Invercargill beach inspires Guinness World Record attempt

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International athlete Nick Akers completed his Guinness World Record attempt for travelling in snowshoes for 1km with a time of 5min42sec. He made his attempt in Australia in the Northern Territory.

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International athlete Nick Akers completed his Guinness World Record attempt for travelling in snowshoes for 1km with a time of 5min42sec. He made his attempt in Australia in the Northern Territory.

An international athlete and kiwi believes he has set a new record for travelling in snowshoes.

Nick Akers, 65, took 5min42sec to run 1km in snowshoes on the Mindil​ Beach, Darwin, Australia, on Saturday.

He took 2min11sec off of the previous record.

“Probably a very obscure record,” he quipped.

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His achievement has been sent off to the Guinness World Records for verification, but it can take up to 12 weeks for it to be signed off.

Originally from England, Akers moved to New Zealand in 1974 at the age of 19 after finishing school.

“My favourite teacher had moved to Invercargill and said if you wanna be a runner come to Invercargill or come to New Zealand … some of the greatest runners live there,” Akers said.

During his time in New Zealand, Akers tried to achieve the world record in “the longest non-stop walking”, however his physio teacher talked him out of it, he said.

“I had a young yearning to get into Guinness, you know, 40 years later I’m still at it,” he said.

Akers has an impressive list of running titles to his name.

He took part in the 1978 Commonwealth Games and in 1979 became a champion for the Cayman Islands of the 10,00m running, a national record that is still unbroken to this day.

He now lives in Canada and that’s where he was introduced to snowshoeing.

“For whatever reason I was drawn to finding out more about snowshoes. I went to the library and read up everything I could,” Akers said.

Akers has been working as a business analyst for the Australian government’s health department since January 2020.

During his stay in Australia he contemplated using snowshoes through sand and asked his wife (who is in Canada) to send him a pair.

“When I was in Invercargill, they have a lot of sandy beaches [Oreti Beach] and that’s where we’d do a lot of our training … in the sand dunes … I thought there’s not much difference between running in snowshoes in snow as you would be in sand.”

Akers is also a Guiness World Record holder for travelling in snowshoes for one mile in snow. He achieved this feat in 1991 in Edmonton Canada, and the record is yet to be broken.

He is set to return to Canada in June.