Run­ning for health


The hol­i­days are over, and its back to the work-a-day tread­mill for most.

How­ever, a Palmer­ston North woman is vol­un­teer­ing to spend 24 hours on a tread­mill to high­light the is­sue of men­tal health.

Stephanie Gilchrist is train­ing to climb Mt Kil­i­man­jaro in Septem­ber to raise aware­ness and funds for the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion.

But be­fore she does she will tackle an­other hur­dle. Next month she will spend 24 hours pound­ing a gym tread­mill.

In prepa­ra­tion to take on the African moun­tain, Gilchrist said she wanted to do monthly chal­lenges.

She was in­spired by longdis­tance Kiwi trail run­ner and Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion fundraiser Mal­colm Law, who in 2015 aged 54, ran 50 marathons in 50 days.

The idea to spend 24 hours on a tread­mill just popped into her head one day, she said.

‘‘I had wanted to do some­thing like this for a while.’’

Gilchrist said she had bat­tled men­tal health prob­lems her­self, so was ex­cited to be able to sup­port the foun­da­tion.

‘‘It is some­thing I have strug­gled with since I was 15-years-old, so it is quite per­sonal to me.’’

How­ever, she is rel­a­tively new to run­ning, hav­ing only be­come se­ri­ous about it four years ago.

‘‘I never thought I’d be a run­ner,’’ she said.

Af­ter her first half marathon she swore she would never do an­other one, how­ever quickly caught the run­ning bug.

Since then she has run 20 half­marathons, two full marathons and two ul­tra-marathons.

Her 24-hour tread­mill walk will be held at Zenith Fit­ness on Fe­bru­ary 11 from mid­day.

Gilchrist ex­pected she would spend the ma­jor­ity of the time walk­ing.

‘‘Maybe I’ll have a jog, I’ll see how I go.’’

She be­gan fundrais­ing in Au­gust, hav­ing set her­self a tar­get of $4000, and was grate­ful for the sup­port that had seen $3200 raised so far.

‘‘It has been re­ally fun. It is not just that it is for a good cause, but it is bring­ing peo­ple to­gether.’’

For those in­ter­ested in walk­ing a sec­tion with her, there will be other tread­mills avail­able.

Gilchrest’s Kil­i­man­jaro trek will take over seven days. She will join a team of ad­ven­tur­ers to climb 5895 me­tres in an at­tempt to reach the sum­mit.

Stephanie Gilchrist will run 24 hours on a tread­mill to raise aware­ness and funds for men­tal health.

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