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Running New Zealand the Hard Way

Running New Zealand the Hard Way

Adventure runner Richard Bowles is set to create another record in the world of ultra-distance trail running, right here in New Zealand. During 2012 Richard became the first person to run the world’s longest marked trail, the rough and remote National Trail of Australia, raising awareness and funds for mental health organisation SANE Australia along the way.

In just 5.5 months Richard ran the equivalent of 127 marathons, and traversed the treacherous dividing range mountains from Melbourne to Cooktown, earning the reputation as a hybrid of Bear Grylls and Forrest Gump.

Starting on Saturday 13 October, Richard will run the 3054km Te Araroa trail stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South where he aims to arrive on 15th December, just 60 days! The trail which opened on 3 December 2011 showcases New Zealand’s impressive landscape traversing down the coastline, through the forest, across farmland, over volcanoes and mountain passes, along river valleys, and on green pathways through seven cities.

Combining a passion for adventure, a love for running, and a determination to make a positive contribution to the places through which he runs, Richard is raising funds and awareness for Project Crimson, a leading conservation organisation, who have made impressive progress re-establishing pohutukawa and rata nationwide by planting trees, coordinating and supporting a wide range of maintenance activities, scientific research, possum control programmes and public education.

One of Project Crimsons projects is Living Legends, planting native flora throughout New Zealand, supported by former All Blacks.

Many people have run the length of New Zealand on relatively flat terrain and at a total distance of just 2,200km. Richard will run another 50% on top of this distance and on rugged, mountainous terrain. Richard says, “The trail less travelled offers the best adventures, and I’m all about challenging myself on a daily basis”.

It's one of the longest walking routes in the world. Hundreds of volunteers worked over ten years to put the trail in. The Te Araroa trail has never been run before, and typically takes hikers 100 days or more to complete. The trail offers people from all walks of life the ability to experiences some of the most magnificent aspects of New Zealands natural beauty and in turn educates people about the importance of conserving the natural environment.

Richard invites runners to join him on the trail for a run, and is keen to meet with the communities through which the trail passes.

… ENDS …

Richard Bowles has many years experience in the discipline of distance running and regularly runs 200km weekly on trails around Melbourne. He is the first person to ever run the worlds longest marked trail, and is the Australian Record holder of the 2010 Tenzing Hillary Mt Everest Marathon; Winner of the 2011 Tasmanian 3 Peaks Challenge (sailing and mountain running event)and Record Holder of the Wilsons Prom Ultra Marathon 2010.
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