A number of people told Victoria Taylor she was too young to try to run the length of New Zealand. She says she tried to get a nutritionist on board for the child cancer fundraiser, but was told running 2,200km ''wasn't good for my wellbeing''.
So the 19-year-old felt somewhat vindicated yesterday afternoon, with the North Island part of her epic effort nearly done.
While she has picked up some blisters since she set out from Cape Reinga on September 1, she said she was ''feeling pretty good.
''There were a lot of people saying I wouldn't get this far but I think they're wrong. I've got this far on no injuries...
''To be honest, I expected this run would be ten times harder.''
The former Hutt Valley High School and Tauhara College, Taupo, pupil admitted not everthing had run smoothly. ''There have been a few ups and downs but I just get up the next morning and give it my best shot.
''I reckon if you've got the capability to do something [worthwhile] in this life, you might as well do it.''
She said she'd run at least 50km every day for the last 18 days.
On Monday, she ran from Bulls to Otaki and didn't get in until 1am. The day before she'd run 81km.
''At the end of the day, what I'm going through is nothing to what these kids [with cancer] have to put up with.''
Victoria, who runs competitively for Valley United, spent months planning the run, getting sponsors on board and so on.
As part of building awareness of the campaign to raise money for the Child Cancer Foundation, she got to know Chace Topperwien, a three-year-old Whakatane boy battling a rare form of the disease.
When he died in June, ''I just felt even more determined to do this.''
If she can keep up the gruelling pace, she aims to be in Bluff by the last day of September, or early October. That would mean she easily eclipses the women's record for the distance set by Lisa Tamati (43 days).
Sponsors have rallied to the cause. In fact, Victoria didn't want Hutt News to photograph her at Pukerua Bay because she only had the hat of key sponsor Mizuno on, and not their shirt as well. But she was wearing shoes from Shoe Clinic Lower Hutt, and also insisted we mention Apollo Motorhomes and Motorhomes Republic, the Telecom Business Hub in Lower Hutt and Purina.
Pak 'N Save Lower Hutt is generously sponsoring food for the trip but she said sometimes she gets in so late, there is no time or will to cook, ''so I've been eating a few takeaways''.
Despite trying to keep up her calories, she is losing weight. Some of the gear she set off in no longer fits.
Victoria and her supporters were to get on an Interislander ferry this morning - but she won't get to rest. She'll run on a treadmill throughout the voyage, so she can claim she has truly run the length of the country.
■ To follow Victoria's adventure, and if you want to make a pledge, go to http://www.facebook.com/followmynzrun
- Hutt News