Short Narrative Documentary/Drama
In December 2009, New Zealander Mal Law made history by becoming the first person ever to run NZ’s 7 mainland Great Walks in just 7 days — a total distance of 360 kms in the longest week of his life.
It was an adventure to honor the memory of his brother Alan, who died as a teenager from leukemia.
In completing the 7in7 Mal raised more than $85,000 for the Leukemia & Blood Foundation of NZ and so helped make a huge difference to people suffering from this cruel illness.
Mal Law Quote:
I suspect that the experience of losing my ‘big bro’ when I was just 9 years old has had quite an impact on my life. It’s difficult to imagine that it hasn’t shaped the person I am today – for better or worse – in some way or other. Perhaps this is what gives me the fight to take on big challenges? Who knows? No matter.
Alan, this one is for you bro’
On Saturday 5th December at just after 4pm Mal Law crossed the finish line of the Kepler Challenge, bringing to an end not just that 60km run but also seven gruelling days of blood, sweat and tears. Mal had just become the first person ever to run NZ’s 7 mainland Great Walks in just 7 days. A huge feat of endurance, logistical planning and most importantly of all for Mal, fundraising for a charity dear to his heart, had been accomplished.
Mal was supported by his wife Sally, and good friend Casey, driving BaseJumper motorhomes kindly provided by RoadCraft. Between them this pair drove around 5,000kms in 10 days, which gives you some idea of the scale of the adventure. Mal, accompanied by a different group of support runners each day, ran an incredible 360kms of trails over the course of the week.
Fresh-legged support runners joining in each day made it so much easier! It all started in the North Island on Nov 29th with a hot 43km run around Lake Waikaremoana. The next day Mal and his support runners braved 50 knot winds and a hale storm as they traversed the high ground over the Tongariro Northern Circuit (41kms). Plans to fly from the central plateau to Motueka with the support of Sounds Air had to be abandoned because of the foul weather and instead the crew faced a long drive and late night ferry trip, with just 2 hours sleep, before continuing to Marahau for the start of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.
Conditions for this, the start of Day 3, were still pretty grim but as the 52km run unfolded the weather picked up. All that was missing according to Mal was some sleep! From the Golden Bay end of the Abel Tasman the crew moved up to the start of the Heaphy and snatched a few more hours kip in Brown Hut before setting off at 3.30am the next morning to tackle the crux of the Challenge – the Heaphy Track – which at 78kms is the one Mal had always most feared. There were some desperate moments during that 12 ¾ epic run, mostly down to sheer exhaustion and lack of sleep, but eventually Mal, accompanied by good friend Jeff Greenwood, appeared at the Karamea end of the track to meet the helicopter that was to fly Mal south to Glenorchy.
Waiting for the sandflies at the end of the Milford After finally getting a good night’s sleep Mal teamed up with fresh support runners and headed off in perfect blue-sky conditions to knock off the Routeburn (32km) and the following day the Milford (54 km)tracks, before showing up at the Kepler Challenge race briefing in Te Anau, still in running clothes, to receive a standing ovation from a hall full of runners – a moment he described as “truly humbling and very, very special”
The final run over the Kepler was done in the company of six close friends, all of whom had supported him on one of the earlier tracks. Mal fondly recalls it as “one of the very best days of my life – we ran together for 10 hours in perfect conditions and the smiles never left our faces. It was the perfect end to a perfect week”. And the end was indeed an emotional affair, with wife Sally and many other supporters already in tears when, after 66 hours of running over 7 days, Mal finally crossed the line and was showered with champagne!
The celebrations start! So the physical challenge, which many had suggested was not possible, had been completed. But for Mal the greatest satisfaction came from having raised an unprecedented $85,000 for the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation and the feeling that he had honoured the memory of his brother Alan, who died from leukaemia as a teenager, in a rather special way.
IMDb Page imdb.com/title/tt1677535/
Finalist at 2010 Wanaka Mountain Film Festival, NZ
Screened in 2011 Heart of Gold International Film Festival, Australia
Nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 British Independent Film Festival http://www.britishindependentfilmfestival.com/