Two years ago Auckland outdoor education teacher David Williams says he was your “typical Kiwi bloke”.
But there’s nothing typical about Dave’s goal: to be the first person to successfully complete a sea to summit of the highest peaks on each of the world’s seven continents.
A sea to summit is exactly as it sounds – starting from the nearest ocean, Dave runs the distance of a marathon each day until he reaches each mountain’s base and then climbs to the summit.
Dave explains that he’s using the epic adventure as a way of raising awareness and $100,000 in funds for Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
“I lost two friends who had adventurous spirits to depression back in 2013,” he explains. “I started doing Sea2Summit7 in their honour, but quickly realised how much of a problem mental health issues are in New Zealand. The whole idea is about not giving up, no matter how tough it gets.”
The mountains are Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro, Russia’s Mt Elbrus, Australia’s Mt Kosciuszko, Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua, Alaska’s Mt Denali, Antarctica’s Mt Vinson Massif and Nepal’s Mt Everest.
Since 2013, Dave’s knocked off Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Kosciuszko, and next January he’ll take on Aconcagua – a 6962m mountain he unsuccessfully attempted in 2013 and 2015.
“Both times I turned back on my final day about 300m from the summit, my body just couldn’t go any further,” he recalls. “Mentally, I don’t want to go back to that mountain for a third time, I’ve got pretty tough memories and harsh emotions attached to it.
“But I have to go back, I just simply can’t give up.”
Dave will be accompanied next January by his good mate and hunting buddy, Matamata policeman Mike Boston who’ll act as his support person. Mike will not only help film the adventures but will also tackle Aconcagua, and then Denali in April, alongside his friend.
“Being a policeman in Matamata and dealing with people with mental health issues, Mike really relates to the cause and wanted to help in any way he could.”
Dave says thankful for the support he’s received since starting Sea2Summit7, and particularly thanks Bivouac Outdoors who’s supplied his equipment, and Yearlands Family Wines who’ve funded the adventure.
To learn more about Sea2Summit7, make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, or to learn ways you can support Dave Williams visit: www.sea2summit7.com