The marshals were roused at 5.30 for the 2006 Avalanche Peak Challenge. Dave Watson was straight into his usual high energy mode, and it was infectious.
We'd all spent the night in the Arthurs Pass Outdoor Education Centre. It was the perfect place for us as it's right in the centre of the village and almost next door to the start line and helicopter pad.
The weather looked set for a sparkling day.
I was scheduled to fly early this year so was all packed ready to go while the runners were still snoozing.
After a flight of only a few minutes the helicopter hovered on the ridge right at the top of the Crow Slide to set us down.
There was only a slight breeze and the bright sunshine made it far warmer than in the valley nearly 1000m below.
I'd been assigned, with Sam, to the 'mid slide' position. Mid slide refers to a point part way down the Crow Slide.
When we heard the tramper contestants were on their way we headed down and ensconced ourselves behind the protection of a rock outcrop.
It only took about an hour and twenty minutes fr0m leaving the start line for the first of the male trampers to reach us.
It did seem strange to see this solitary figure go by, quietly absorbed in the concentration needed on the scree. No fanfare or applauding crowds to witness the occasion.
However he had a good lead at that stage on the next competitor so no doubt he was enjoying the moment for himself.
The first female tramper down the scree was hot on the heals of the first two or three guys, all of them a lot more heavily built.
Our vantage point was perfect for seeing people's different styles in dealing with the treacherous footing on the loose scree slope.
Of course these front runners (I mean trampers) were doing it really well.
The male runners start time was two hours after the trampers. When they arrived on the scree they brought a different and obviously more competitive approach.
But the coordination, balance and commitment on many was superb, and they flew down at an impressive rate.
The last people down the scree were a few slower trampers. That's different from last year when as 'tail end Charlie' I followed two runners down.
Once the competitors have all passed through generally the marshals follow on behind and walk on out to the finish line at the Bealey Hotel. However I thought I'd solve problems with my transport by walking 'backwards' over Avalanche Peak and back down to the village. Pat McIntosh was going out that way too so it was good to have some company for the walk.
I did make sure I took time to enjoy the spectacular, if familiar, views as I went.
At the Bealey Hotel it was 7.00 pm before the last of the trampers, and 'tail end Charlie' arrived. And like last year it was good to see race director Chris Cox there to welcome them.
It was a great day and an excellent event to be a part of. I'd recommend it.