Kiwi conquers 'Everest of Ultramarathons'

An Aucklander has become the first Kiwi woman to attempt and finish the world's longest foot race - a course which spans nearly 5000km.

Harita Davies. Photo: Perfection Journey Films Vimeo/ NZ Herald
Harita Davies. Photo: Perfection Journey Films Vimeo/ NZ Herald

Harita Davies (42) finished the gruelling Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, which circled a 804m city block in Queens, New York, on Tuesday night (local time).

Ten people took on the feat - with only five finishing before the cut-off time of 52 days.

Averaging 96.82km per day, Davies placed 4th overall, finishing in 51 days 12 hours and 48 minutes - and setting a record fastest time for a Kiwi over that distance.

Davies is running a further 18 laps to reach the 5000km mark and will become the first Kiwi to do so.

Only one other Kiwi has attempted and finished the race. In 2010, Aucklander Dharbhasana Lynn (34) became the first New Zealander to finish the race.

"It seems pretty definite from the way the last 50 days have gone that I'll finish and yet every lap is a miracle ... I'm praying that nothing goes wrong,'' Davies said during the 51st day.

"Some days overall are a little easier than others, but most days are pretty tough in many different ways. Physically, or mentally, or emotionally and so I don't think it gets easier.

"In a way having the finish line coming closer is challenging because you keep thinking of finishing and yet every lap is full of new surprises or new challenges.''

Labelled by the New York Times "the Mount Everest of Ultramarathons'', the annual event in its 21st year begins at 6am and finishes at 12am.

Participants can choose whether to take breaks along the way or how far they run each day but it must be completed within 52 days, an average of 96km per day - just over two marathons.

Russian man Vasu Duzhiy (51) of St Petersburg won this year's race, finishing in 46 days.

Second - and first woman - was Kaneenika Janakova (47) of Bratislava in Slovakia, who set a new women's world record for the distance. Her final time was 48 days.

In third place was Ireland's Nirbhasa Magee, a native of Dublin, who also finished in 48 days.

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