Walking track, New Zealand

Walking track, New Zealand

After an extensive global search, Richard Harrison from the UK has been selected as one of four Great Walkers to take on the ultimate fitness challenge for 2013 - to tackle all of New Zealand’s famous nine Great Walks in just nine weeks.

A worthy winner of the adventure, Richard has already proven he has the determination required to take on this task having already undergone a drastic transformation, losing 200lbs. 

To be in with a chance of winning, applicants were asked to get creative and demonstrate why they thought they should win a place on the trip by uploading either a short YouTube video or a Pinterest board of inspiring images.

Air New Zealand conducted interviews via Skype with a shortlist of 20 finalists who were assessed against a set of criteria, including personality, creativity and skills that may be useful on the trip.

The judging panel included Kiwi rowing champion Mahe Drysdale, television personality Tamati Coffey, DOC Ranger Cate Helm and Air New Zealand Head of Sponsorship and Community James Gibson.

James says the calibre of entries was extremely high making it difficult to select only four winners.

He said: “We received applications from trekkers and hikers in 45 different countries and were blown away by their amazing stories as well as the lengths that people including Richard were prepared to go to just to be involved in this epic Kiwi adventure.”

Air New Zealand’s Great Walker competition is being run in association with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) and will see Richard travel to New Zealand next month along with fellow Great Walkers - Joel Cogger (Australia), Stephanie Hathaway (United States) and Toshitake Suzuki (Japan) to take on the country’s premier walking tracks.

DOC Ranger Cate Helm, said: “The four winners will share their experiences with the world via an online blog and with some excellent story tellers and an adventure-packed itinerary it’s going to be a great opportunity to showcase some of our tourism gems to a worldwide audience.”

As well as the walks themselves, the group will take part in a raft of other outdoor activities. The walkers will be joined along the way by Air New Zealand and DOC staff and celebrity guests including rowing legend Mahe Drysdale and members of the world famous New Zealand All Blacks.

For further competition details and to view the winners’ profiles, visit www.greatwalkernz.com. For information on DOC’s nine Great Walks, visit www.greatwalks.co.nz.

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