Thou­sands raised

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

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.

PHOTO: KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Palmer­ston North Boys’ High fin­ished a marathon fundraiser by run­ning through Ber­ham­pore and Is­land Bay to Welling­ton’s south coast.

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