A marathon ef­fort

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

WHEN Mark Colthart hits the wall as he runs the Auck­land Marathon this year, he’ll be re­peat­ing one word to him­self over and over again – courage.

It’s some­thing he’ll be need­ing to make his tar­get time of un­der four hours and he hopes it will spur him on when “ev­ery fi­bre in my body wants to lie down and go to sleep”.

But the mantra is also some­thing in­spired by his mother, who passed away ear­lier this year af­ter a long bat­tle with can­cer.

“My mum showed an im­mense amount of courage in her bat­tle,” he says.

Mark will be re­mem­ber­ing his mother in more ways than one when he crosses the start line on Novem­ber 1.

He’s run­ning to raise money for Mercy Hospice Auck­land, which looked af­ter her in her fi­nal months and dur­ing which time the staff be­came like an ex­tended fam­ily, he says.

“They’re just very car­ing peo­ple that work there,” he says.

“They treat every­one there with a great amount of dig­nity and com­pas­sion.

“I had been looking for some­thing to do to try and pay them back.”

So far his fundrais­ing at­tempt is go­ing “phe­nom­e­nally well”.

Al­though he set an orig­i­nal tar­get of $3000, his on­line fundrais­ing page has reached $3800 so he’s set the bar even higher at $5000.

And to top off his ef­fort, his fam­ily will be donat- ing an ex­tra $20 for ev­ery minute he knocks off his pre­vi­ous time of four hours, 25 min­utes.

The Mt Eden res­i­dent has been ris­ing at 3.30am to fit in train­ing five to six times a week, cov­er­ing a to­tal dis­tance of about 70km, which he’ll be step­ping up in the com­ing weeks.

He’s also been cross-train­ing with off-road run­ning and swim­ming and says he’s feel­ing pretty con­fi­dent he’ll set a new per­sonal best.

The trick, he says, will be get­ting to the start line without in­jury.

It’s the third time he’s run the event but he says do­ing it for char­ity is a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence and has given him ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion.

“I of­ten think about it when I’m out train­ing,” he says.

“It’s made a real dif­fer­ence on those morn­ings that I didn’t want to get out of bed.”

Mercy Hospice cor­po­rate and com­mu­nity part­ner­ships fundraiser Ver­ity LeeSang says it’s won­der­ful to have Mark giv­ing back to the hospice in this way.

She says there have al- ready been a few peo­ple this year who have fundraised through sim­i­lar events such as Round the Bays and it’s some­thing the hospice is try­ing to pro­mote.

“We want to en­cour­age peo­ple in the pub­lic to think like that.

“If you’re think­ing of do­ing a chal­leng­ing event, why not link it with a char­ity.

“It makes it so much more worth­while,” she says.

To do­nate to Mark’s fundrais­ing ef­forts, visit www.fundraiseon­line.co.nz/ MarkColthart.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Mercy mis­sion: Mark Colthart is run­ning the Auck­land Marathon to raise money for Mercy Hospice.

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