19 year old Victoria Taylor is running the length of the country to raise awareness and funds for Child Cancer in New Zealand. I ran with her for a few hours on September 6th 2012.
The Thursday leg was supposed to be from Te Hana to Kumeu; the original plan had me driving to Kumeu, my parents driving me north until we met up with them somewhere south of Te Hana, then running back with Victoria to Kumeu.
However she was a little behind schedule and had stopped at Ruakaka on Wednesday night, about 45kms north of Te Hana. I decided it was going to be too hard to get that far north and that I'd run on Friday instead when another friend, Kate, would be running too.
On Thursday morning I woke up early and went out for a 10km run. It was only with about 10 minutes left in my run that I thought what I should have done was to drive to Wellsford (which would most likely be the end point for the day), run north to meet them and then run back to Wellsford.
By the time I got home, I decided I'd do just that. OK, so I'd just run 10kms, but it would be another 4 hours before I started again so should be all good! The only downside was it meant I had to carry everything I needed (water, food) to them in my Camelbak rather than being able to run light the whole day.
I drove to Wellsford, parked the car, and then set off north. To be perfectly honest, it was a pretty boring 19.5km run to Kaiwaka where I finally met them. We had lunch together and then set off back south.
The return trip was a lot more interesting and I discovered the difference between being a man running the state highway on his own and then with a couple of young women: you get tooted at a lot more running with the girls! Yes, I know, it still wasn't me they were tooting at...
There was a lot of talking, singing, mooing at cows, clapping your hands if you're happy and a lot of fun to be had. For someone who has run about 400kms over 6 days Victoria has the most amazing energy and I know she can keep on going.
Victoria's friend Emma ran with us too; before this challenge started, she had never run more than 20kms and yet had run with Victoria for 20 to 30kms each day for the previous 5 days. She decided to run the whole day because she was going home the next day. Having covered around 52kms on Thursday, she can call herself an ultra runner now too!
Victoria has been sponsored by a number of companies to get her around the country:
The purpose of the run is to raise funds and awareness for the Child Cancer Foundation. How can you help? You can donate on the fundraising page. You can follow her on Facebook. You can offer to run with her (even a few kilometers at the end of the day can help).
Kate is running with her until Sunday and then she'll need other people to come run where possible from then until she reaches Wellington. If you want to go and run with her, go to the Facebook page and post a message.