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From Hit-and-run Victim To 48-hour Marathon Runner

Nearly six years after being left for dead in a ditch following an incident during a charity run across the United States, Wellington ultra-distance runner Nick Ashill has set himself a new challenge.

Ashill, dubbed ‘The Miracle Marathon Man’, is planning to run 48-hours from the 8th to 10th of September around a local University field in Wellington raising money for Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ. Ashill is aiming to run 300km which is roughly the driving distance from Wellington to Mount Ruapehu.

It was on day 81 of a charity run across America in 2017, when Ashill was struck by a vehicle in what appeared to be a deliberate hit and run. After a long and arduous recovery, Ashill tested his marathon capabilities again - six years later - by running 24 hours in 2021 to raise funds for Breathe Better September. Then, in mid-2022, Ashill returned to the scene of the hit-and run in the US to finish the almost 5000km run that ended so abruptly in 2017.

This year, Ashill is embarking on a new challenge.

The run - ‘Laps for Lungs’ - is aimed at raising funds and awareness around the impact of respiratory disease in New Zealand, a disease that is the third leading cause of death in New Zealand.

This campaign is close to Ashill’s heart, having lost his mum to the rare respiratory disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2015.

"This is more than just another ultra-marathon," Ashill said.

"Every lap I take symbolises the everyday struggles and challenges faced by those with respiratory issues. By channelling my passion for running into a cause so close to many, I hope to make a tangible difference to the respiratory health community" adds Ashill.

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Supported by Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ and their Friends of the Foundation sponsor, Comfortech, the Breathe Better September campaign hopes to underscore the urgent need for further support, education, and resources within the respiratory health sector in New Zealand.

Ms Letitia Harding, Chief Executive of the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, says, "We are excited by Nick's monumental effort to support our cause, and we are amazed at his dedication and the tenacity he has shown to overcome his own challenges. This unique campaign will undoubtedly shine a light on the pressing respiratory health challenges many New Zealanders face."

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