Jez Bragg: a dream for several years

Jez Bragg: a dream for several years

One of Britain’s top ultrarunners will attempt to cover the entire length of New Zealand in a 50-day-challenge.

Jez Bragg will tackle the 1,898-mile Te Araroa Trail which starts in Cape Reinga on the North Island and finishes on the South Island in Bluff.

He will be supported by The North Face outdoor brand, and a small back-up team, though for long stretches he will be running on his own in inaccessible parts of the country.

A company spokesperson said: “The Te Araroa Trail opened in December 2011 and runs the full length of New Zealand from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.

“At 1,898 miles (3,054km) it rivals some of the world’s greatest long-distance trails such as the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail in the US.

“The majority of the route is off-road, through challenging and remote terrain presenting all sorts of different challenges. There are also some short road sections and several estuary crossings as well as a long down-stream paddle on the Wanganui River.”

The Dorset-based ultrarunner, veteran of three victories in the Fellsman, the gruelling 60-mile race over the hills of the Yorkshire Dales, and one-time winner of the North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, the 100-plus mile circuit of western Europe’s highest peak, will adopt a fast-and-light approach to the challenge.

He aims to cover between 37 and 50 miles (60-80km) per day for the full duration. Supported by a crew of two, medic Dr Mark Taylor and expedition coordinator James Ashwell, the team will follow him in a motorhome providing logistical support where possible.

Jez Bragg and his team. Photo: Tim Burton

Jez Bragg and his team. Photo: Tim Burton

Bragg expects to encounter long stretches of trail where support won’t be possible, and during those periods he will carry a fast-pack setup to provide complete self-sufficiency.

On the South Island, where the terrain is particularly challenging and cumulative fatigue becomes more of a factor, Bragg will be joined for intermittent running support from his US team-mate The North Face athlete, Mike Wolfe.

Bragg said: “Running this trail has been a dream of mine for several years and I have followed its progress with great interest.

“For me, ultra running is all about this type of adventure; the opportunity to explore remote and challenging landscapes in a very raw and pure way.

“There is no better way to explore a country like New Zealand with such outstanding natural beauty than to do it by foot. The work that has gone into getting this trail together to its eventual opening is simply mind-boggling.

“It will be a great honour to be one of the first to run it and hopefully showcase everything the country and the trail, has to offer. It will truly be an adventure of a lifetime.”

The runner will be kitted out in The North Face clothing and gear, including some customised to his own specifications.

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Jez Bragg leads strong field of contenders for this year’s Dragon’s Back race
  2. British mountain ultrarunner crowned top international athlete
  3. Neil Talbott wins gruelling 60-mile Fellsman race at first attempt
  4. British-born runner Richard Bowles on track to be first to run Te Araroa Trail
  5. Fellsman winner Jez heads west in search of mountain glory