Planning on 50 marathons in 50 days
World champion ultra distance runner Anna Frost thinks he’s mad, wife Sally agrees and even Mal Law doubts his sanity.
The ultra distance runner is trying not to panic through the final days before he begins his own ‘‘ludicrous concept’’ - the High 50 Challenge to raise $250,000 for the Mental Health Foundation by running 50 mountain marathons in 50 days.
Law has been training for two years and begins at the Tarawera Ultramarathon event in Rotorua on February 7.
‘‘I think the biggest high, which will happen before I start, is we will hit the $250,000 fundraising target. At which point, I amgoing to say, ‘Okay, $400,000’. I amgoing to raise the bar, set a new goal,’’ he told the Mirror last week.
‘‘Lows, yep, I have periodic lows. I have a personal relationship with my causes. My brother-in-law committed suicide. I get panic attacks. I can get overwhelmed by things. Last week I had a two-day meltdown, convinced I wasn’t going to get ready in time, from an organisational point of view. That is where Sally is amazing. Sally is the voice of reason. She gives me amazing support, is so calm and rational.’’
Law overcame last week’s panic attacks by disconnecting from the world and stepping into the outdoors for two days with Frost, a patron of the challenge.
‘‘Frostie has asked me, why not just 50 peaks? That’s amazing in itself. Where did this marathon thing come from?’’
After their training mission in the Motatapu Valley he came home ‘‘a new man’’.
He also explored the panic attacks with local GP Andrew McLeod and learned more about the physiological flightfight responses triggered when things get psychologically overwhelming.
Accepting his body might clap out, he has a plan B, ‘‘as a comfort, not an escape route. I have never really been a fan of plan Bs’’.
‘‘If I succeed, I won’t regret it. But the most important thing is that I raise the funds . . . so plan B is to focus on the peaks and relax about the marathons.’’
If medically unfit to continue, his supporting runners have pledged to complete his planned daily missions as a team, while Law has promised to support them.
‘‘It is not just about me. The only thing I lose is my ego and pride,’’ he said.
‘‘I really, really want to do all 50. But I know if I don’t, I haven’t wasted the last two years of my life.’
In training: Mal Law trains on Mt Iron, Wanaka.
What: High 50 Challenge - 50 mountain marathons in 50 days
When: starts February 7, Auckland
Why: Mental Health Foundation charity fundraiser
More info: high50.org.nz
The 10 day count down January 30-February 2: The Laws drive from Wanaka to Auckland. Training maximum 30 minutes a day. February 3: Meet Mental Health Foundation in Auckland, documentary filming, farewell luncheon.
February 4: Last minute organisation and media
February 5: Drive Auckland to Rotorua for a casual fun run in the evening. February 6: Resting in Rotorua. Keynote speaker at Tarawera Ultramarathon pre-event function. February 7: High 50 Challenge begins. Law will run part of the Tarawera Ultra course, deviating to include Mt Rangitoto.