New world record for running the length of New Zealand

Emma Timmis (centre) beat the previous record holder for running the length of New Zealand by 14...
Emma Timmis (centre) beat the previous record holder for running the length of New Zealand by 14 days. Photo: Supplied
Kaiapoi-based artist Emma Timmis says it still has not sunk in that she has run the length of New Zealand in 21 days setting a new world record.

English born Timmis started at Cape Reinga and finished the marathon run in Bluff on Friday beating the previous record for running the length of the country by 14 days.

Timmis said when you are competing for the record the clock starts ticking when you start running in either Cape Reinga or Bluff and will not stop ticking until you get to the other end of the country.

"If you want to go for a Guinness World Record you have to gather all of the evidence along the way to prove that you've done it."

She said there is also a lot of paperwork in trying to get a Guinness World Record.

"So I had a watch that was tracking me, I had a separate tracking device attached to my back that would also track where I was everyday, that's the one that people have been following on my website to see where I am, and I also had to gather witness statements along the way, 10 minutes of video footage, lots of photographs whenever I went past any recognisable place."

She said she spent most of her trip running along State Highway 1 but would not recommend it due to the speed and volume of the traffic.

One of the hardest parts was dealing with the traffic on a daily basis on a highway that is not designed for pedestrians, she said.

"Walking along the shoulder of the road that could be anything from one inch wide to a couple of metres wide and facing oncoming traffic that's going up to 100kmh, it's really quite unnerving and it's not safe - I really wouldn't recommend it."

Timmis said she would start running at between 4.30am and 5.30am each day and would finish by 7pm each evening.

She said she managed to push through the 21 days but at the end of it her feet and ankles were quite damaged and in some pain.

Timmis said her goal was always to complete the run in 21 days, doing around 100km per day and she managed to complete that.

In terms of the more positive aspects of the journey Timmis said she enjoyed the stretch in the very Far North of New Zealand because of its spectacular beauty and because the roads were quieter.

"Other than that the main thing that was really beautiful about this whole journey was just the community spirit - so many people got involved, people were constantly sending me messages of support, people would just appear and run with me for a few kilometres and chat to me and keep my spirits up and people offered my support team food and accommodation."

She said through the whole run there were six or seven people involved in the support team, but they changed depending on where she was running.

Timmis said finishing the run was extremely emotional.

"I think 21 days of exhaustion and pain all kind of came out at the end and I felt really emotional but obviously super super proud of myself."

Timmis 'wanted to raise money and awareness for mental health'

Timmis said she started planning for the run four years ago but was not able to do it at that time due to a leg injury that meant she was unable to run for most of the next three years.

She said it was difficult to get a diagnosis the injury and she struggled to get back into running and also with her mental health.

Timmis said she had access to medication and counselling and a good support network at that difficult time but realised that not everyone was as fortunate as her.

"So when I finally managed to get my leg fixed and got back to running decided that I was going to go for the record but also wanted to raise money and awareness for mental health as well."

Timmis said the run raised money for YouthLine in New Zealand and Young Minds in the UK but she is still a bit short of the $NZ21,000 per charity that she hoped to raise.

Anyone who still wishes to donate to either charity can do so via her website. 



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