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Child Cancer benefits from man's grueling race

Child Cancer benefits from local man's grueling race

When Greenhithe real estate salesperson Mark Craig competed in the South Island's physically demanding Coast to Coast event, he was determined to make it worth while for someone other than himself. And it was the Child Cancer Foundation that benefited - to the tune of approximately $1000.

Mark, a salesperson for The Professionals - Albany Real Estate, has been part of the company's long standing relationship with Child Cancer since he began working there four years ago.

To raise funds for Child Cancer as part of his Coast to Coast entry, he asked other Professionals staff members and some of his Greenhithe clients to dip into their pockets to donate dollars for every minute he chopped off last year's time.

He completed the event in 15 hours and 52 minutes knocking an hour and a half off his 2003 result. A veteran entrant, he achieved an overall placing of 227th in a field of 633 comprising 413 individual competitors and 220 competing in teams.

"There's just an unbelievable feeling of satisfaction and success that drives you on to go back and do better, and this year it was really satisfying to know that some children with cancer would benefit in a small way too."

During the race Mark experienced unforeseen challenges that he says are all just part of the race'. A spectacular tumble on the Southern Alps meant he had to bear the pain of bruised buttocks for the rest of the event, and atrocious weather conditions meant that he endured freezing temperatures, rain and hail during the 5.5 hour paddle on the Waimakarere River.

"But that's adventure racing! I got thrown around all over the place. I loved it." Training for about 20 hours a week for the grueling event while maintaining his position as a leading salesperson with the Professionals means the day often starts at 4am and sometimes doesn't end until 1am.

Mark plans to have a break from the Coast to Coast next year, but in 2006 plans to enter The Longest Day category - that means doing the entire event in one day instead of spreading it over two days as most competitors do.

Coast to Coast comprises a 3km run on the West Coast, a 56km bike ride, a 38km mountain run over the Southern Alps, a 15km bike ride, a 67km paddle down the Waimakarere River and a 70km bike ride to the finish at Sumner Beach on the East Coast.

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