Inspiration: Wakatipu High School Foundation boss Wayne Foley, centre, with, from left, high school deputy principal James Rasmussen, principal Steve Hall, Charlie Phillips and Debbie Zampieri


Wayne Foley couldn’t really move from his couch for the past fortnight.

Yet on last Saturday, buoyed on by about $43,000 in donations, the Wakatipu High School Foundation chair managed to run, walk and weave 42km in the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty Queenstown Marathon.

‘‘It was the worst run of my life — I’m not exaggerating.

‘‘I was a rather sad, forlorn, beaten-up old man.

‘‘Eight kilometres after the start of the run I was stuffed and had to figure out how on earth I was going to do the rest of it to get to the finish-line.’’

Foley, who turned 60 in April, had decided to run the marathon to raise money for the foundation — in 2017 he raised more than $26,000 doing the same event.

He says he was overwhelmed with the ‘‘amazing’’ support he got from his sponsors, many of them suppliers and subcontractors to his company, Trinity Construction, including $10,000 each from Southbase Construction and Marama Hill Ltd.

But he didn’t bargain on buggering his radial nerve in his back — which connects your back to your arm — about two weeks before race day when he was lifting a friend’s e-bike into the back of their van.

‘‘I’d been at home for the past two weeks before the marathon, just propped on the corner of the couch, taking some medication and feeling sorry for myself.

‘‘But I had such amazing support and sponsorship to run the marathon, I went and did it.’’

The struggle was real, though — Foley did the entire thing without any pain meds on board.

‘‘I just toughed it out.

‘‘I was approached by a couple of people when I was walking or running, and St John Ambulance approached me, just to ask me if I was alright and had I drunk enough water, ‘cos I was zig-zagging around the track,’’ he laughs.

‘‘I’m sure I was a bit of a messed-up sight.’’

To distract himself he started thinking about what he would do when he crossed the finish-line and ultimately decided his running shoes were coming off and he was going to deposit them in the first rubbish bin he could find.

But, after 5 hours, 57 minutes and 9 seconds, he opted to hold on to them for one more day, getting his wife, Julia, to take a photo of him with all five pairs of the shoes that’ve gotten him around courses in recent years, and promptly put them all in his rubbish bin, sending the photo to a few friends ‘‘and just said, ‘I’m done’’’.

‘I’m done’: Wayne Foley with all of his old running shoes right before he turfed them

‘‘I probably would have [burnt them] if I’d had some sort of brazier.’’

Despite the pain, which his sponsors didn’t know about, Foley’s stoked he got that monkey off his back, but thrilled with what his effort means for the foundation in what’s been a particularly challenging year.

Foley says the school’s students are hitting it out of the park on every level and expects when academic results come out early next year Wakatipu High will have achieved ‘‘so much’’.

‘‘It’s really such a valuable asset, we’ve really got to look after it and we’ve got to grow it as much as we can.

‘‘Whenever you look in the paper you just see so many charities and initiatives for the community, it’s just endless.

‘‘But, if you look at it in a wider sense — the fact that so many people in the community are willing to step up and help different parts of the community in supporting initiatives.

‘‘It’s fantastic.

‘‘And as a community you couldn’t ask for much more than everyone trying to help each other.’’