Marathon run to raise money for research

Dr Megan Elder is fundraising for chronic fatigue syndrome research by running the Dunedin...
Dr Megan Elder is fundraising for chronic fatigue syndrome research by running the Dunedin Marathon. She also organised a cleanup day at Chingford Park on Saturday. PHOTO:PETER MCINTOSH
A Dunedin woman is running the Emerson’s Dunedin Marathon this weekend to fundraise for research of a serious long-term illness that is on the rise.

Dr Megan Elder hoped her fundraising efforts would support her old PhD supervisor and University of Otago emeritus Prof Warren Tate’s research into chronic fatigue syndrome.

"I want to support him by raising some money because he works mainly off donations at the moment."

The syndrome was about to become a huge issue because it had been linked to long-Covid and Prof Tate was one of the few researchers in the world working on it.

Dr Elder also had experience dealing with the syndrome as her father and an old flatmate had both lived with it.

Her father became ill with the syndrome in the 1980s.

Back then, they did not know what it was and they called it the Tapanui flu.

"I got talking to my dad about it and he said ‘I’m really proud of you’ because he had trained for the marathon as well but he had to stop because he got Tapanui flu.

"He ended up developing chronic fatigue to the extent he can’t remember getting married to my mother because his memory and his brain was so affected."

More than 40 years later, her father was still not who he was before he got ill.

Her flatmate Zascha was an active person who loved travelling and climbing mountains until he got the syndrome as well.

"You could see it over that year, it started to really take [a toll on] him.

"Then over the course of five or six years it affected him to the point where he actually ended up losing his life because he just couldn’t function any more."

She was running the marathon in Zascha’s memory as well.

On Saturday, Dr Elder also organised a cleanup day at Chingford Park where she encouraged people to take part in "plogging" — a Swedish word that combined picking up rubbish and jogging.

She was working with Keep New Zealand Beautiful to recycle trash and was giving away spot prizes donated by the Dunedin community.

The prizes included a family pass to the Orokanui Ecosanctuary and a $300 voucher for Brooks running shoes from the marathon organisers and Shoe Clinic.

She managed to collect six huge bags of trash.

Her progress can be followed on her Instagram page Running For Me NZ and donations can be made via her Givealittle page.