A Wanaka plumber is training for an unusual cross-country challenge this spring.
Jup Brown wants to run the equivalent of 60 marathons in 69 days in a quest to cover the country on foot. After running a Himalayan marathon in May, he wants to raise awareness and funds for stroke victims.
Brown, 38, said his challenge grew from simple origins. "I hadn't been back in New Zealand for a few years and wanted to have a good look at the country," he said. "I thought I might run it. My cousin introduced me to Nick Chisholm who had six or seven strokes in a row and has locked-in syndrome."
Chisholm, also 38, was injured in a rugby match. "The doctors said he'd never walk again and he went, 'Up yours, mate'. Eleven years later he can pump iron and he's teaching his muscles to work again."
Stroke Foundation chief executive Mark Vivian said Brown's run was a "fantastic" response to the suffering of stroke victims.
Brown starts his 2600km trek on Stewart Island on September 1. Running about 50km a day, he plans to reach Auckland by November 8. He has been supplied with a van and will carry a mattress in the back for overnight stops.
"It's not a race, it's an adventure," Brown said.By John Weekes