Ped­alling for a cause


PEDAL POW­ERED fundraiser Craig Short had never cy­cled for more than three days in a row be­fore he de­cided to bike around New Zealand.

He has been on the road since Novem­ber 25, cy­cling an av­er­age of 120km a day from one end of the coun­try to the other. The 34-year-old Mt Al­bert man has less than 500km to go be­fore he fin­ishes cy­cling from Bluff to Cape Reinga to raise money for the Star­ship Foun­da­tion. He hopes to cross the fin­ish line on Christ­mas Eve.

The idea for the ‘‘Short Chal­lenge’’ came af­ter he watched his fi­ancee’s 10-year-old cousin bat­tle a brain tu­mour this year.

‘‘It’s brought it a lot closer to home to see the im­pact that some­thing like that can have on a fam­ily.

‘‘At the same time you see the pos­i­tiv­ity Star­ship gives peo­ple. It re­ally puts things into per­spec­tive. When you’re com­plain­ing about a bad day or some­thing triv­ial it makes you see what a real prob­lem is.’’

Mr Short de­vel­oped ten­dini­tis in his achilles in early De­cem­ber and is tak­ing the trip slowly, even ped­alling with one leg for stages of the jour­ney.

‘‘The good news is it’s not go­ing to snap. It’s not go­ing to stop me from com­plet­ing this.’’

Mr Short spent last week cy­cling around the East Cape and says the lone­li­ness of the land­scape was one of the hard­est parts.

‘‘The East Cape is pretty hos­tile as far as cy­clists are con­cerned. There’s a hell of a lot of hills and not a lot of any­thing else. You feel quite iso­lated from the rest of the coun­try.’’

Another low point was fall­ing off his bike head­ing out of Wellington af­ter los­ing his fo­cus for a mo­ment.

‘‘Men­tally it can be a bit of a strug­gle. You do have to con­cen­trate.’’

He has al­ready raised more than $16,000 for Star­ship’s Na­tional Air Am­bu­lance ser­vice.

‘‘It’s so ex­cit­ing now. I can sort of see the light at the end of the tun­nel, but I’m also try­ing not to look too hard there.

‘‘A lot of it is just about get­ting to the end of the day, some­times just the top of the next hill. You have to fo­cus on the smaller things and let the big things take care of them­selves.’’

Star­ship Foun­da­tion com­mu­nity fundrais­ing man­ager Sarah Wood­hams says the money Mr Short has raised will help to keep the air am­bu­lance ser­vice go­ing.

The ser­vice gives med­i­cal ex­perts ac­cess to lifethreat­en­ing emer­gen­cies around the coun­try, she says.

‘‘The Star­ship Foun­da­tion is so grate­ful to Craig for his ex­tra­or­di­nary com­mit­ment to help­ing Star­ship kids. He re­ally is go­ing above and be­yond to sup­port our na­tional chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal.’’

Pedal push­ing: Craig Short hopes to fin­ish his 3000km cy­cling chal­lenge in time for Christ­mas.

Good cause: Craig Short says his cy­cle chal­lenge is hard work but very re­ward­ing.

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