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Cape Brett Challenge (Weekend) – April 2009 by Dave Yeo

Cape Brett ChallengeCape Brett Challenge (Weekend) – April 2009

The end of the working week was going to be a busy one with all of us meeting at Jenny’s house to head north for our day of making sure people were safe.

As we left the house on Friday night, it was a quick stop to get some food and away again heading for Rawhiti. The conversation was interesting to say the least as we wound our way up over the Helena Bay hill and down the other side.

A short time later we had made it, we were at the headquarters for the Cape Brett Challenge. With the hello’s and introductions done, it was time for briefing and a discussion on where we were going to be based.

After a night of sleep or ‘lack of’, it was Sat morning at 0600, and we were up and having a coffee. A final check of what we were taking and away we went to our station on the track. I got the best seat in the house as we started our climb up the hill to the high spot. A lovely table with a roof and a view to die for, I was setting up my office so to speak. Up went the aerial and a comms check was done. Ahh… I am ready for a day of relaxation and radio messages to relay.

The morning was fairly uneventful, lots of radio chatter and every one was happy where they were stationed.

Lunch time loomed up very quickly and then as I was about to put the billy on and make a cuppa, I was told there was a runner down. It was fast found out that he had no water with him on the run. I gave every one the heads up that I was going to have to leave my post and communications (comms) would not be very good. I packed up some gear and ran down the track towards the young man. Apon getting there, I did an assessment and some water etc… given.

I had asked Kane to make his way up the track to me for support, but for the moment it was up to me. I made the man comfy and started trying to get him warm. All of a sudden out of the blue, Sue (who was on the run and a background of Nursing) came past and stopped to help. Kane arrived about 10 minutes later. The man was not getting any better with every thing we were putting into him, coming back up again.

A decision was made to call in NEST (‘Northland Emergency Services Trust’ Rescue Helicopter).

Kane organised this while Sue and I managed to get the man back to my radio point, the only place suitable for a winch job. Twenty mins later we were at my radio point.

We cleared the area and waited. A short time later over the hill come the wonderful sound of a helo (helicopter). Sure enough it was NEST. At about 10 meters above us, this huge machine hovered and a paramedic started being winched down. He hooked on our sick man and up they went into the helicopter. Next thing they were gone and the man was off to get some help at hospital.

With all this going on, I had forgotten it was lunch time which was about 2 and a half hour ago. Sue continued her run and Kane and I sat down to a ‘roast with veg’ for lunch and a coffee.

I was on cloud nine, nearly three years in SAR and I have just helped someone for the first time. That is one memory that I will not be forgetting any time soon.

The rest of the run went with out too many hitches and at 1800 we were on our way back down the hill for a nice trip home and a dinner.

Dave Yeo


Helly Hansen Cape Brett Offroad Run 37km Challenge

This 37km run starts in and passes through Whangamumu & Te Toroa Bay before joining the Cape Brett track. The track is predominantly packed earth and almost entirely free of mud even after rain, but does include some rough sections with exposed roots and obstacles. Views all along the track but particularly at the northern end are spectacular.

Although all on formed track, this run represents a significant challenge, with over 2000 vertical metres of climbing, some of it steep. It is limited to 100 runners who will be accepted on a first come first served basis. Runners must be capable of completing the run in less than 7½ hours. A time cutoff applies.

Top runners are expected to take 4½ hours (for guidance a 4 hour Coast to Coast runner would expect to take around 6 hours). Northland Search and Rescue assist with safety, first aid, communications and some marshalling through this challenging event.