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Kiwi to Run Length of Holland in Pink Body Suit for Charity

Expat Kiwi to Run Length of Holland in Pink Body Suit for Cancer Charity

A Kiwi bloke clad in a hot pink lycra body suit will run the length of Holland in support of a mate’s struggle against cancer.

Oliver Hicks (aka MORPHMAN) is an expatriate Wellingtonian living in the Netherlands. He has spent the past three months rallying support and training hard for the 420 kilometres of his adopted homeland he will cover during 10 days in October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The final countdown to MORPHMAN’s crazy challenge starts tomorrow (October 1), the first day of the international Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Between now and October 22, the first day of his length-of-Holland run, Hicks will be running in a series of warm-up events clad in his eye-catching pink morphsuit. The build-up will culminate on October 20 when Hicks, 30, will be joined by a team of fellow expat Kiwis and homegrown Dutch supporters running the Amsterdam half-marathon in the distinctive pink suit. Two days later, on October 22, Hicks will start his 10-day run from the northern tip of the Netherlands, following a grueling schedule 420km south to Drielandenpunt at the border with Belgium.

WHAT IS MORPHMAN’S MOTIVATION?
Hicks’ good friend Jen Edwards, 28, is a breast cancer survivor. Also an expat Kiwi, Edwards is the partner of Hicks’ mate since he was in nappies, Brendan Garty.

Hicks explains how the courage of both Jen and Brendan facing breast cancer at such an early stage in life inspired him to show his support through the MORPHMAN challenge.

“Jen is one tough cookie. Her diagnosis came unexpectedly two years ago and she has been incredibly strong dealing with everything that has followed since. She had a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and reconstruction”

“I know my challenge to run the length of Holland in a morphsuit is slightly mad, but it’s nothing compared to what she and thousands of other women and men face with cancer every day.

“The MorphRun Ultra 420 will push me physically and mentally and test exactly what I’m capable of when it comes to fitness,” Hicks says.

“Turning 30 has seen me replace the usual beer with a pair of running shoes and I think I'm kind of hooked. Running the length of the country is also a great way to meet the friendly Dutch people – and it helps that it's mainly flat!”

WHAT IS MORPHMAN HOPING TO ACHIEVE?
MORPHMAN has been fortunate to attract a number of sponsors and the enthusiastic support of his team of “Morphies” donning the pink suit for the Amsterdam half-marathon.

His goal is to raise €5000 (NZ$8250) for Pink Ribbon, the breast cancer charity.

“Breast Cancer affects one in every eight women and the Pink Ribbon Foundation wants to improve awareness amongst men in the Netherlands. This is my way of helping achieve this whilst challenging the mind and body,” Hicks says.
Sponsors on board for his challenge include New Balance and Morphsuits NL.

420km in 10 DAYS? WILL HE MAKE IT?
The eye-catching pink morphsuit streaking through Amsterdam’s Vondelpark or running alongside the Amstel River has become a common sight for locals as MORPHMAN ramps up his training. MORPHMAN is proving a hit on the Dutch running circuit. He’s been invited to a number of events, providing great practice for what lies ahead.

Hicks is no stranger to hard physical work. He has completed a marathon, several half-marathons and played representative level rugby, soccer and cricket in New Zealand. He’s squeezing in a couple of half marathons a week before work as part of his training.

Hicks is also lucky to have the support of his Dutch fiancé Catja Thomasson, a qualified doctor. Thomasson is herself not afraid of hard work and taking risks, having recently started her own knitwear label.

HOW CAN KIWIS SHOW THEIR SUPPORT?
Hicks is a proud New Zealander taking on a major challenge in a foreign land. His campaign is all about awareness, a sense of fun and, of course, raising as much money as possible for Pink Ribbon. Those wishing to make a donation of any kind (cash, time, resources or words of encouragement) should visit the MORPHMAN website http://www.morphman.nl/

The MorpRun Ultra 420km trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flB0iOyAuxM
Pink Ribbon Donation Page: http://acties.pinkribbon.nl/acties/morphman/the-morphman-ultra-marathon-420km-run-for-pink-ribbon/

KEY DATES
• October 20 Amsterdam Half Marathon including the Morphies in support
• October 1-31 Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• October 22-31 The MORPHMAN Ultra 420, will see MORPHMAN running the length of the Netherlands in support of the breast cancer charity, Pink Ribbon

DATEDAYSTARTPROVINCEFINISHPROVINCE(KM)
22nd Oct1Northern Tip - North SeaGroningenGrote Markt, GroningenGroningen36.1
23rd Oct2Grote Markt, GronignenGroningenBrink, DwingelooDrenthe51.4
24th Oct3Brink, DwingelooDrentheGrote Markt, ZwolleOverijssel46.7
25th Oct4Grote Market, ZwolleOverijsselApeldoorn ZooGelderland39.5
26th Oct5Royal Palace, ApeldoornGelderlandSt Eusebius' Church, ArnhemGelderland31
27th Oct6John Frost Bridge, ArnhemGelderlandBurchstraat centrum, NijmegenGelderland17.3
28th Oct7Burchstraat centrum, NijmegenGelderlandDe Markt, Eindhoven North Brabant61.1
29th Oct8Eindhoven Evolution Conference CentreNorth BrabantMunsterkerk, RoermondLimburg53.1
30th Oct9Munsterkerk, RoermondLimburgMarkt, MaastrichtLimburg47.4
31st Oct10Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, MaastrichtLimburgLabrynth,Drielandpunt,VaalsLimburg29

ENDS

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