Runner spreads mental health message

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 13:00 06/11/2012

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Charity runner Perry Newburn was scheduled to pass through Nelson today, on a run that has seen him pounding the pavement for 70 days in a circumnavigation of the country.

Mr Newburn is raising money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation.

He wants to reach out to small and large communities around New Zealand in his run, which has seen him covering an average of 75 kilometres a day, since embarking in August.

Yesterday, he ran from Tapawera to Richmond and crossed the 5000km mark on his trip.

Today he plans to get from Richmond to as close to Havelock as possible, to help him in his bid to catch the ferry tomorrow.

While he is on the home stretch, he has no plans to take it easy.

The final stretch of his run - overnight on Friday - will mean running 150km from Wellington to Palmerston North in 20 hours.

Mr Newburn, a drug and alcohol counsellor from Feilding, started his odyssey in Palmerston North, on a journey which has seen him travel the coastlines of the North and South Islands.

"I've met some great people and seen some great country."

Mental health problems could affect everyone, most people had down days and if we let it get to us it could spiral, he said.

He said exercise could work perfectly to help people maintain good mental health and just getting outside and exercising was beneficial.

He had not raised as much money as hoped - he set a target of $30,000 - but said as long as he was raising awareness of mental health he was happy.

He had completed the run with one support member - Clarry - who had done an amazing job. He also has support from ENZED Total Hose and Fitting Service. "This has been huge to run each day. I'm almost doing an ultra-marathon every day."

Mr Newburn said the effect of the run must have had a big impact on his body. However, he had been aware of the challenges from the start.

He has no plans to stop running after he finishes his trip on Saturday.

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- The Nelson Mail

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