“The idea is that I use adventure as a platform to help kids explore the planet beyond their playground.”

Running The Length Of New Zealand

A catch up with Anna McNuff


We interviewed Anna a few months ago before she was about to embark on a mammoth adventure - running the length of New Zealand. Read her original interview here. It explains why she is running and how she got in to the adventure world. Today, we caught up with her to see how therun is progressing. Anna was speaking to us from a town just outside Hamner Springs, South Island.


So how’s the running going? Guessing it is really hard?

It’s actually bloody hard. It’s incredible because I wanted a challenge and it’s exactly that. Every day is something different, and I’m absolutely loving it, but man it’s hard. The terrain is seriously tough. The trail is very different to what you get in Britain, Europe, or even America. It’s like a sheep track and can be really tough.

How many miles a day are you doing?

Not loads. Some days I’ll do marathon distances but then some days, for example this week, I’ve done only half-marathons.

I was going to say I did this tube run thing and I was probably doing a half-marathon once a week and that killed me despite it being only once a week! So if you were doing that every day on much harder terrain, then that must be pretty brutal I imagine.

To be honest the hardest thing is the pack on my back. When I leave here, I have seven days’ worth of food in it and that is just so flipping heavy.

Getting through the first three days whenever I leave a town is so difficult to get through because of the weight but I have to say New Zealand is just simply amazing.

Do you get to see much of New Zealand or is it just you run, you sleep, you eat?

I feel like I’m actually seeing New Zealand as people in New Zealand would see it. The hut system is amazing, that’s one thing I didn’t really think about. But in the huts I’m meeting people that are out hunting for the weekend. They’ve been hunting there for forty years and it’s great meeting such authentic people. It’s great being on these trails rather than the traditional tourist routes as I get to see a completely different side of New Zealand.

Have you been to Wanaka?

Yes. I went to Wanaka not long ago. It’s stunning. Everyone needs to visit Wanaka! I actually went up in a plane over Wanaka. A friend of mine called this lady up and she said, “This girl is from London. She’s got a Facebook page. Take her and do something.” And then half an hour later, I was up in the freaking sky. It was amazing!

Sounds it! How long have you got left to go do you think?

I’ve still got until mid-June, so I’m not even half-way yet.

And how do you feel about that?

Part of me is like, “Oh my gosh – that’s still quite a way to go.” The other part of me knows that the North Island is going to be a different trip entirely. It’s meant to be a lot less remote. So I think the trip is almost going to be a game of two halves.

Yes, it’s a different country to be honest. From a runner’s perspective it should be slightly easier I believe.

Yes, I’m almost a week and half behind schedule. I’m not worried because I know I can make it up in the North Island because it’s more road running. It’s going to be so different. I’m really excited. And I’ll get to visit more schools than I’ve been able to down here as I’ve barely seen any towns – so that will be nice.

Just remind us what you do with schools again?

I go in and do talks. The idea is that I use adventure as a platform to help kids explore the planet beyond their playground. It’s the best part of the trip for me.

“The idea is that I use adventure as a platform to help kids explore the planet beyond their playground.”

That’s great. I’d have loved a talk by an adventurer when I was at school!

Yeah I am hoping they enjoy it, they seem to!

I imagine your body must be pretty sore at the moment with all the running or is it used to it now?

My rule is as long as the pain keeps moving around, then I don’t worry. But when the pain stays in one place for more than three or four days then that’s not good! I had a bit of a scare earlier where I had intense pain in my left leg that just wouldn’t budge and the first hour of my runs were really bad. It was hell actually but luckily it seems to have cleared.

Good. Are you running today?

Yes, I am going to be doing around 20 miles today. Going to be setting off shortly actually.

I don’t envy you! How can our readers track your progress?

Follow me on twitter or check out the website. I love getting tweets! It keeps me going so definitely send me stuff good people of ZIDILIFE!

[Laughs] I am sure they will! If you hear a lot of noise my cat has just decided to go to the toilet! Sorry about that!

[Laughs] What is he called?

He’s called Ted. I’m a bit concerned because my fiancé has fallen wildly in love with him, she appears much more in love with him than she does with me!

That’s normal, completely normal. [Laughs]

Do you know what is next? Do you think about what’s next or do you just focus on the challenge at hand?

That’s the wonderful thing about this stuff. It gives you time to take yourself out of that daily grind. I will go back to work but then will be saving for my next challenge. It’s great to know I’ve always got things in the pipeline, I could never just settle doing a 9-5 for the rest of time. When you’re doing this kind of thing, and you’ve just got a backpack and you’re away from technology, life seems so simple. You realise a lot of the stuff you have going on in your life, that you spend loads of money on, is just unnecessary. I like how these challenges get me back to a simple world.

Brilliant! I must admit you give me the adventure/travelling bug when speaking to you!

Great isn’t it!

I best let you crack on with this run!

I guess so. It’s a lovely day out here today so I am feeling positive about today’s run!

Anna, it’s been great to catch up. Good luck with the rest of the run, you’re doing a great job by the sounds of things! Stay in touch.

I will do Steve, thanks for talking to me and sharing the story of the trip!


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