- Menna Evans
- 35:00:27:00 day(s):hour(s):minute(s):second(s)
- New Zealand (Bluff)
The fastest crossing of New Zealand on foot (female) is 35 days 27 min and was achieved by Menna Evans (UK) in Bluff, New Zealand, from 1 January to 5 February 2020.
Menna ran her first marathon 10 years ago and has found running to be an important activity for her mental and physical health. In 2018, she ran from John O’Groats to Land’s End in memory of her father who passed away 18 months before. During the final week of her run, she realised she wanted to do something even bigger and more challenging, and so decided to run the full length of New Zealand!
She used this record attempt as an opportunity to raise money for two mental health charities: Mind (UK) and Save the Brave (NZ). Menna raised over £5,000 and chose to dedicate the challenge to her cousin Ian Davies who sadly took his own life in 2018. She posted regular updates of her run on social media and highlighted the impact of being active and outdoors, and how running helped save her from depression.
The planning stage of her record attempt took over one year, including booking a motorhome (where she slept each night), planning a safe but direct route for her run, looking for sponsors, trialling equipment, as well as training her body for the long-distance runs.
Throughout the run, Menna was supported by her friend John who drove the motorhome. Her son also joined them for the North Island section of the run.
Distances ranged from 34-40 miles each day. One of the hardest parts of her journey was navigating ‘un-friendly’ roads for pedestrians, particularly bridges. She once had to sprint behind a lorry across Rakaia Bridge (1.8 km) as it is usually closed to pedestrians, but fortunately traffic had been stopped for the lorry to ensure its safe passage, so Menna made her move!
The weather was also a huge factor in her journey. She began each run at 6:30 AM to avoid the New Zealand heat and experienced a vast range of conditions, from intense heat causing exhaustion on Day 1 to severe flooding on Day 34.
To get through the days, Menna listened to a lot of music! She also broke down her daily mileage into smaller segments which made the distances less daunting. She credits the changes in scenery as helpful too, as the beauty of New Zealand increased her enjoyment of the run.
Her diet consisted of granola, fruit, sandwiches, crisps (all catering for her vegetarian diet), as well as ice lollies on particularly hot days.
Despite injuries and physical exhaustion along the way, Menna states that at no point did she think of giving up!
She says a Guinness World Records title for her is “the absolute cherry on the top of an incredible, life changing and once in a lifetime experience.”
Menna is now planning another run in a different country, but is yet to commit to anything. Her advice to her teenage self would be that “exercise, running in particular, will save you. You are stronger in so many ways that you are unaware of right now. You don’t need to prove it to anyone else, just know that you can!”