At approximately 5:30pm AEDT on Monday October 17, Nedd Brockmann – the 23-year-old from Forbes, who moved to Sydney and was shocked at the rate of homelessness in the city – ran down Campbell Parade and hit Bondi Beach.
His 3,952km journey from Perth’s Cottesloe Beach across the country is complete after 47 days. That’s no typo. Yep, 47 days.
His penultimate day on the bitumen saw him slog out a lazy 113.75km.
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Along the way, he’s raised more than $1.47 million for homelessness, having broken his initial $1m target and set the new goal of raising $1.5m.
And, of course, he capped it all off with a shoey.
He’s also inspired people from across Australia and the world to get up and run, providing a unique insight into his worth and the mental and physical toll of putting his body through hell.
Australian running great Steve Moneghetti, who won gold at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in the marathon and has held the record for the fastest time in the City to Surf since 1991, described the feat as “incredible”.
“I thought I was an endurance athlete but it puts it into perspective,” Moneghetti told foxsports.com.au.
“I was running twice a day, and that was only 13 hours a week, to be able to do something like that, you’d be out there 13 hours a day – it’s just incredible.”
Moneghetti went some way in describing the sensation one feels after running such a distance.
“Initially it’s a soreness and then after it, I haven’t done anything like what Nedd’s done, but after a marathon you’re sore for a few days and just fatigued and you just feel like you’ve been hit by a bus,” he said.
More than the physical toll, Moneghetti said mentally a journey as long as Brockmann’s would push you physically and said it could take months to recover.
“Physically you just keep going and you make it happen, but mentally it’s really tough,” he said.
“When you’re on straight stretches of road, there’s nothing to see at the end of the road so mentally it’s really, really challenging.
“There’s nothing that can get rid of that fatigue. So that’s the next thing that hits in, and then you just get flat and you don’t want to exercise again for a while until you recover and that can take weeks, months and depending how you are. It will certainly take its toll.
“But what a fantastic result at raising so much money for homelessness, but he’ll be a bit flat for a while and sore.”
Ultra-marathon runner Lucy Bartholomew agreed.
“Ultimately, I mean, your body is going to be pretty broken when you do something like that and maybe you have a few blisters and that’s it, but on a cellular level and mentally and emotionally and spiritually like you’re digging a well and a hole every day when you do something like that,” she said. “There’s no way that you can do it sustainably.”
While Bartholomew completed her first 100km ultra-marathon when she was 15, Brockmann only started running long distances during COVID.
It’s something the 26-year-old can’t fathom.
“My career has been like a simmer and it’s just been slowly bringing up and I think Nedd’s has been straight to a boil,” she said.
“I would say Nedd’s probably done more 100k days than I have done in my 11 years of doing it, which is just pretty insane. To kind of just squish 11 years into probably the last three is just phenomenal but really, really rad. So I have just the most respect for him.”
Bartholomew added Brockmann has helped “open up a conversation” and created a “tidal wave of movement” regarding running and mental health.
“I think the rad thing is that in ultra-running you tend to find people that have come from mental health particularly because it’s people that have to be of a certain state of mind,” she said.
“They have to be quite addicted to something and so running that consistently, pushing your body and knowing that it’s probably past the healthy point, it definitely takes a unique individual.
“And so I think what it does for the sport of ultra-running is it just opens up that conversation and instead of hiding what we’re running for, who we are, or what our past is, we can actually like use that as a form of change.
I think seeing someone so young, I kind of see like myself, people kind of questioning why are you doing it, why are you doing it so young, and just kind of bringing that youth to the ultra-running world, I think has really got people speaking.”