By Jeff Hampton
A 22-year-old runner from Paeroa may have set a new record, after completing the 2200km journey from Cape Reinga to Bluff in just 28 days.
Andrew Hedgman ran the equivalent of two marathons a day and battled shin splints, bad weather and, occasionally, dodgy accommodation.
The famous Bluff signpost marked the end of the ultra marathon runner’s epic journey, and Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt was on the spot to congratulate the young record-breaker.
Hedgman has been averaging 80km per day, with just one day off.
“The first two weeks were just brutal,” he tells 3 News.
“On day one I can remember saying, ‘I can’t wait for this to end’.”
The trip has been done before in many ways, from skiing, using a type of short skis on wheels, to the more conventional but very punishing methods.
Just five days into his run, Hedgman realised how tough it is when he developed shin splints.
“I sat in the shower for the longest time I’ve ever had a shower, looking at my legs thinking, ‘Is it over?’”
But the next day Hedgman forced himself to go on and the pain went away. He started to enjoy the scenery and kept going, motivated by a fear of getting behind schedule.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d make it or not, we kind of had to because we had accommodation booked in each town so if we missed one day then the entire plan would be screwed.”
Hedgman is now having a well-earned rest, with plans to write a book about his North to South run.