Fifty ultra marathons in 50 days is the challenge Emilia Lahti is taking on to start a conversation about domestic violence.

The Ironman New Zealand finisher will be running the length of New Zealand, a whole 2400km, from Bluff to Cape Reinga. The Finnish researcher will begin her run on January 18.

Along her route, she will be stopping off at 15 towns, including Kaitaia on February 26 and Whangarei on February March 2, to generate conversation about the too familiar topic of domestic violence. Times and venues for the meetings are still being worked out.

Ms Lahti overcame domestic violence herself and wants to encourage people to start talking and share their stories about this all too common reality.


"It frustrated me that the narrative was 'why did you stay?' rather than 'why did someone do this to you?'," Ms Lahti said.

After escaping her own violent relationship seven years ago, Ms Lahti studied a PhD in applied psychology and later founded the Sisu Not Silence project to raise awareness of the issue.

Sisu is an ancient Finnish concept symbolising courage and determination in the face of adversity. Sisu Not Silence aims at creating a global-scale cultural shift that removes the stigma and shame around those who have experienced domestic violence.

"Much like running a thousand miles, healing from past trauma and impacting social change are also trials of endurance that begin by taking one step at a time" said Ms Lahti.

Ms Lahti's ambitious endeavour aims to highlight the strength of those who've experienced emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

If Ms Lahti completes her goal of 50 ultra runs in 50 days, she will break the world record for the most consecutive ultra runs by a woman.