Marathon challenge

23:30, Aug 13 2014
Mal Laws
OFF-ROAD: Mal Laws is running 50 off-road marathons in 50 days.

A Wanaka man has set himself an "off the scale" challenge of completing 50 off-road mountain marathons in 50 days - back-to-back to support mental health.

Mal Law, 54, said over 50 days he would ascend more than 100,000 metres - the equivalent of doing Mt. Everest from sea level almost 12 times; 530 ascents of the Sky Tower; or 27 Mount Cooks.

With no rest days, and little time to recover his High Five-0 Challenge would be a scary, but "massively exciting challenge", he said.

"It's not impossible. Whether it is possible for me I am going to find out. I don't know whether I can do it, but I am going to give it a bloody good go and I am extremely dogged - it will take a lot to stop me. If I was going to do something I knew I could do, it wouldn't be much of a challenge."

He hoped to raise $250,000 for mental health on the back of the challenge, which starts in Auckland on January 31, he said.

"I have a real personal interest in reducing the stigma around mental health and I know running and getting into the outdoors - and all the things this challenge is about - is a fantastic way of managing mental wellbeing. A lot of runners use it for that reason.


"The challenge brings together all the things I love - I was brought up climbing mountains and I have a love for long distance trail running . . . My main reason is I lost my brother-in-law who committed suicide a number of years ago. I was the unfortunate person who found him and for a long time I wanted to do something major for that."

The Mental Health Foundation helped develop programmes and education to promote mental wellbeing, he said.

Laws will pass through Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes on his challenge and peaks include: Mt Dunstan, (Cental Otago), Obelisk (Central Otago) and Mt Pisa (Cromwell); Breast Hill (Hawea); Knuckle Peak (Wanaka); Brow Peak (Arrowtown); Ben Lomond (Queenstown), PT.1005 (Queenstown) and Longwood (Southland). People are invited to join Laws on his marathons.

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