A 1700km run the length of the North Island by a group of Palmerston North Boys’ High students ended on the beach at Wellington’s Island Bay on Tuesday afternoon.
Fifty senior students, divided into five groups, took part in the Te Araroa Trail run, which began two weeks ago at Cape Reinga with the ambition of raising $50,000 for Ronald McDonald House in Wellington.
The boys mostly spent their nights in tents, though they were put up at King’s School in Remuera on the way up to Cape Reinga and on the way back.
Community relations officer Rachel Wenham said the boys enjoyed the last night of the run in the Titahi Bay Surf Lifesaving Clubhouse.
‘‘We’ve paid for nothing, except for the daily peanut butter sandwiches. Tom McVerry from McVerry Crawford got us three new nine-seater Hyundai buses, McFall Fuel donated the diesel, and we stayed in camp grounds for free.’’
She said the generosity, overwhelming food and hospitality shown the group had been extraordinary.
On Saturday, 45 junior students joined the runners from Whanganui through Feilding and Bunnythorpe to Palmerston North.
The last leg, from Johnsonville to Wellington on Tuesday morning, gave the runners plenty of stiff wind resistance.
In central Wellington, a group walked from the Railway Station to Newtown, and raised a further $700 from street donations.
Luke Scott, 16, who ran the sixday Cape Reinga to Auckland leg, said the run was conducted like a relay with each runner putting in a 400-metre burst before tagging the next runner, and jumping aboard the support vehicle.
‘‘That was so we could keep the speed up,’’ he said.
It meant they managed to average 120km a day. However, sometimes the trail meant they had to run as a group.
‘‘They were quite challenging days. We were up early in the morning to get running as soon as the sun came up.’’
The year-12 student returned to the trail in Wellington, joining in the 4km group run from Ronald McDonald House in Newtown to Island Bay.
‘‘It was quite cool to finish together as a group, and to realise how much work we’d done and how much money we raised,’’ Luke said.
Provisionally the figure stands at $24,000, though contributions are still welcome on the everydayhero webpage.
Richard Bell, 17, who ran the Waitomo to Whanganui leg, and joined in the final group effort, said the finish provided a feeling of relief.
‘‘It was a great idea and awesome to do it for such a good cause. It’s a great sense of achievement and great to give back to the community.’’
The year 13 student was looking forward to getting home, having a hot shower and taking it easy for the rest of the school holidays.
Wenham, three teachers – Dave Barwick, Peter Finch and Lindsay Carlton – accompanied the boys for the challenge, and experienced Palmerston North trail runner David Brokenshire joined them for one leg.
Palmerston North Boys’ High finished a marathon fundraiser by running through Berhampore and Island Bay to Wellington’s south coast.