2017 Point to Pinnacle “World’s Toughest Half Marathon”
Written By: Shane Russell
This iconic event in Hobart, Tasmania, was the main goal in 2017 for Just Like Jack, a charity helping special needs children experience amazing adventures.
My wife Juanita and I met with Chris and Erin Duffy (Jack’s parents and charity founders) on Saturday afternoon to pre-assemble and prepare the five Medifab Australia Kool Stride strollers that would be used in either the 10km Point to Pub, or 21.1km Point to Pinnacle events on Sunday.
The strollers were assembled, tyres inflated to 55psi, brakes checked, and everything else checked to ensure there were no delays or problems come Sunday.
Kool Stride buggies for Steph and Joe about to be prepped and fitted with "race" wheels.
Whilst there, we had the pleasure of meeting two of the children that would be in strollers heading to the top of Mt Wellington the following morning, Steph and Joe, two amazing children with bubbly personalities. Steph helped me inflate the wheels with great gusto!
We also had the pleasure of meeting young Jack Duffy himself, quite the character and mischief maker as Juanita discovered.
Up early and off to the race start precinct Sunday morning, and the weather was looking glorious with a predicted maximum of 30 degrees, crystal clear blue skies, and just the right amount of breeze around.
I met with our team mates who were assigned to Team Will (DJ Willtrax,) with our goal to get Will to the summit of Mt Wellington and the finish line of the 2017 Point to Pinnacle, dubbed the “World’s Toughest Half Marathon” by event organisers. The run starts at the waterfront car park beside Wrest Point Casino in Hobart at 2m above sea level, then you wind your way up toward the finish at Mt Wellington which sits at 1271m above sea level, quite a climb! The first 10km climbs 400m in elevation with the final 11.1km climbing a further 900m to reach the finish.
Point to Pinnacle course details.
The day started well with myself, Jim, Tut, John, and Will in the Kool Stride, heading off at a moderate pace from the start, mixed in with the runners and walkers doing the 10km Point to Pub and the runners doing the 21.1km Point to Pinnacle.
Underway and smiles all around.
The first few kilometres were great, mostly shaded from the already hot sun, and people full of energy with a nice “race” vibe amongst all competitors, this is also where we worked out various ways to share the pushing duties and what hand positions were comfortable as we all settled into a nice rhythm.
We were making steady progress and had Will at about the 8.5km mark, when we were joined by Dave, who had pushed Beau in the 10km run then circled back to help with the job of getting Will to the finish line.
Making good progress at 8-9km mark.
From there the going got tougher as the mountain got steeper, the weather got hotter, and fatigue started to accumulate, having a fifth runner helped spread the load nicely. We were all in great spirits as DJ Willtrax had started playing some music while we pushed him along.
So much fun, judging by the abundance of smiles!
As we turned onto the Summit road at around 10km, we knew this would be where we would be asking ourselves to dig deep, block out any pain, and keep going as the road steepened, we were on a mission.
We stuck together, held strong, and with a mixture of running and walking we kept Will moving forward as we made our way up Mt Wellington, making sure to look to our right to take in the spectacular views of Hobart and where we had started, and reminding ourselves why we were all in this together, to have Will experience this adventure with us.
Look at that view, we started down at sea level.
As we neared the finish straight, Will called his Dad, who was waiting with Wills walking frame, as Will was going to be crossing the finish line walking!!!
Will and "Team Will" about to cross the finish line and achieve our goal.
Once we reached the point where Will would walk from, his Dad and the team helped Will into his walker, then Will, his Dad and our team of runners walked the final few hundred metres with Will to cross the finish line and complete an incredibly amazing and emotional adventure for us all. We had done it, we had completed the Point to Pinnacle!!! “The World’s Hardest Half Marathon”
Team “Just Like Jack” had achieved amazing results with all five Kool Strides completing their respective events with Beau reaching the finish line of the Point to Pub 10km event and Joe, Steph, Jack and Will reaching the Pinnacle of Mt wellington after 21.1km. What an extraordinary group of people to be around and involved with, as the photo shows, we were all very happy.
Team "Just Like Jack" after pushing four Kool Stride's to the top of Mt Wellington.
A massive “Thank you” to my employers Medifab Australia for introducing me to Chris and the Just Like Jack Charity, and for providing the opportunity to participate in such an amazing experience.