NZ finally catching up to world with marathon fundraising

Auckland Marathon participants crossing the Harbour Bridge.
Darryl Carey

Auckland Marathon participants crossing the Harbour Bridge.

Marathon running for a good cause is on the rise in New Zealand, and it's music to the ears of many local charities and support organisations, who rely heavily on donations from events of this kind.

In 2013, just one per cent of participants in the Auckland Marathon engaged in fundraising, bringing in approximately $120,000.

Since the integration of a full fundraising program in 2014, a total of $3 million (expected to rise to $3.5 million by the end of this year's event) has been raised with approximately 16 percent of this year's entrants actively engaging in fundraising.

Lissa Mitchell is running this year's 12K Traverse event at the Auckland Marathon to raise money for Mental Health ...
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Lissa Mitchell is running this year's 12K Traverse event at the Auckland Marathon to raise money for Mental Health Foundation.

Following in the footsteps of the world's largest marathons, where running for charity is par for the course and big business (more than 75 per cent of runners in the London Marathon are fundraisers), local marathons such as Auckland's have been one step behind, but are catching up fast.

Participants in this year's ASB Auckland Marathon, held on October 30, have two options for raising money while they run.

One is a Golden Charity entry, which grants a very limited special entry into the 12k Traverse, Barfoot and Thompson Half and ASB Full marathon, allocated to a small number of carefully selected charities.

The start line at the Auckland Marathon.
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The start line at the Auckland Marathon.

Those signing up for one of these places for the 2016 event will need to raise a pre-agreed amount of money for their charity. This is set by the individual charities, but is approximately $1500 for the half marathon and $2000 for the full marathon. On race day, Golden Charity entrants wear a special gold bib.

General entrants to any of the runs access a list of charities during the application process, and are able to make an enquiry with any organisation they are interested in supporting.

So far for 2016, fundraisers are currently actively supporting 62 charities in this year's event, with Starship, Cancer Society Auckland, Mental Health Foundation NZ, the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and The Heart Foundation coming in as the top five in terms of money raised so far.

Emma-Rose Forrester and Howard Gilbert are running this year's Auckland Marathon to raise money for Starship.
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Emma-Rose Forrester and Howard Gilbert are running this year's Auckland Marathon to raise money for Starship.

Director of fundraising at Mental Health Foundation, Paula Taylor, says they're proud to have a team of more than 100 people running for them in this year's Auckland marathon, who will help raise not just money for the cause but also awareness.

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"Our fundraisers come from all walks of life but do tend to be either people who have lost a loved one to suicide, people who have their own mental health issues or those who have seen family and friends experiencing mental illness.

"Being active is a great way to support your mental health and it's wonderful to have so many people taking on a physical challenge, improving their wellbeing and raising money for us.

"Joining a charity team gives you a sense of community, allows you to connect with people who share similar interests and have a passion for the same cause as you, and helps to motivate you to achieve your goals. You're not just doing it to for yourself, you're working to help others and that can be the push you need to get through your worst training days and keep going.

"Many people find they love the experience so much that they sign up for more and more events to support our work. In fact, some of our marathon runners have already signed for our biggest challenge yet, 2017's Kilimanjaro Challenge.

"We rely heavily on donations to continue our work supporting and improving the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Our fundraisers allow us to run mindfulness classes in low-decile primary schools, promote the Five Ways to Wellbeing and support the hundreds of people who approach our information service every week asking for advice, information and support when they or a loved one experiences a mental health problem."

EMMA-ROSE FORRESTER, 25, ASSISTANT BRAND MANAGER, RUNNING THE AUCKLAND MARATHON FOR STARSHIP

Is this your first marathon?
No, I ran the Auckland half marathon in 2013, but I was very unprepared!

Why did you decide to run this year?
I'm the fittest I think I have been, I have never been a runner – I even remember struggling at cross country at primary school! I've changed my mind-set and push myself to a place that I'm actually kind of enjoying running!

What sort of training have you been doing?
I've been doing short runs during the week and longer runs on the weekend. And have also been training with the ASB Auckland Marathon Get Race Ready Series on a Thursday in the lead up.

Why did you choose to run for a charity?
I chose to run for Starship as I worked there for about three years. I saw every day the amazing work they do, and wanted to continue to give back to those Kiwi kids and their families.

Does it surprise you that only 16 per cent of this year's runners are actively engaged in fundraising?
I think it is relatively new in New Zealand to run for a charity, but it will continue to grow year on year and amazing charities like Starship will greatly benefit.

Support Emma-Rose here.

LISSA MITCHELL, 44, 'SUPERMUM', RUNNING THE 12K TRAVERSE FOR MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION

Is this your first marathon run?
I have completed four half marathons and many other running events prior to this one.

Why did you decide to run this year?
I like to have a goal/personal challenge, and how cool to run over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, right?

What sort of training have you been doing?
Les Mills group fitness classes, walking around the cliff tracks of East Coast Bays where I live and running around Lake Pupuke or the Orewa estuary 8km loop. I have some great friends who join me and encourage me.

Why did you choose to run for a charity?
I chose the MHF as my charity as it's a cause close to my heart - I lost my dear brother Sean to suicide and have my own struggle with mental health, so I want to help raise awareness that there is support out there for those in need.

Does it surprise you that only 16 per cent of this year's runners are actively engaged in fundraising?
Yes, it's a great opportunity for a win win - you get fit and raise funds for charity at the same time.

Support Lissa here.

HOWARD GILBERT, 42, SPONSORSHIP ACTIVATION COORDINATOR, RUNNING THE AUCKLAND MARATHON FOR STARSHIP

Is this your first marathon?
Yes.

Why did you decide to run this year?
I had wanted to try to run my first half marathon this year and was planning for mid-year. I broke my toe at home in mid-January, putting a stop to the training which I'd just started. It took me 10 weeks to recover and not feel any pain. Around that time I entered a staff competition at ASB and received an entry to any distance at the marathon. It seemed a long way away so I decided to go for the full marathon.

What sort of training have you been doing?
I've been training for six months thus far, following a programme that I researched online that involves three runs a week, usually one longer and two shorter (under 10km).

Why did you choose to run for a charity?
As I'd won my entry to the race, and because I decided to really throw myself into it and do the full marathon, I decided I wanted to go full on to raise for charity as well. My daughter has been a Starship kid since she was born. She was diagnosed in utero with a rare genetic condition which has required specialists from Starship to perform a couple of small operations and to continue to monitor the various manifestations of her condition. She's only ever stayed in hospital for very short periods and her condition is not life-threatening. We've spent plenty of time there at outpatient visits. As such, she and the family have been very involved with Starship in the past and a half years. We've seen how wonderful they are in the work that they do, and seen how they help families in all sorts of situations, including when they have far more severe conditions than Isabel. I've also had the pleasure of working with Starship Foundation in my role in the Community & Sponsorship team at ASB.

Does it surprise you that only 16 per cent of this year's runners are actively engaged in fundraising?
I guess not, as that is one in six. I think some people enter and support their friends who are actively fundraising. That is certainly the case in my division at ASB. There are two of us running and fundraising for Starship, and there are probably half a dozen others running various distances. They've been really supportive of our fundraising efforts but perhaps feel that doing the fundraising is not for them.

Support Howard here.

 - Stuff

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