Get behind runner for Glasgow

Nelsonian needs help to make games team

CLARA BARKLE
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2014
mother and child
DOMINIC CHANNON
APPEAL: Julian Matthews seeks help to reach Games.

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Julian Matthews is appealing to the public for support as his dream of wearing the silver fern at the Commonwealth Games moves more clearly into focus.

Matthews' long-held goal of making it to the Commonwealth Games finally came to fruition two weeks ago when he was selected to compete in the 1500m at Glasgow.

Matthews wants to be in the best shape possible when he steps up to the line on August 1.

"I feel so privileged to be able to represent my country at an international level, and I want to be able to run the best I can," Matthews said.

He will train this month at altitude in the Pyrenees before heading to Belgium and Italy to run some tune-up races. He will then travel to the New Zealand athlete base in Cardiff.

"Training and racing here in Europe is fantastic for developing as an athlete, but it does get costly, and I want to be able to focus my efforts entirely on my running," said Matthews.

To be able to do this, he needs help, and that's where the public comes in. "I have set up a crowdfunding project to help fund-raise towards getting me to the Games in peak physical condition," he explains.

His crowdfunding project uses the web platform "PledgeMe" to appeal for support from the public, who can pledge money towards his cause. "Pledgers" are offered rewards for different levels of donation, including a signed photograph from the Games and the chance to go on a training run with Julian when he is back in the country.

Local and national businesses have also gotten behind the project, and have donated their products as rewards. "The support has been great; Pics Peanut Butter, SOS Rehydrate and Matthews Eyewear Eyecare have all donated rewards for me to give away to people who pledge money towards my project."

A project is successful when it reaches or exceeds the funding goal by the deadline set by the creator. Matthews has set a funding goal of $2500 and a deadline of July 22, the day before the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. If a project is not successful and doesn't reach its funding goal, the pledges aren't charged to the supporters of the project.

Matthews hopes people will get in behind him and join his team on the road to Glasgow.

"The support I have received over the years from Nelsonians has been incredible, it has been very encouraging and humbling . . . "

Matthews is only the second ever Nelsonian to represent New Zealand in the 1500m at a senior level. He is following in the footsteps of Rod Dixon and continuing the strong tradition of middle-distance runners in New Zealand.

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