Kiwi veteran aims to break cross-US record

RUNNER: Perry Newburn is aiming to break a record.
RUNNER: Perry Newburn is aiming to break a record.

A Feilding ultramarathon veteran was due last night to start running across the United States, aiming to jog 100 kilometres a day for the next seven weeks.

Perry Newburn, 59, is attempting to break the record for the fastest coast-to-coast run across the United States, which stands at 46 days, 8 hours and 36 minutes.

He was starting from the steps of New York's City Hall.

His 5000-kilometre journey will take him through the Gateway to the West (St Louis), across the flat terrain of the Great Plains in the American Midwest and into American Indian reservations in New Mexico, before reaching Los Angeles' City Hall.

The goal is to reach Los Angeles under the record time, set by the then 28-year-old Frank Giannino Jr in 1980.

Newburn is no stranger to extreme distance running, having completed a 5300km circumnavigation of New Zealand in 70 days in 2012, which he ran for the Mental Health Foundation, having struggled with his own issues in connection with a heroin addiction for 16 years during the 1970s and 80s.

In that run he averaged about 75km a day.

Speaking from New York, Newburn said he could not wait to get going. "For the last few weeks I've been chomping at the bit to get started."

It had been a long 18 months of training, running on average 250km a week. The run is in support of Koru Care in NZ and the Little Heroes Foundation. 

The Dominion Post