100km run fired up his enthusiasm
Running for a cause instead of running from the cops has fired up one young Paeroa man’s enthusiasm.
Paora Raharaha, 25, recently ran his first 100 kilometre event to raise funds for his neice Courtney Collier and a week later is still buzzing with how good the experience made him feel.
Courtney, head girl at Paeroa College, is battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer.
Born and bred in Paeroa, Raharaha finished a four-year stint in jail 18 months ago and since then he said he had not looked back.
‘‘I met a man before I left jail and he invited me to take part in an addiction programme he was running and I owe a lot to that man,’’ he said.
‘‘I was a naughty kid growing up, taking the line my parents never wanted me to take, joined a gang and went right down the wrong path. But I am here to say I am on the right path now and want to help other young people who are struggling to stay on the right side of life, to have respect for others and realise they can do anything they want if they put their minds to it,’’ he said.
Raharaha has passed two courses in the past 15 months, and is now a qualified personal trainer and has a degree in money management from Te Wanganga o Aotearoa and is in the final weeks of his business studies certificate.
‘‘I tried to find work in Hamilton but a lot of doors closed on me because of my record and then I started thinking about going into business for myself, came home to Paeroa and started a fitness club about two months ago,’’ he said.
He said he ran the Hauraki Rail Trail Trilogy run from Kaiaua to Waihi after organising club members into three teams to do various lengths of the event, for the challenge.
‘‘Courtney was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, last year. The chemotherapy treatments have taken their toll and she has had to stay away from school, Paeroa College where she is head girl, and that is hard enough for her and her family without the added financial pressures,’’ he said.
‘‘And you know, when I asked if I could run for her and raise funds, they asked me if I needed anything, new shoes or whatever. Amazing people.’’
The fitness club, Paeroa 24 Fit Club, works out of the Paeroa Scout Hall and he said a lot of the training was outdoors, like boot-camps.
‘‘I want to get the whole town pumping, I feel so great after the event. I want to thank everyone for their support, my family who came from as far as Australia and Waiheke Island and ran and cycled with me and the trilogy people who let us on the trail and were so good to us. It was fantastic,’’ he said.
Raharaha is planning more long distance events, one of which will see him taking a whole school, and the parents and caregivers, on the Hauraki Rail Trail on a sponsored run to raise money for them.
Paora Raharaha has turned his life around.