Marathon challenge almost complete

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End in sight . . . University of Otago student Aidan Barbour-Ryan (21) runs along the cycleway/walkway beside Otago Harbour. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

A University of Otago student’s quest to run every day for a year has come to an end.

On June 6 last year, Aidan Barbour-Ryan (21) challenged himself to go for a run each day for a week.

He watched a video online of a man who had just completed the year-long challenge, and thought seven days would be a good starting point.

The University of Otago student played a lot of sport and had a reasonable level of fitness, and it was not long before that week turned into two weeks, a month, and then a year.

He told The Star on Wednesday he was looking forward to reaching the end.

“It’s been a long year. There’s definitely been some ups and downs,” he said.

Finding motivation to run every day was hard, but it was important to be disciplined.

“There have definitely been days when all I’ve wanted to do was stay home.”

He set himself a goal of running at least 2km each day, and has clocked up about 1700km in total so far.

“I thought it would be a lot more by the end but there’s definitely been times when all I’ve wanted to do was 2km and get it out of the way.”

On average, he ran about 5km each day and his longest run was a half marathon. He planned to finish with a 30km run last Thursday.

Balancing work, study and an active social life made things hard – as did the unpredictable weather.

He celebrated his 21st birthday last year and went away during the New Year period, which was the toughest.

About 70 days in, he decided to raise money and awareness for the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust, and set up a Givealittle page.

So far, he has raised more than $2500.

He found running became therapeutic and helped him to deal with exam stress.

“I could not recommend it enough if people are stressed, or if people just want another hobby.

“At the start I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into.”

Barbour-Ryan was unsure if he would continue for another year.

“I have thought about carrying on but I’ll see how I feel on Friday.”