Plan­ning on 50 marathons in 50 days

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

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:

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.

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