Manage episode 273242659 series 2396344
Kia Ora Whanau. This week Eugene and Matt speak to Phil Rossiter,Old Ghost Ultramarathon Race Director and Chairman of the Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry trust. In an often-heard tale of people who travel to the West Coast, in 2005 Phil pitched up to undertake a one-year contract as an environmental scientist. Fifteen years later, he’s still there, having fallen in love with the people and the landscape of this remote and hardy place. To cut a long story short, Phil and his mates set about connecting two pieces of track that were carved out of the bush to connect Mokihinui to Lyell as a through-track during the gold rush years, but then weren’t connected due to the “rush” moving to other parts of the South Island. The Old Ghost Road has become one of the most loved running/hiking/cycling tracks in the country and is also the site of the iconic Old Ghost Ultra. The Ultra sold out in 23 minutes this year, and is renowned internationally for its beauty and brutality, not to mention the care and aroha that the volunteers and race crew bestow on the competitors. That’s without mentioning the legendary race briefings...which we did mention. Then there is the race itself, which will truly break your heart, no matter who you are. If you think this conversation is a stock standard breakdown of a race, think again. We talk about the transformative nature of the outdoors, the history of the area, and the process of completing the track, gender issues and how the Old Ghost has made strides from the start to address these. Like every episode of DCR when we’ve talked to someone from the coast we’ve come away inspired, enriched, and educated, and we hope you will too. Enjoy.