Australian Tim Franklin is running the world — and has Central Otago in the starting blocks.
On Saturday, the park run regular laced up his shoes in South Bank, Brisbane, ran to the airport and flew to Queenstown.
With a small support crew in tow, he hit the road again on Monday, starting his run near the Kawarau Bridge bungy to pound the highway through the Kawarau and Cromwell Gorges to Clyde.
Those two days of hard running were the start of his goal to run around the world, travelling most of the spine of New Zealand to Auckland, then through the United States of America, South America, Europe and Asia, before a return to Australia scheduled for October 2023.
Until now his longest run was 400km, so this would be a serious step up from that.
He planned to be back home in Brisbane in January 2024, no doubt footsore and having worn through about 40-50 pair of running shoes.
A typically active Australian kid, Franklin’s health deteriorated in his adolescence and health issues weighed down his fitness, in turn weighing him down physically.
At his worst, he weighed in at 120kg and lived a not atypical corporate lifestyle of long hours, poor food choices, alcohol consumption and partying.
He realised the most serious fast track he was on was likely to end at an early grave and he decided to choose another road.
He started running about 15 years ago, and has not really stopped, he said.
He hoped to inspire others through this global run to move more in an era where we work long hours and spend most of them seated, and to raise money for three charity partners while doing so.
‘‘We are becoming more sedentary as a race, especially after Covid,’’ he said.
‘‘The benefits of exercise are everything. I want to help build a community of people being active and happier and healthier as a result.’’
Speaking from Ranfurly on Tuesday, Franklin said he had learned from his first two days hard running.
The first day was hot and he probably pushed the pace a little, he said.
‘‘I slowed down a little today and drank more water and ate a little more.’’
Follow Franklin on social media and at www.timrunstheworld.com or watch for him on a road near you.