London Marathon 2024

These last 9 months have been a wild ride of ups and downs towards the start of the London Marathon. It began with an idea of doing the iconic race in my racing wheelchair, whilst wearing my squirrel suit. How I got the squirrel suit is another story. I’ve completed many events here in Auckland in various costumes, but this event would be a huge step up.

I would be the first to take part in this Elite wheelchair event in costume. Firstly overcoming the rather substantial financial challenge (largely in thanks to Hollister) I secured my place with a marathon tour company. Hollister has been a massive supporter of my progress the last couple of years, and I must say, without their unwavering support, I would’ve been able to complete this goal. Thank you Hollister.

Fast forward several months, finding my friend Graeme Williams and myself navigating the flooding Dubai on the way to London. Also no easy feet of blagging my way into the event itself. The organisers were not as excited as I was about the prospect of being in costume, for the Elite racing wheelchair category. However, I managed to run the 26miles with the masses (not as an Elite wheelchair) as this was a compromise they were prepared to make in order for me to participate.

This was incredible journey and the energy from the crowds throughout the entire course, is only able to be described as exceptional. You need to have experienced it to believe just how powerful the cheers and motivation was for 42.2km!!  I had never experienced anything like it. If you ever get the opportunity to tick this box, do it!!

I’m now on the way to getting my Abbotts 6 Star Medal… But that’s a story for another day. I’ll revisit in November, when I do the New York Marathon, as a squirrel!! 🙂

TCS London Marathon 2024TCS London Marathon 2024

Right Track – Sat 9th March (Te Ara Tutuki Pai)

A wonderful group today of young people at risk… The Right Track program offers really supports their ethos of the ripple effect.

I love how they deliver such an amazing program each time. They stylise and deliver the program at the right level for each specific group.

These teens/tweens are great, and after talking to the presenters, many of them have opened up and changed dramatically over the last 5 days. Fills me with confidence in the future of our youth and society at large.

I am privileged to be part of this program and helping support changing lives, shaping our youth and changing the future!

2024 Round the Bays – 3rd March (my 21st RtBs)

After several months of training in the garage, I finally get out into the wide, open suburban wilderness.

This is my 21st RtB’s event, wow how did that happen!! I started doing it in my day chair (everyday chair, not the racechair I use now) 1996 and it took 54mins! Today I managed 25mins and I just turned 50 a couple of weeks ago, old tricks for old dog. Even managed to catch up with old friend Dom Harvey, and new friend (I hope) Blair Tuke.

Over $227,000 raised for 94 deserving charities, and on top of that $25,000 to Live Ocean Foundation, and $10,000 to The Y North. Big thanks to all those that donated and/or helped raise these funds.

So much fun, even with the rain it was great to see a massive turn out, approximately 27,000 in total! There was 3 of us racechair users at the RtB start line, first time in years it’s not been just me in costume racechair! There was another group further back from the Elite racechairs, with Spinal Support, there was more day chair users pushing the course, some using the Freewheel attachment (great product, I have one too, not a paid endorsement).

I kept most of my race numbers after seeing a few on a friends wall, they look great and so colourful.

Each event has meant so much to me, in terms of continued commitment to fitness and highlighting disability. It’s only through the support and help from family and friends I’m able to do any of my fitness endeavours. The saying “standing on the shoulders of giants” comes to mind, as I compete alone, I couldn’t do it without others behind me.

 

Certificate

Right Track – Te Ara Tutuki Pai

Again, I visited ASU (Auckland Spinal Unit) to help support a great program, The Right Track.

This program helps support at risk teens/tweenties and learn to make changes (better choices) in their lives. John, Brenton do a fantastic job of delivering this ripple effect program and it culminates on the last day at the ASU.

Along with Lee Taniwha, Steve and myself, there is a couple of physio’s Orla and Rose.

A huge thank you for allowing myself to be part of this program and support these individuals to improve their own lives. It’s a privilege to be part of their lives and getting asked some serious questions about what happened to me to end up in a wheelchair.

Auckland Marathon 2023

For a short/highlight video of my pushing the marathon, click here…

Not just another marathon, this is only my 6th marathon, my third Auckland Marathon over the Harbour Bridge.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in the first 2018 Harbour Bridge crossing when wheelchairs were invited back into the Auckland Marathon event. That first time was a bit of eye opener, then I smashed it in 2021 (actually January 2022 due to being postponed due to Covid19 restrictions), wearing my squirrel suit, in under 3 hours.

This year I only wore my squirrel head, not the entire suit, due to my fitness level, and I wanted to test the adjustments we had made to the head (thanks to All West Canvas for getting adjustments done during a lunch break!). Went to the registration on Sat with Chris, cheers for the ride, along with my race chair. Then I collected Chris from the finish line, on way to the start line Sunday morning. At the finish line my friend Graeme collected me at the finish, and took me back to the start, to collect my own car. Sounds confusing, but this was the best way to organise Chris and my chairs to the start, and letting my friend Graeme get another few hours sleep!

The Marathon itself was great, along with Achilles helping organise and support it for the disabled entrants, I felt so privileged and happy with how it went. Planning pre-event, registration and post-event wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful, helpful faces or Achilles team of athlete and supporters. A huge thank you to you all. Chris and I got out of the car in complete darkness, amidst a whirlwind of a storm of wind, nut luckily no rain.

Started pushing around and warm up before hitting the hills of Church Street after the starters orders. Going around Takapuna on our way to the Smales Farm bus station, I was thinking, “Why am I doing this? I could’ve sleep in today.”. Then along the bus road, and over the Harbour Bridge. Around this time I twisted my wrist, because the last 15 or so km were slow and sore. I didn’t push very hard and my heart rate dropped to around 130BPM. As we went through Silo Park were the tram tracks were, someone jumped out in front of me, and made me drop into the track. Luckily I did loose my wheel or damage anything, so that’s good.

By the time I reached the finish line at Victoria Park, my wrist was still hurting, but now so was my shoulder due trying to offset sore wrist… Ha ha, my shoulder didn’t hurt for long, just pulled muscles I think.

Overall, wonderful event, great people, and I fully recommend the Auckland Marathon to anyone for running over the Harbour Bridge! Yes-haa

OHS Awards Ceremony

Wonderful day, and great to come back to my old Alumni awards. Onehunga High School puts on awards every year and I come along to help out one student.

It’s great to see this from most schools, where they ask parents/caregivers to come in and celebrate the successes of students. During the OHS awards I chatted to a couple of parents and a coach, who agreed this event really help promotes success to students.

I’m happy and privileged being part of this process with the deans picking the student. Students selected each year (unsuspectingly) receives and special scholarship from me. I give a cash award to a deserving student each year that nest fits criteria I gave to to OHS several years ago. The students are always surprised and have no idea what the award is for.  I love that special personal approach and after the awards, we have a brief catch up where I explain the reason behind this award.

It’s because when I was younger I didn’t have any direction or focus. After a few years of consideration, I thought it would be a great idea to give something to a student (like me), so they can be encouraged to do ‘something’ with their life.

Boccia regionals – 10th Sept

It was an early start for me on a Sunday, but I knew nothing about the game, so it’s a step learning curve from there!

I learned so much in the first game and even managed to enter most of the scores right. Well, it turns out this is a great game, and I found it quite intense once I started to understand the rules. Honestly, in one games I was watching, I thought it might be easy, it looked easy. In reality, I know it only looked easy, because the guy I was watching was good.

A big thank you for being invited to help out, and helping teach me the game. I look forward to helping support Boccia again in the future.

Right Track – Large Group

I was privileged to speak the Right Track program today.

This program is to help the youth of today become better and make better choices. The week long program is aimed at supporting youth that has been in trouble, or at risk of being in trouble with the police.

Big thanks to the Spinal Unit and Right Track for having me. Rose and Orla did a fantastic job of setting everything up for Lee Taniwha and myself. We had a new guy Steven and next time seems like he’ll be jumping into to the program as well.

They were all really receptive and asked some great questions. I really enjoy watching them all learn about spinal injuries and being in the chairs while going through the obstacle course.

StepUp -Skytower corporate public climb

What a fantastic event, always is 🙂

All funds raised go towards LBC NZ to help and support people with cancers. They do great work in the public sector supporting so many different people with so many different cancers. I’m proud to be able to help this event, along with FiredUp Events.

It always amazes me how this event starts, so fast and rushed everything, then ending abruptly. Fun, fun, fun, then stop! Ha ha. Just smashing through the day and letting all these wonderful people come and play, running up the tower. They’re always so happy to get themselves out of breath, and some of them have even trained for this! Ha ha.

If you want to get involved, or your company to get a team together, check out the StepUp website  or LBC calendar for entry conditions. I have no idea, I just help make people smile and wait around at the start ready line 😀