The Long Good Friday

The Hillary Trail has some of the best coastal running in the country. High above Mercer Bay is a particularly spectacular stretch.

Trail running is good. Trail running for a good cause is even better.

Through Running Wild I want to inspire people to get out and experience the pure joy that is a great trail run. But more than this I want to inspire people to use this wonderful pastime as a way of helping others.

So it is once again time to walk the talk. Or in my case, run the talk. In June this year I am teaming up with Englishman Tom Bland to attempt a record-breaking run along the UK’s longest trail, the 1,014-km long South West Coast Path. Our goal is to complete this epic run in just two weeks, 9 days faster than we know of anyone else ever doing it. Our chosen cause, something that is very dear to both of us, is mental health.

Running in wild places is a great way of preventing and dealing with mental illness, so the connection is a strong one. But more than this, both Tom and I have first–hand experience of the devastating effects that mental health issues can have. When you have lost a loved to any of the myriad of much misunderstood mental conditions, as happened to me when I found my brother-in-law Max hanging from the rafters of our garage back in 1995, it is a powerful motivator to put your passion to good use.

So we are running to raise awareness and understanding of the issues. To try to remove some of the stigma that surrounds this topic. To offer hope and a way forward to people that are struggling to come to terms with mental illness. Tom is also running to raise funds for Mind, the UK mental health charity, while I am running to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation NZ.

CoastPathRun is now little more than 100 days from starting. Needless to say the training is getting intense. And in April my training will get more intense still. Amongst other things I am planning another end-to-end run of the 75km long Hillary Trail in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges on Good Friday, April 6th (hence the title of this blog). I decided a while back that I should capitalise on my fitness to have a crack at setting a new personal best time for this iconic run. Currently my PB stands at 13hrs 50mins. My goal is to take an hour off that time. It’ll hurt that’s for sure!

More recently it occurred to me that this would be the perfect opportunity to invite the trail running community to help with the wider fundraising goals of the mission I’m ultimately training for. So I’m seeking people to sponsor me 50c or $1 (or whatever amount they choose) for each minute that I can shave off my PB. Sums pledged can be capped so I don’t bankrupt anyone in the unlikely case that I run faster than anticipated.  If you’d like to offer your support please email your pledges to me stating how much per minute you’d like to sponsor me for and any cap that you’d like to put on it. On completing the run I’ll contact you to let you know how I got on and give you details of how to make your donation. Please note that 100% of money raised will go the Mental Health Foundation of NZ as part of the CoastPathRun project.

Other ways that you can help would be to check out our CoastPathRun Facebook Page and give it a ‘like’ or share this blog post with friends and family.

Thanks and happy trails,

Mal

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