For most running 100-Miles is challenging enough but Paora Raharaha has taken it two steps further at the Tarawera Ultramarathon.
Raharaha, from Paeroa in the North Island, completed the challenging 100-Mile course in a pair of gumboots and added to his feat by completing 10 burpees every kilometre, 1,600 in total.
“I ran in gumboots at the Auckland Marathon last year with two mates who were raising money for charity,” said Raharaha. “I decided to add burpees in there for Tarawera. It was my first Miler as well so it was tough, I haven’t done much trail running so I found the trails tough, quite technical.
“I was glad I made the cut off time, I had a few times when I was leaving the Aid Stations with 30 minutes to spare and had to keep on moving,” he said.
The gumboot-clad, burpee completing runner took on the challenge on the trails around Rotorua to raise money for the Huntly Team Little Big Bots.
The group trains children of all ages, but primarily between 5 and 12, to encourage weight loss, building self-confidence and self-esteem in the hope it will assist them to build a better future for themselves. The group also gives children a sense of belonging and brings families together through training and attending running events.
“The group changes them by attending running events, some have self-esteem issues and they use it to build confidence,” said Raharaha. “They believe that the fitter you are the better life the kids will have. It also brings families together by attending running events and getting out and doing something they wouldn’t normally do.
“Some of the kids ran the last 7kms with me which was great,” he said. “They really lifted me, I was gone at that last Aid Station and they got me home.”
Raharah crossed the finish line in 35:39:39, just inside the event cut-off of 36 hours, and was greeted by family and friends performing an emotional Haka.
“I didn’t know that they were coming over, being Maori it holds something close to your heart and it means the world,” he said. “I stopped before the timing mat to take it in, I probably could have finished a minute earlier but I felt comfortable standing there.
“Having my family there and their support was great. It was a big achievement for our whole family and brings us together,” said Raharaha.
Every kilometre along the course Raharaha would stop and do 10 burpees, with fellow runners, spectators and volunteers getting in on the action.
“The Aid Stations were the best ones I’ve been to at an event, they were real helpful and offered you food, water and fruit which was really important in a 100-Miler,” he said. “I stopped at all the Aid Stations and got the guys there to do burpees with me, they all got down and did 10 burpees from 4am right through the day and the next night. Some liked it and some didn’t cause of how hard it was but they all enjoyed supporting the cause.
“I still can’t believe I did it, at the start line I realised I was actually going to do this, it was surreal,” said Raharaha. “It was good to actually make the last cut off time, there were a lot of emotions through the whole run, I’ve never been like that before, I think it was because of how long it was and how hard it was to push on.”
Donations to Raharaha’s cause can be made here.
This year marks the 13th running of the Tarawera Ultramarathon, with runners from across New Zealand taking part in either the 21km, 50km, 102km or 100-Miler race, with the 102km event a part of the Ultra-Trail® World Tour.