Runner sets challenge

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
NST RUnner
RUNNING WILD: Brandon Yelavich, turns 19 on Nov 20 and has gone from being in trouble to in training as he readies himself to circumnavigate New Zealand.

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Brandon Yelavich is leaving his troublesome teenage years behind and setting himself a cross-country challenge to circumnavigate New Zealand's coastline.

From February next year Brandon will run, swim, kayak and climb his way around the entire country, a personal challenge he's set himself and chance to raise money for charity.

"Through my teenage years I was in trouble with the police a lot and I've just grown up now," he says.

"Young people get a bad rep and I want to prove that people can change."

Having turned his life around Brandon wanted to give back to the community and is hoping to raise $10,000 to give to Ronald McDonald House.

But it'll be no easy feat to conquer the coastline of New Zealand.

"I didn't fully realise what i've got myself in for until I started mapping out where I'll go," says the 18-year old.

"I'll start in Cape Rienga then down the west coast to Stewart Island, around the island, then back up the east coast. It'll be over 6000 kilometres."

Brandon says he's always wanted to do something that nobody else has done and if he's successful this will be a first.

His early years as a competitive gymnast for North Harbour have instilled in him the discipline and mental fortitude to get through the challenge, he says.

"I know that I can do it mentally, it's whether my body will hold out."

Training runs from his home in Albany to Takapuna Beach had to be replaced with marathon cycling and swimming sessions because of shin splints.

But nothing is slowing him down and he's using the Takapuna Beach Series every Tuesday night to test his progress.

His goal is to make the entire journey in under 130 days, but to do that he says he'll need all the help he can get.

"I'm getting in touch with people all around the country to let them know what I'm doing and hopefully I'll be offered a bed for the night and a hot meal along the way," he says.

With just himself, his wits and a collapsible kayak to get him through Brandon says he'll just have to tough it out.

"It will be hard but when I'm lying on the ground exhausted at the end I'll have the satisfaction of knowing i've achieved something awesome."

If you'd like to help Brandon on his journey visit facebook.com/RunningFullaNZ or his fundraising page fundraiseonline.co.nz/AroundTheCoast

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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