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'Happy to help': Benefactor Lewis Latham with Happiness House coordinator Bec Conway, left, and manager Robyn Francis

By PHILIP CHANDLER

A Queenstown mountain runner’s determination to both train hard and fundraise furiously ahead of Cromwell’s Northburn ultrarun has paid off.

Through a Givealittle page, support from friends, family and his employer, Queenstown Country Club, and even a cake stall run by his partner, Steff Wilson, Lewis Latham, 38, raised $4850.50 for local community support centre Happiness House, ahead of last month’s run.

The money will go towards the centre’s free counselling service.

‘‘We knew he had a big heart but this is incredible,’’ Happiness House manager Robyn Francis says.

At the same time, Latham didn’t shirk his training either, taking out Northburn’s 100 kilometre race a staggering three hours faster than the runner-up.

Commenting on a run that featured 5000-plus metres of elevation, and very steep inclines and declines, he says: ‘‘In my mind I imagined someone was right behind me all the way, and that kept me pushing on.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz