When Andrew Hedgeman kissed the Stirling Point sign at Bluff at 10am yesterday the realisation kicked in as to what he had just achieved.
Hedgeman had just completed something no-one had ever done before.
That achievement was running the length of New Zealand in 28 days.
The 22-year-old Paeroa man set off from Cape Reinga on February 22 en route to Bluff. Hedgeman – who took up ultra-marathon running only a year before he set off on the mammoth task – averaged 80km a day.
His effort made him the first person ever to complete the journey in less than 30 days and admits he will have the utmost respect for the next person who takes on the challenge.
"I'll take my hat off to the person that does this next," a tired Hedgeman said yesterday.
The emotion was evident at the end of the leg, with Hedgeman describing it as "unbelievable".
"I'm full of emotion – to set out do to something like this and know you have done it is amazing," he said.
Hedgeman was welcomed by Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, who rewarded the determined young runner with a feed of Bluff oysters.
So what is the best thing about completing running's toughest feat in New Zealand?
"Knowing I don't have to get up and run again tomorrow," he said, laughing.
Along the way Hedgeman stopped at several schools to talk about his efforts and try to inspire children to reach for their goals.
He now is looking at writing a book about his feat.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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