Cuppa needed after trail-blazing run

3054 kilometres in first run of Te Araroa trail

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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A man referred to as a hybrid of Bear Grylls and Forrest Gump has become the first person to run Te Araroa trail.

And it was a cup of tea and a biscuit Australian adventure runner Richard Bowles wanted when he arrived at Stirling Pt, Bluff, yesterday after two months and 3054 kilometres of running.

Te Araroa Southland Trust chairman Kevin Hawkes and a few hardy souls were waiting in the rain to congratulate Mr Bowles on his achievement.

"This is a record that cannot be taken away," Mr Hawkes told him when he reached Stirling Pt 62 days after leaving Cape Reinga.

"You are the first person to run the Te Araroa route through New Zealand."

Mr Bowles said he was glad to have reached the end of the road.

"I'm ready for a rest, ready for Christmas and ready for a few wines and some nice tucker. But I think I want a cup of tea and a biscuit first," he said.

It was an achievement he could be proud of, he said.

"It's nice to be able to leave a legacy behind when you do some of these things."

It was too hard to pick a single highlight, Bowles said. "I do so many kilometres in a day, I see so much. I'm in the snow line, then I'm on the beach with forest in between. It's all amazing."

Kiwi hospitality had been wonderful, he said.

"The welcome I've had from the New Zealand people has stood out. I have shared great meals, had accommodation put up and there were people joining me along the way for runs."

Mr Bowles and his partner, Vickie Saunders, planned to enjoy a three-week holiday in New Zealand at a slower pace.

The run raised funds and awareness for conservation group Pro-ject Crimson.

TE ARAROA TRAIL

Is a 3054km trail stretching from Cape Reinga in the north of New Zealand to Bluff in the south. The trail opened on December 3, 2011. The trail goes across coastline, through the forest, across farmland, over volcanoes and mountain passes, along river valleys, and on green pathways through seven cities. It's one of the longest walking routes in the world. Hundreds of volunteers worked over 10 years to set up the trail.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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