Brook van Reenen, of Wanaka, plans to run the length of the country from Bluff to Cape Reinga.
‘It will be the biggest thing I ever do in my life.”
Mr van Reenen is planning to run the 3000km Te Araroa trail in September to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation.
The trail “basically goes through the middle of the country, through all the back country.”
An inspiration for the journey was meeting Geoff Chapple, founder of the Te Araroa trail, about 10 years ago.
Mr van Reenen had been thinking about doing the trail for about three years, and had decided it was the right time now.
“A few months ago I just decided I wanted to do something big and do an adventure.
“I’ve done a few things in my time but nothing as big as this.”
His journey would begin from the South in Bluff – “running where I can, and hiking the hills and gnarly sections, basically.”
“So running the majority of the downhills and hiking the uphills.”
The aim was to run “from hut to hut” along the route.
Two sections in the Richmond Ranges at the top of the South Island would require him to run on his own for about five days, and other times there would be two to three days before he would be able to reconnect with his support crew, which included his mother.
Mr van Reenen had been preparing for the journey by taking part in events including the Queenstown marathon, and the 27km Luxmore Grunt on the Kepler Track in Fiordland National Park.
It would be a mental challenge to keep running across such a distance.
“It is going to be quite monotonous, running every day and not knowing what is going on in the real world”.
Mr van Reenen had a target of raising $5000 for the Mental Health Foundation.
Friends had been affected by mental health issues, he said.
“It is going to be good to support them and give back.”
Mr van Reenen hoped his journey would raise awareness of the benefits of taking part in outdoor activities for mental health.
“Just by getting outside, even for an hour or so,” was beneficial.
Another aim was making friends along the way, who he hoped would also be able to raise funds or give.
“I want to connect with other people throughout the country, and they can come and join me.
“I’m doing this because nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and I don’t want them to face it on their own,” Mr van Reenan said.