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Stump the Hump: NZ’s only overnight endurance walk

Sunday 3 Feb 2013 8:34 p.m.

Southlanders pride themselves on doing things their way, and an endurance event held this weakened is further evidence of that.

The Stump the Hump is now in its third year, attracting more than 200 entries, and it starts when most other people are asleep.

Unashamedly quirky, Stump the Hump is New Zealand’s only overnight endurance walk. It starts at midnight, but this is not a race and you are not allowed to run. 

The objective is to hike 55km of the Humpridge Track in the Fiordland National Park in 24 hours.

Money raised from the event is used for the track's upkeep.

At dawn there are some spectacular sights, with views of Stewart Island and the Southern Ocean.

But this is no stroll in the park.

“I knew it was going to be tough but not that tough,” says participant Michelle McIntosh. “Never again – and it's my birthday.”

For Ms McIntosh it was certainly a novel way to celebrate turning 36.

Another highlight of the course is walking the Percy Burn Viaduct, built in the 1920s. It's reputed to be the largest surviving wooden viaduct in the world. It's a nice distraction, after hours of grind.

“We've been up for about 30 hours,” says participant Chris Larsen. “That plays tricks on the mind a bit. The pub before probably didn't help either.”

Keeping fuelled up is vital, and at one checkpoint lunch is served. After exchanging war stories, there are still many more kilometres to be completed.

It’s tough, but that's why "stumping the hump" is an achievement, no matter how long it takes.

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