Richard Bowles makes it to the finish line!

Adventure runner Richard Bowles has just become the first runner to complete the 3054km Te Araroa Trail, which spans the length of New Zealand from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Just after midday on Monday 15 December, Richard was officially welcomed into Bluff by Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Since starting on Saturday 13 October, Richard has run an average of almost 50km per day, and experienced physical and emotional highs to the extreme. As he ran the final 32km from Invercargill to Bluff along a busy highway in the pouring rain with trucks flying past him he looked just as determined as he did when he set out 2 months ago.

The Te Araroa trail, which opened in December last year, typically takes hikers 100 days or more to complete. The trail traverses coastline and forests, crosses farmland, volcanoes and mountain passes, follows river valleys and green pathways through seven cities.And it was a cup of tea and a biscuit Australian adventure runner Richard Bowles wanted when he arrived at Stirling Pt, Bluff, yesterday after two months and 3054 kilometres of running.

Te Araroa Southland Trust chairman Kevin Hawkes and a few hardy souls were waiting in the rain to congratulate Mr Bowles on his achievement.  "This is a record that cannot be taken away," Mr Hawkes told him when he reached Stirling Pt 62 days after leaving Cape Reinga.  "You are the first person to run the Te Araroa route through New Zealand."

Mr Bowles said he was glad to have reached the end of the road.  "I'm ready for a rest, ready for Christmas and ready for a few wines and some nice tucker. But I think I want a cup of tea and a biscuit first," he said.

It was an achievement he could be proud of, he said.  "It's nice to be able to leave a legacy behind when you do some of these things."

It was too hard to pick a single highlight, Bowles said. "I do so many kilometres in a day, I see so much. I'm in the snow line, then I'm on the beach with forest in between. It's all amazing."

Richard's run raised funds and awareness for Project Crimson. Executive Director, Bridget Abernethy said “Richard’s run on Te Araroa Trail will saw him pass coastlines, native forests, farmland, volcanoes and mountain passes, along river valleys, and on green pathways through seven cities. Many of these places are also home to New Zealand’s pohutukawa and rata trees. Richard saw the first crimson blooms appear on these trees along the way. We are thrilled to have been chosen as Richard’s charity partner for this adventure and congratulate Richard on this amazing acheivement.”