Arrowtowner Wayne Foley is doing more than just walk the walk for a cause that’s dear to him.
After months of hard yards, the 57-year-old is running his first marathon next Saturday – the annual Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon.
He aims to raise $20,000 for the Wakatipu High School Foundation which he founded.
After a “hugely social” time last summer, Foley says he decided to quit drinking for six months.
“Then I thought if I’m going to do that I should do something useful, so I told all my friends that I was going to run the marathon.
“Then, given no one would believe I would do it, it just seemed natural that I should look at getting some support for the high school foundation, because it’s something I’m very passionate about.”
But why a marathon?
“It was just something I could do locally, and it just seemed like so far-fetched for me that it’s a really great challenge.”
For someone who’d not looked after his body, he admits training initially was pretty tough – “running round the Arrow River in the middle of winter is not tropical”.
He’s dropped from about 83kg to 70kg, taking advice from local chiropractor Neki Patel that he’d achieve 80 per cent of his weight loss by adopting a healthy diet.
Having had a bad back for a long time, he says seeing Queenstown Health physio Natalie Murphy weekly has fixed his back and kept him injury-free, while he’s followed a training regime set by local Bodyhub co-owner Richie Lambert.
He’s largely trained by himself, notching up 50 to 65 kilometres a week, often on sections of the marathon course between Millbrook Resort and central Queenstown.
He’s not found it lonely, however – “it’s like lawn mowing, you do a lot of thinking”.
Foley initiated the Wakatipu High School Foundation, which supports various school programmes, including the ‘Awhi’ hardship fund, in 2013.
He’s seeking pledges via a Givealittle page – ‘Wakatipu Team Foley Queenstown Marathon 2017’.
Foundation executive director Jennifer Belmont says: “It’s an awesome idea for somebody to dedicate months of training to do a run for our foundation, and since Wayne was a founder, it has even greater weight and significance for us.”
- Another cause that’s fundraising, but more importantly raising awareness, at the Queenstown Marathon is Spinal Cord Society New Zealand. It aims to find a treatment and cure for type-1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries and other autoimmune diseases. It will have a marquee on Queenstown’s Memorial Street, by the finish line, next Thursday and Friday. Several SCSNZ members and staff are also competing.