100km run fired up his en­thu­si­asm

Hauraki Herald - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - JILL CLEAVE

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.

JILL CLEAVE/STUFF

Paora Ra­haraha has turned his life around.

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