A runner who got lost in the New Zealand countryside for almost 24 hours survived the night by drinking her own breast milk and covering herself in dirt.

Susan O'Brien was competing in a trail run through forest near Wellington on Saturday but took a wrong turn and ended up over two miles off course in the wilderness.

She was found nearly a day after she had been reported missing.

"I thought that was it," Susan admitted to reporters after her rescue.

"I just didn't want to give up. I was determined to get back to my family.

"That's the only thing that kept me driving and it made me realise that in life nothing else matters but my family."

The 29-year-old said she drank her milk for ‘energy’.

“I'm breast-feeding my baby so I had a bit of my milk, which I thought that should help me keep going."

Susan was later reunited with her family, including eight-month old daughter Meisha.

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