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Corporal takes on 10 in 10 challenge

NZ Army Reserve Forces Corporal Jordan Pratt has completed 10 of New Zealand’s Great Walks in 10 days for Starship Children’s Hospital.

15 March, 2024

Corporal Jordan Pratt says he wanted to “seriously stretch his comfort zone” after leaving the Regular Force, and the 500km ’10 in 10 Challenge’ fitted the bill.

Starting on 10 February at the 45km Waikaremoana Track, Hawke’s Bay, he concluded his 10-day adventure in Stewart Island, so far raising $22,000 of the $36,500 goal he’s set on his Givealittle page.

It meant completing one track a day, varying between 30 to 78 kilometres in length, and travelling between trails by boat, plane or vehicle during the night.

In all, CPL Pratt walked the Waikaremoana Track, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, the 78-kilometre Heaphy Track, Paparoa Track, Routeburn, Milford Track, Kepler, Hump Ridge Track and Rakiura Track.

“As the planning for this evolved, the enormity of the logistical and physical requirements dawned on me – is this thing even possible? I knew that if I averaged a five kilometre per hour pace I would be moving for no longer than 16 hours, leaving me with at least eight hours to sleep, eat and stretch.”

He put together a support crew of three volunteers who “subbed in” at different stages to help with logistics.

“The last piece of the puzzle was connecting with Starship Children’s Hospital as a worthy charity to raise some coin for.”

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Throughout his journey he met walkers who had connected with him via an Instagram page of his adventures.

“I remember Day 4, the Heaphy Track, being a very clear transition between thriving and surviving. The time on feet and lack of sleep had caught up with me and I was in survival mode.

“Then day 5 was the 55km Paparoa Track on the West Coast, where the miserable and sideways rain kept me honest, and I was joined by another Instagram recruit, Hamiora, who brought the good vibes.

“On Day 7, the Milford Track, I was greeted through the last hut with an incredible round of applause and back pats from about 60 hikers. Turns out that someone staying in the hut was following the challenge and happened to be on the track at the same time and had organised the awesome reception – the experience left me energised and amped for the final few days.”

He says Day 10, Stewart Island, began with a “hairy” Foveaux Strait crossing in 50-knot gusts.

“Another complete stranger, Jan, who lives on the island (former Navy and Army medic) took care of all the Stewart Island logistics for us including accommodation and transport. Covering well over 500km and 8000m of elevation, the 10 in 10 Challenge was complete.”

He says one takeaway from the experience was the generosity of strangers to help him on and off the track, often at huge time and financial expense.

“I made two rules for myself. One, don’t complain – it was my privilege to have this opportunity and possess a body which is capable of completing it.

“Two, embrace the suffering. In spite of the pain, sleepless nights and torn-up feet I was still the lucky one – it’s in times like these, far beyond the comfort zone is where true growth, gratitude and mental fortitude is forged – and that is something worth chasing and embracing.”

He hopes people will continue to support via his Givealittle page @10 in 10 Challenge, which closes on 31 March. You can see CPL Pratt’s adventures on his Instagram page @10in10Challenge2024.