Alex Asher attempts marathon a day for 31 days straight to raise awareness about waterways

JAMES PASLEY/Stuff.co.nz

Alex Asher is running 1100 km in 31 days to raise money and awareness for New Zealand's coastlines.

Alex Asher is embarking on a "crazy adventure", running a marathon a day for 31 days straight.

The 32-year-old Auckland man will embark on the 1100 kilometre journey along the North Island's rugged west coast to raise money for New Zealand's waterways.

From January 2 he plans on running 50km a day for 31 days, as well as swimming the three main harbours between Wellington and Cape Reinga - two of which are "shark infested".

Alex Asher will run 1100 kilometres in on month to raise money and awareness of New Zealand's coastlines.
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Alex Asher will run 1100 kilometres in on month to raise money and awareness of New Zealand's coastlines.

There will be no roads, unless he has no other choice. Instead it'll be beach, coast and farm land.

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Asher has been training since February, and this is his second "crazy adventure", after completing a run along the North Island's east coast over 63 days in 2011.

Asher is chairman of environmental education charity Sustainable Coastlines.
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Asher is chairman of environmental education charity Sustainable Coastlines.

Alongside his daily marathons, Asher will be swimming across three west coast harbours, and two in particular, Manukau and Kaipara, are "shark infested", he said.

The great whites in these harbours don't usually look for large prey, Asher said, but as a precaution he'll be followed by a boat in both harbours.

He'll also have a shark shield in the form of a leash attached to his ankle that sends out an electromagnetic pulse to deter sharks.

"To be honest it's still pretty scary," Asher said. 

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Asher aims to raise $8000 for Sustainable Coastlines, a charity he's chairman of, that helps protect New Zealand's waterways and coastlines.

In particular he hoped to cast light on riparian planting, to prevent erosion and excess nutrients polluting waterways.

"Our coastlines are fragile. They're only clean if we look after them."

Asher plans to start running at 5am each day and be finished by midday.

"I like to stop and enjoy it, so my goal of 50km will take four to six hours a day.

"On my last journey I was overwhelmed with how welcoming people were on the way. I'm hoping for the same and to be able to spread the word about Sustainable Coastlines as I go." 

Running more than a marathon a day does not leave much time for rest and recovery.

"That's the thing that keeps me awake at night."

On Asher's east coast run he injured himself early on.

To rest his ankle he swam for three days until his injury healed enough for him to walk, then hobble and then run again. 

Asher plans to start in Wellington and finish at Cape Reinga.

 - Stuff

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