By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown mountain runner Lewis Latham has a head for heights and a heart for fundraising,
The 37-year-old’s training for his first Northburn 100 kilometre run, near Cromwell, on March 20.
As a ‘‘training run’’, he’s entered the first 56km ‘ultra’ run held on Saturday as part of Queenstown’s Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon.
Ahead of his Northburn run, he’s also fundraising for Queenstown community support centre Happiness House.
He wants to repay it for helping out him and his partner, Steff Wilson, when they were ‘‘struggling a bit’’ after the birth of their daughter last year.
Latham’s started a Givealittle page, ‘100kms for the hell of it’, with the aim of raising $2000.
To raise extra money, Wilson — a baker/cake decorator with her own business, The Cake Cartel — is running a bake sale at Happiness House tomorrow.
With support from FreshChoice, she’ll be selling cupcakes and raffling off a big cake from 10am till 1pm, or till she’s sold out.
Latham — who also raised about $17,000 for pancreatic cancer research when he and his brother trekked to Everest Base Camp two years ago — has become a successful mountain
runner since lockdown last year, crediting years of CrossFit training for building up his strength.
Last winter he finished fifth in the ‘‘bloody steep’’ 44km Mt Difficulty Ascent, near Cromwell.
He then finished second in Dunedin’s 55km Three Peaks Plus One last October, and eighth in December’s Kepler Challenge.
He also ran the Queenstown half marathon last November, but says he’s not interested in running on the flat — ‘‘it doesn’t excite me’’.
‘‘I want to be in the mountains — I love the punishment of it.’’
Meantime, Latham says he’s also getting support for his Happiness House fundraiser from the owner of the Queenstown Country Club retirement village, where he’s a carpenter, along with its residents.