another record.