Marathon ef­fort in­spires teen to run

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

‘‘It was such an in­cred­i­ble thing to do, such a bril­liant dis­trac­tion.’’

A for­mer Mata­mata res­i­dent and her son have both been in­spired by marathon run­ner Vanessa Oshima.

Last week the Chron­i­cle pub­lished a story about Vanessa, who com­pleted the world’s six ma­jor marathons and was con­tin­u­ously run­ning for her friend Caro­line Steer, un­til she was cancer free.

Caro­line, who raised her fam­ily in Tau­ranga O Moana, was di­ag­nosed with mul­ti­ple breast can­cers in 2012, and has had a mas­tec­tomy, chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­a­tion treat­ment.

She says she was hop­ing to take the treat­ment into her stride, but it ’re­ally kicked’ and she re­alised she would have to find a strat­egy for deal­ing with the treat­ment.

It was on day three of her treat­ment that things changed af­ter Caro­line saw a Face­book post from her for­mer Mata­mata Col­lege friend Vanessa about go­ing for a run.

‘‘I thought, that’s it, I’m go­ing to need to get mov­ing.’’

It was around this time that Vanessa of­fered to con­tin­u­ously run for Caro­line.

‘‘It was such an in­cred­i­ble thing to do and such a bril­liant dis­trac­tion,’’ says Caro­line. ’’For so many rea­sons I loved it and looked for­ward to her posts.’’

It’s not only Caro­line who has been in­spired, but also her son Con­nor, a year 13 stu­dent at St Paul’s Col­le­giate in Hamilton.

Con­nor, a for­mer Hin­uera Pri­mary stu­dent, took up the chal­lenge to run ev­ery­day and is on day 429.

The 17-year-old is ded­i­cated to run­ning, choos­ing to run be­tween three and 10kms daily.

He ran with ap­pen­dici­tis and post surgery (un­der his mum’s close ob­ser­va­tion).

‘‘I ran in my hospi­tal gown and jan­dals,’’ he laughed.

Con­nor has en­tered the Auck­land marathon, with the 40 mem­ber strong Step out for Cancer team. Each team mem­ber pledged to raise $1500 for the Cancer So­ci­ety. Con­nor aims to raise $2000.

Con­nor will start univer­sity next year and with a few big years ahead of him, he can’t make big goals for his run­ning. But he would like to run with Vanessa in the Tokyo marathon.

‘‘My goal is the Auck­land Marathon, I haven’t looked be­yond that, other than I will keep run­ning.’’

PHOTO: REXINE HAWES

Con­nor Steer and his mum Caro­line have been in­spired by marathon run­ner Vanessa Oshima.

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