Wellington runners Greig Rightford (left) and William
Tokona on the first of their five fundraising marathons
yesterday morning. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Hamstring tendonitis tends to stop most people in their
tracks. But not former Dunedin runner William Tokona.
He is making the most of his regained mobility by running
five marathons in five cities in five days - starting with
The Wellington personal trainer ran 42km on a circuit around
Logan Park yesterday, and plans to run similar distances at
Hagley Park in Christchurch today, the Viaduct in Auckland
tomorrow, Redwood Forest in Rotorua on Thursday and Queen's
Wharf in Wellington on Friday, with his Wellington running
buddy Greig Rightford.
Ultimately, the pair hope to run the Marathon de Sables in
April - a 243km marathon across the Sahara Desert, run in six
stages over seven days.
Mr Rightford said they were using the five marathons in five
days to prepare for the ultra marathon.
It was also hoped the runs would raise $50,000 for the
Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington which
conducts research into cures or vaccines for diseases and
conditions such as arthritis, asthma and cancer.
Last year, the institute and the University of Otago
Department of Microbiology collaborated to find an oral
vaccine to fight tuberculosis.
Mr Tokona said their training regime had been interrupted by
injury, after he developed a painful case of hamstring
tendonitis and Mr Rightford broke his neck in a mountain
biking incident in October last year.
Mr Tokona said he was only four months into what was normally
a 12-month recovery, and Mr Rightford said he was just
rejoicing in the fact he was still able to run, after
breaking his C6 and C7 vertebrae.
''I'm pretty lucky not to be paralysed. I'm making the most
of the fact that I'm upright,'' Mr Rightford said.
Everything had been made harder by the injuries which had
temporarily stopped them from training, and Mr Tokona said
they ignored the risks to fulfil their commitment to the
After running a circuit around Butts Rd, Dundas St, Leith St
North, Brook St, Cumberland St, Albany St, and Anzac Ave back
on to Butts Rd eight times, the pair said they felt ''so,
But their determination to continue for the sake of the
Malaghan Institute was still strong, they said.
''We're hoping our recovery time is good. We're going to buy
some ice now and put it on our legs,'' Mr Rightford said.
Adding to their pain last night, the pair had to drive to
Christchurch because there were no flights from Dunedin to
Christchurch last night.
He predicted it would be a trip where they would spend time