Pu­taruru run­ner puts on his wings

South Waikato News - - Front Page -

A Pu­taruru run­ner will wear his heart on his sleeve as he at­tempts to raise aware­ness of spinal cord in­juries by go­ing the ex­tra mile.

Martin Blox­ham will take part in a unique global race staged si­mul­ta­ne­ously in 34 coun­tries.

This is the third year he has par­tic­i­pated in The Wings for Life World Run which will be held in Mel­bourne in May.

And the vol­un­teer from the Spinal Cord So­ci­ety in Mata­mata will run for two friends who can’t.

Danny Mcbride and Marc van de Laar from Pu­taruru will be the driv­ing force be­hind Blox­ham’s goal to com­plete the 10 kilo­me­tre run.

He will race in the 55-60 age cat­e­gory and it seems his en­thu­si­asm for the cause has caught on as six lo­cals join him in the event.

‘‘It’s a high. You feel like you’re achiev­ing some­thing and your not just sit­ting on your butt and your do­ing it with dear friends to­gether.’’

Train­ing has been ‘‘stepped’’ up with re­sis­tant train­ing, burpees and in­creased walk­ing ses­sions.

‘‘Where can you raise money and have fun and still be ac­tive.’’

Armed with a de­sire to raise aware­ness of the high num­ber of spinal in­juries in New Zealand, Blox­ham has been on a mis­sion to get as much money as he can.

Since start­ing in Fe­bru­ary, he has added $500 to the kitty with raf­fle tick­ets, stalls at the Mata­mata mar­ket and a din­ner held at the Cam­bridgerac­ing Track.

He, along with run­ners from ev­ery cor­ner of the world, are try­ing to bring the cure for spinal in­jury one step closer.

Thanks to the race, around £7 mil­lion (NZ$14,517,400) so far has been raised to help with re­search projects around the world.

‘‘That’s why I do it. I can run, I’m a jock, so why can’t I run for some­one who can’t,’’ Blox­ham said.

The pi­o­neer was one of the orig­i­nal com­peti­tors who ran in Auckland when the run first started glob­ally in 2014.

Sup­porter Philip van de Laar said he gave his full credit to any fi­nan­cial sup­port that might help his brother walk again.

‘‘Marc’s aware what Martin’s do­ing. Phys­i­cally he has a life long in­jury so hope­fully this re­search can help.’’

Pu­taruru sup­port­ers (back left to right) Philip van de Laar, Waylon Paki, 7, Han­nah van de Laar and Bray­don Paki, 11, will be cheer­ing Martin Blox­ham and Wis­dom Whare,15 (front) as they head out to Mel­bourne for The Wings for Life World Run.

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