by Helen Martin
For the second year running, Event Promotions’ Tough Guy & Gal Challenge, aka the Mud Run, was held on 70 hectares of the McKenzie Hills property owned by Helensville farmers Mike and Leda Daniel. Home to around 200 cattle, for six days the normally silent hills were alive with the shrieks, grunts and laughter of thousands of competitors from around New Zealand slogging through water and mud, negotiating the many obstacles, man-made and natural, that made up the course.
Organiser Murray Fleming described it as “the toughest course in New Zealand, maybe in the world” because of the steepness of the hills, the depth of the mud pits and the sheer volume of mud
caused by the amount of rain we’ve had this year. Some did it for fun, seen in the number of people dressed up in tutus and other costumes, for others, in particular athletes running around the 6k course twice in the hopes of becoming New Zealand Tough Guy or Gal Champion, it was serious business.
Hosting an event like this is great for the community, bringing people here who would normally not come to Helensville. All our local primary schools took part and Parakai Primary and Kaipara College students marshalled the event as a fundraiser.
Mike Daniel says there’s a bit of work cleaning up afterwards, and for months he’ll be picking up all manner of discarded clothing items like shoes, tutus and wigs. But he loves it. “We do it for the community,” he says. “It’s great seeing the smiles on their faces when they get back.”
While spectators can see only the start and finish of races, a drone captured footage all day which was fed live to Instagram. You can see past events at https://eventpromotions.co.nz/tough-guy-gal-challenge/auckland/