St Marks team keen for more marathons
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.
The team from St Marks gather before taking part in their first Saint Clair half marathon event.
A member of the St Marks team crosses the finish line after completing the Saint Clair half marathon.