At 4am on Monday, April 29, ultra-distance runner Curly Jacobs will set off from Bluff on a mission to run the length of New Zealand.
And since Jacobs (53) has his sights set on breaking the existing record of 18 days 9 hours, and so will be setting a cracking pace – it won’t be long before he passes through Dunedin.
During his “Curly Runs New Zealand” project, Jacobs aims to cover 130km (three full marathons) each day – taking 16 to 18 hours. He should reach Dunedin sometime on Tuesday.
Along with his major goal of breaking the 44-year-old record for running the length of New Zealand, held by aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and funds for organisations working with children in poverty.
“I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness – I believe a lot more people have mental health issues than we think.
“And, as the father of a three-year-old, I am also very keen to help children who are suffering – Kiwi kids should not be experiencing going to school with an empty tummy.”
Using GPS technology to record his progress, as is required to attain a Guinness World Record, Jacobs will go through four or five pairs of shoes during his quest, so it is just as well he is sponsored by ultra running shoe specialists Hoka OneOne.
He will also go through an enormous amount of food, as he must average 8000 to 10,000 calories every day to keep his energy levels up.
“Covering that sort of distance in that time, you just cannot eat enough.”
Following a mainly plant-based diet, Jacobs will need to eat every half hour, with his support crew providing him with lots of nutrient-rich foods such as avocados, smoothies, coconut oil and cream.
“I can run for hours on that stuff.”
Running for hours each day is a way of life for Jacobs, who says for him ultra distance running is “like an active meditation”.
“I get into the zone and it’s like a metronome.
“I don’t listen to music, I just run – you see and hear so many things when you are running.”
Originally a Taranaki farmer, Jacobs started ultra distance running five years ago, after beating cancer.
“I felt that if I could beat cancer, I could beat this.”
Now based in Cambridge, he has been running full-time for the past three years, as well as working in the field of sports recovery.
He runs six days a week, covering an average of 250 to 300km, and recently competed in the Alps 2 Ocean event, finishing 13th.
Jacobs has run the length of the country several times before – once doing it as a holiday excursion with his dog.
Interested people can follow Jacobs’ progress on his Curly Runs New Zealand Facebook page.