A Wellington ultra-runner - and hit-and-run survivor - is believed to be the first Kiwi to run across Australia and America.

Nick Ashill has just completed an almost 4000km run from Perth to Sydney to raise funds for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ. It took him 74 days - 66 days running and 8 rest days.

Ashill says it was a strange feeling when he finally reached Bondi Beach, knowing his cross-country journey was over.

"I think if the sea hadn’t been there, I probably would have carried on running.

"My body was so used to running 60km a day and suddenly it had finished."

Ashill started his day at sunrise and finished at sunset, burning between 6000-8000 calories a day. He lived in an RV during his journey and often went over a week without a shower.

The run was relentless at times - both physically and mentally - especially through the outback of Australia with no towns in sight for about 300km, he says.

"There are lows on every long-distance run, you just have to outlast them.

"When times were tough, mentally, I would just keep coming back to my ‘why’, my reason for doing it, and that led me to talk to my dear mum."

Ashill lost his mum to the rare lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), in 2015. IPF affects about 3 million people worldwide. There is no cure.

Ashill's run across Australia comes nearly seven years after he was left for dead in a ditch following an incident during a charity run across the United States. It was on day 81, when Ashill was struck by a vehicle in what appeared to be a deliberate hit-and-run.

After a long and arduous recovery, he returned to the US in mid-2022 to the scene of the hit-and-run to finish the 5400km run that ended so abruptly.

As a result of the incident, Ashill has arthritis in his knees and hips, and titanium rods and screws in his right leg and pelvis.

Despite being tired and sore, he is adjusting well to being back at work as a university professor.

Ashill’s Australian run was supported by Friends of the Foundation partner, Comfortech.

To support Nick's incredible effort, visit www.nickrunsaustralia.org.nz


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