St Marks team keen for more marathons

Marlborough Midweek - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

Clock­ing-up their first half marathon has in­spired staff at a drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion cen­tre to make it a reg­u­lar move.

It was smiles all round from the team from St Marks res­i­den­tial treat­ment cen­tre in Blen­heim who saw months of hard work and train­ing pay off in the Saint Clair Half Marathon event last week­end..

The team, made up of nine res­i­dents and 12 staff and board mem­bers took part in the run. For the ma­jor­ity it was their first time at the event. .

Man­ager Peter Ri­jh­nen came up with the idea af­ter run­ning in last year’s half marathon.

‘‘I did it last year and I started to think it would be a nice idea if more peo­ple got in­volved; board mem­bers, clients and staff and then we’d have a team.

‘‘It’s about sup­port­ing each other too and I started spread­ing the word and more and more peo­ple said yes,’’ he says.

St Marks’ treat­ment model is based around Te Whare tapa Wha, a Ma¯ori con­cept based around pro­mot­ing the pil­lars of a healthy mind, body, spirit, fam­ily and com­mu­nity.

Clients ar­riv­ing at St Marks of­ten have co-ex­ist­ing men­tal ill­nesses and some are phys­i­cally and psy­cho­log­i­cally un­well.

Ri­jh­nen says reg­u­lar ex­er­cise has an im­por­tant part to play in help­ing with re­cov­ery.

‘‘On a week­day, ev­ery morn­ing be­gins with a walk.

‘‘Phys­i­cal ex­er­cise is re­ally im­por­tant be­cause peo­ple with all kinds of ad­dic­tions come here. It’s a way of do­ing some­thing to­gether; it’s not the life they were used to.

‘‘It is good for health and for clients to be­long to a team cul­ture,’’ he says.

Walks in the Wither Hills and along­side the Tay­lor River most week­ends com­ple­mented the weekly day train­ing.

The Saint Clair Half Marathon started in 2007 with 200 en­trants in the first event. It now reg­u­larly at­tracts about 1500 run­ners and walk­ers.

‘‘I would like to see this [the marathon] be­come an an­nual event and for us to do more events like it - it’s a re­ally good thing to do,’’ he says.

PHOTO: PETER RI­JH­NEN

The team from St Marks gather be­fore tak­ing part in their first Saint Clair half marathon event.

PHOTO: PETER RI­JH­NEN

A mem­ber of the St Marks team crosses the fin­ish line af­ter com­plet­ing the Saint Clair half marathon.

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