South Otago couple Janine and Daryl Ogden will join adventurer Malcolm Law on his epic challenge next summer to climb 50 peaks and run the equivalent of 50 marathons in just 50 days.
The High-Five-0 Challenge is a bid to raise $250,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.
It was the brainchild of Malcolm Law who has a passion for mountains and wild places, as well as long distance trail running.
Starting on January 31 next year, he will undertake 50 days of intense physical endurance aiming to ascend more than 100,000m in total.
Each day he will be joined by a band of support runners who will share in both the physical and fundraising challenge.
Darryl Ogden will join Mr Law on day 23 to run Mt Pisa, a distance of 45km with an estimated time of 10-11 hours.
On day 28, Janine Ogden will also hit the trail to accompany Mr Law on the Kepler Track. That run will be 61km and take about 11 hours. It is the longest day of the challenge in terms of distance.
The pair have started training to be in top form for next summer and Mrs Ogden said they felt honoured by the opportunity to take part in the challenge.
While she "will have to learn to run hills" she was determined to take part.
"I'm scared at this one day's running I will do, yet Malcolm's doing 50 days."
Her fears were not unfounded - Mrs Ogden said she only started running two years ago, inspired by her love of hiking local trails.
"My running started slow two years ago with me trying 30 seconds at a time, then walking for a minute and repeat a lot."
She had also battled three major injuries, the most recent of which forced her to take a two-month break from running.
But she had learned so much from the people she had met, which was one of the main factors motivating her to stick with the challenge.
"Every run I do I learn stuff . . . life's short and I seem to have a crazy desire to continually push myself, my arthritis makes me more determined to achieve what I shouldn't be able to."
While her preferred distance was five to 15km, she was currently working on staying injury free, learning to run hills and complete distances of between 20 and 30km.
Mrs Ogden had done the Kepler Track once before and said she found the forest during the last 30km "special and inspiring", something that should help her get over the finishing line on the big day. Meanwhile, other fitness junkies can get their fix at a 50km fundraising run around the Cross Recreation Centre and A&P Showgrounds.
The run, organised by the Ogdens, will take place on Sunday, May 11 from 7am.
Mrs Ogden said runners could join in on as many or as few of the 1km laps as they wanted to help raise money for charity. The couple would try and complete 50 laps, the most either had run in a day, she said.
Anyone keen to support their goal can go to fundraiseonline. co.nz/JanineOgden/ or ring Janine on 021 142 9117.
More details can be found on the website high50.org.nz which describes the challenge as the "most audacious feat of endurance ever attempted on New Zealand soil".
- The Southland Times
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