Most of us would find walking the Te Araroa trail challenging enough, but on Saturday Brook van Reenen will set off from Cape Reinga to run the entire 3000km trail to Bluff to raise money for charity.
The 33-year-old Wanaka truck driver and delivery man said he came up with the idea nearly two years ago when he was stuck in a rut and wanting an adventure.
He said it took him another 12 months to build up the courage to ask his employer, Bidfood, for the time off.
“I didn’t know what he’d say but he was all for it, but they want me back in time for the busy Christmas season.”
Mr van Reenen said running was not easy for him but in October last year he set himself a challenge – reaching seven peaks in seven days.
Since then he has completed the Queenstown marathon, the Luxmore Grunt, Crush the Cargill, Tail End Charlie in the Big Easy marathon, the Shotover Moonlight mountain marathon and the Mount Difficulty Ascent.
Mr van Reenen said he was inspired to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation by Wanaka adventurer, fundraiser and storyteller Malcolm Law, and because “almost everyone suffers from a mental health issue at some point in their life”.
He expected to experience “some tough mental states” himself in the weeks and months ahead but the worst part was likely to be the first three to seven days.
“If I get through that then I will know that I am capable of doing it and I will get into a routine.”
Mr van Reenen’s only previous experience of the Te Araroa trail was running some sections near Wanaka. He expected the Tararua Ranges, the Richmond ranges and through Arthurs Pass would probably be the toughest.
Along the trail, he is being supported by his mother Robyn, who will be driving a campervan and preparing food.
His father, Wanaka photographer Gilbert van Reenen, will join him at some points along the trail and he hopes old friends and new will run with him on some sections.
Mr van Reenen’s target was initially to raise $5000 for the Mental Health Foundation but already he has raised more than $8000 and has set a new target of $12,000.
He said since he started running he had become more creative – “the words seem to flow” – and after arriving into Bluff he might write a book about his Te Araroa adventure.