Jez Bragg has completed his epic run across New Zealand, completing his adventure in record time. Bragg reached the finish line on Saturday at approximately 4 PM local time. His official time for the 3054 km (1897 mile) run was 53 days, 9 hours and 1 minute.
Jez started his long distance footrace back in mid-December, setting out from New Zealand's northernmost point in Cape Reinga and proceeding south from there. Following the Te Araroa trail, a long distance backpacking route that is quickly growing in popularity, Bragg wound his way along coastlines, through open grassland, up mountain passes and across both the North and South Islands before arriving in Bluff, the southernmost point in the country. Along the way he also spent some time in a kayak, crossing some rivers and lakes, but most importantly he paddled between the two islands themselves. At the mid-way point of the journey, Jez and a few companions crossed the Cook Strait before resuming the run south.
The journey actually proved to be more difficult and challenging than Jez had expected. He had hoped to complete the run in just 50 days, but ultimately it took him three more than planned. When you consider the length of time he was running, the conditions he faced on the trail and the daily grind that goes into an endeavor such as this one, that is an amazing achievement and I'm sure his sense of relief was overwhelming when he was finished.
As if running 3000+ km wasn't challenging enough, Jez managed to update his blog on a regular basis long the way, keeping followers well informed of his progress and the challenges he faced. If you ever wondered what it like to undertake an expedition of this nature and what goes through these long distance runner's head while their on the trail, it is a good read. Definitely a lot to be learned from his insights, particularly for those planning to hike the Te Araroa in the future.
Congrats to Jez on a job well done. I think its safe to say he's earned a bit of a rest.