Twelve months ago, Jaden Burrell achieved something special at Harbour Sport's Shore To Shore event.
The then 21-year-old finished the 5km community fun run in one hour and four minutes.
This might not seem overly quick in most people's books, but for a man with one of the rarest genetic disorders in the world, it was an awe-inspiring achievement.
Burrell, now 22, from Birkenhead, was born with Albright Hereditary Osteodystrophy.
He spent most of his childhood in and out of hospital, has major problems with his feet, and has undergone many corrective operations for the likes of bones growing in the wrong direction.
He also struggles with many simple daily tasks others take for granted.
He can't write for extended periods, and unlocking doors with a key, tying shoelaces, even using a can opener, are all difficult.
He is just one of two people in the world known to have the condition, and even made the American Journal of Medical Genetics in 2002.
But despite the challenge of his life, Burrell's a determined man. He wants to make something of himself.
Over time he has learnt that to achieve his goals he has to cope with pain, and in many cases fight through it.
Now, the Shore To Shore is looming large again.
On March 30, Burrell will be lining up with 5000 competitors at Takapuna Grammar School, with one thing on his mind.
"I want to beat my time of last year. And I'm confident I can do it. I want to do it somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour, " he says.
To do that, he knows it's going to hurt and he'll be really sore afterwards. But he doesn't care. He views it as "good pain".
"Last year it was an eight/ nine out of ten on the pain barrier. "But I don't take any pills or anything. I've just learnt to live with it.
"It's mostly in my feet so afterwards I'll just sit with my legs up to help recover, " he says.
Last year he did the event with an old teacher from Verran Primary School, who provided valuable support particularly when times got tough.
But this year Burrell's set himself a big target, and wants to do by himself.
With that determination, who can doubt he'll cross the finish line at Milford Reserve inside his target time.
Not bad for someone who struggles to just cross his legs.
- North Shore Times
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