Pedalling for a cause

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
Craig Short
PEDAL PUSHING: Craig Short hopes to finish his 3000km cycling challenge in time for Christmas.

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Pedal powered fundraiser Craig Short had never cycled for more than three days in a row before he decided to bike around New Zealand.

He has been on the road since November 25, cycling an average of 120km a day from one end of the country to the other. The 34-year-old Mt Albert man has less than 500km to go before he finishes cycling from Bluff to Cape Reinga to raise money for the Starship Foundation. He hopes to cross the finish line on Christmas Eve.

The idea for the "Short Challenge" came after he watched his fiancee's 10-year-old cousin battle a brain tumour this year.

"It's brought it a lot closer to home to see the impact that something like that can have on a family.

"At the same time you see the positivity Starship gives people. It really puts things into perspective. When you're complaining about a bad day or something trivial it makes you see what a real problem is."

Mr Short developed tendinitis in his achilles in early December and is taking the trip slowly, even pedalling with one leg for stages of the journey.

"The good news is it's not going to snap. It's not going to stop me from completing this."

Mr Short spent last week cycling around the East Cape and says the loneliness of the landscape was one of the hardest parts.

"The East Cape is pretty hostile as far as cyclists are concerned. There's a hell of a lot of hills and not a lot of anything else. You feel quite isolated from the rest of the country."

Another low point was falling off his bike heading out of Wellington after losing his focus for a moment.

"Mentally it can be a bit of a struggle. You do have to concentrate."

He has already raised more than $16,000 for Starship's National Air Ambulance service.

"It's so exciting now. I can sort of see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I'm also trying not to look too hard there.

"A lot of it is just about getting to the end of the day, sometimes just the top of the next hill. You have to focus on the smaller things and let the big things take care of themselves."

Starship Foundation community fundraising manager Sarah Woodhams says the money Mr Short has raised will help to keep the air ambulance service going.

The service gives medical experts access to life-threatening emergencies around the country, she says.

"The Starship Foundation is so grateful to Craig for his extraordinary commitment to helping Starship kids. He really is going above and beyond to support our national children's hospital."

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Go to shortchallenge.com to follow Craig Short's progress or donate.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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