Running: Aussie runner scores a first

By Cameron Leslie

Just as one team starts a journey of walking the length of New Zealand, another one finishes.

Adventure runner Richard Bowles has just become the first runner to complete the 3054km Te Araroa Trail, which spans the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga in the north to Bluff in the south.

Just after midday on Monday, Bowles was officially welcomed into Bluff by Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

The 34-year-old Australian set off on his mammoth journey on October 13, since then Bowles has run an average of almost 50km per day. As he ran the final 32km from Invercargill to Bluff along a busy highway in the pouring rain, he looked just as determined as he did when he set out two months ago.

In five-and-a-half months, he has run the equivalent of 127 marathons, traversing the treacherous dividing range mountains from Melbourne to Cooktown and earning a reputation as a hybrid of Bear Grylls and Forrest Gump.

The Te Araroa trail, which opened in December last year, typically takes hikers 100 days or more to complete.

The trail traverses coastline and forests, crosses farmland, volcanoes and mountain passes, follows river valleys and green pathways through seven cities.

On Saturday, three members of the Paroli family passed through central Whangarei as they aim to walk the length of New Zealand to raise funds for Special Olympics New Zealand.

- Northern Advocate

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