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165 participants in the ASB Auckland marathon over the weekend had added incentive, motivated by their work as Charity Superstars as they raised money and awareness for six official charities aligned to the event, with the total raised currently at $650,000 and rising as final donations come in.

Race Director Adam McDonald says the Charity Superstar Programme ensures a long-lasting legacy in the community.

“The Charity Superstars help the ASB Auckland Marathon leave an imprint on the community long after we have packed up. It is a wonderful way for people to show their support for charitable organisations that might have helped them or been close to their families at some point in time, this is their chance to give something back.

“Each and every person that signs up has a personal back-story, each and every one is doing something to help others, we are just humbled that our event can provide that platform for them and deliver tangible benefits back to the charities – something that is all the more important in the world we currently live in and gives a very real connection for the event with the community.”

Simon Trye took on multiple challenges, one was to raise money for KidsCan, a charity that does great work in his Kerikeri community. The other was to do so by running the Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon in his full firefighting kit and breathing apparatus. The third was to chase a Guinness World Record of three and a half hours in the process.

The Whenuapai based RNZAF Firefighter ticked off so many boxes, raising $14,000 (and counting) for KidsCan while at the same time drawing attention to the incredible work the charity does in his local community.

But a 15-minute delay in a support vehicle getting to a vital oxygen bottle to a planned changeover point ultimately cost him that official record, as the brave Kerikeri 39-year-old crossed the line exhausted in 3:30:36.

“We had a few technical issues in there, but I am rapt with how it went, the crew was great. Everyone on the course was great, there seemed like a million people out there giving me a pat on the back and saying good work mate, so yeah, I am rapt.”

Despite the disappointment of just missing the record, Trye was able to focus on the big picture and main reason for his crazy challenge.

“Last time I looked we were at 12 and a half grand and that is down to my wife and all her social media stuff. To everyone out there that donated, thank you. And there is still time, up to 30 days, just get on the everyday hero site and look me up, Simon Trye and donate if you can, that would be great.”

And he had only one thing on his mind after a 21k run wearing 24kg of extra gear.

“I am going to get these pants off – I feel like I am swimming in them. Then I think I will find a beer; I didn’t think I would want one but I feel like one right now so I will sit down with a beer and recover.”

Steve Ciprian took on the full ASB Marathon on Sunday and did so for official Charity Superstar charity Catwalk Trust, as he looked to give back to an organization looking to fund research into a cure for those whose movement is impacted by spinal cord injuries. This is after he broke four vertebrae in his back and neck in 2018 and miraculously came away with his health and movement intact.

“That finish line is a huge relief, I had no expectation going in, just finishing was my goal and being able to raise a little money for Catwalk along the way. I have been really humbled, it was great to come down that finish line and enjoy that support.

“The high was the bridge, the low was running out on Tamaki Drive and back running away from the finish line. But that was a lot of fun and I am just really thankful I kept going the whole way. I am probably a little undercooked but less than two years ago I was flat on my back with four fractured vertebrae!”

Ciprian found extra strength from those supporting his run for Catwalk.

“There were times when I thought, ‘shit I wish I could stop’. But people have paid money for me to do this and that is a powerful thing, anything I can do to help Catwalk. Someone blessed me in my story and if I can give that back to someone somehow in any way I can, let’s kick this thing in the guts once and find a cure for it.

“Having had to mentally and emotionally go ‘what if’ – I just admire all those people and their strength and courage, so anything I can do to help Catwalk in their work is just a great thing to try and do.”

At last report, Ciprian’s fundraising efforts had nudged the five-thousand-dollar mark, providing vital support to Catwalk and the work they do.

Jessica Penberthy was walking for the Stroke Foundation, the 32 year old having had three strokes before the age of 31

“Despite the disruption of COVID-19, we had stroke survivors from our coffee group attend, with families joining in the 5km walk as well as many supporting us from the sidelines. We stuck together as a group and encouraged each other to make it to the finish line.

“Many stroke survivors are affected severely, some people are only able to walk with a cane, so to be able to walk the 5km on behalf of them was an honour. I am so proud of our team. For a couple of us, it was hard getting to the finish, but we knew it was for a great cause, as we have experienced firsthand the great work that The Stroke Foundation NZ do.”

Penberthy and her ‘team’ of walkers have raised $3,600 thanks to the wonderful support of family, friends and complete strangers donating, but says the money is only one part of their efforts.

“I'm also thankful that I was able to share my story as I hope it spreads awareness that stroke can happen to anyone, at any age. Please remember if you, or anyone you know are experiencing a stroke, please B.E.F.A.S.T.”

That BEFAST system for stroke recognition and action is:

BALANCE - Is the person suddenly having trouble with balance or coordination?

EYES - Is the person experiencing suddenly blurred or double vision or a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes?

FACE - Is their face drooping on one side? Can they smile?

ARM - Is one arm weak? Can they raise both arms?
SPEECH - Is their speech jumbled or slurred? Can they speak at all?
TAKE ACTION - Call 111 immediately.

Money for the official charities will continue to come in as runners close out their everyday hero fundraising pages and generate final donations, a final total is expected to be known by the end of November.

ASB Auckland Marathon
Charity Superstar Programme
Gut Cancer Foundation, Stroke Foundation, Mental Health, KidsCan, Cancer Society, Catwalk Trust

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