Slightly more than a decade after taking up running in his late 40s, former Wanganui man Perry Newburn has a world record in his sights.

The runner, now living in Feilding, is having a crack at the 34-year-old record for running across the United States. It stands at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes set by Frank Giannino jnr in 1980.

Newburn will set off from New York City Hall on September 1 covering more than 4500 kilometres on the way to Los Angeles.

Its something that you can dream and you think it might never happen, Newburn said.


The run will mark a milestone for Newburn who will turn 60 during the journey.

What better way to celebrate surviving to that stage?

The endurance runner lived in Wanganui for 20 years before shifting to Feilding four years ago.

Since finishing his first marathon about 10 years ago, Newburn has proven himself as an endurance runner. He ran from Auckland to Christchurch to raise money for Canterbury earthquake relief and later circumnavigated New Zealand in 72 days, about the same distance he will cover on the US run.

Last year he ran for 72 hours around Manfeild in Feilding, covering 487km it what was an unofficial New Zealand record for running without sleep.

The cross-USA run has been a dream for Newburn since he followed American runner Dean Karnazes doing it a few years ago. Karnazes, 10 years Newburns junior, took over 70 days to cover the distance.

I thought that would be great. At that time I was thinking what could be done around New Zealand, but that was always in the back of my mind, Newburn said.

So far this year, Newburn has clocked 4000km in training at more than 200km a week.


He said fundraising and sponsorship was coming together and there was much anticipation as the start date approached.

Despite what he puts his body through, hes managed to stay relatively injury free.

No major troubles, I had a few niggles last month, he said.

In a sense Ive done the training for it and now its just a case of keeping it going.

Originally Newburn was going to attempt to break the masters record at 50 days but decided he might as well go for the top time. Its a challenge but its do-able, he said.

Theres going to be long days. Theres going to be not-so-long days.

Ill just work through it when it happens.

The 59-year-old plans to document his trip on a daily blog and will be raising money for childrens charities Koru Care in New Zealand and Little Heroes Foundation internationally.

People can sponsor parts of Newburns run by visiting