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Vegan athlete fuelled by nature and vegetables for his marathons

Jan 13th, 2015 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Martyn Weeds standing in foreground with competitors relaxing behind

FINISH LINE: Martyn Weeds stands proud after finishing the 35km long distance run. IMAGE: Liam Cavanagh

A BRITISH born runner says you don’t need meat to be an athlete, and he can prove it.

The 32 year-old vegan ran the inaugural National Coastal Challenge Series, a race set along New Zealand’s natural coastline.

The former archaeologist is an accomplished runner with half marathons under his belt and a gruelling 100km in 23 hours back home in the UK.

Martyn Weeds moved to New Zealand with his wife and son Danila in May this year.

The Coastal Challenge was the fundraiser’s first New Zealand race, a demanding 35km long distance race over rocks, sinking sand and boulders along Wellington’s south coast from Oteranga Bay to Lyall Bay.

Mr Weeds says he does not race competitively but prefers the opportunity to challenge himself and smash some myths at the same time.

He says he wanted to prove to others and himself that taking part in events like this does not necessarily require someone to be a carnivore to compete.

“A big part of why I got into running was that I got annoyed with this feeling that you had to eat meat to be strong and to these kinds of things,” says Mr Weeds.

“I didn’t think that was true and I set out to prove it,” he says.

He also likes the adversity that comes with the territory.

The worse the weather, the worse the conditions are, the more adversity there is, the more pleased with yourself you are, says Mr Weeds.

“I’m not fast at all, and I don’t particularly try to be. That’s why I like long distances because for me that’s the challenge – how long rather than how fast,” he says.

The national series was a result of the popularity of the North Shore Coastal Challenge which has been running for 12 years, says event manager Brenna Roband.

She says the series provides an opportunity for people living in New Zealand to get active in another type of environment.

Miss Roband says the event is unique because the different options mean everyone can have a go, with races for all ages and fitness levels, walking or running, or scrambling to the finish line.

Mr Weeds says New Zealand’s natural environment was a draw card for signing up to the race.

“One of the great appeals of New Zealand is the nature, the dramatic landscape and the kiwi connection with that. I think this type of race really taps into that,” he says.

And for this running Englishman, the more challenging the nature is, the more appealing.

“I think I’ve always been the adventurous type, trying to push yourself and going to places wild and challenging and proving I can do it,” he says.

The yoga practitioner and kung fu enthusiast wanted to be able to run and stay fit while raising his young son.

“Running’s great because you just strap on your running shoes and head out the door,” he says.

The quick foot finished the event under four hours, and was happy with the result and enjoyed the scenery.

He said the starting line had to be moved because of the wind but said the middle part was the most difficult.

“The wind was blowing straight into my face and my feet were sinking into sand,” Mr Weeds says.

“It was a bit like aqua jogging; it’s great for fitness but you aren’t going anywhere,” he says.

For more information on the series, you can visit the Coastal Challenge Series website.

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