Marathon effort in memoriam, for mental health

Oamaru man Scott Wilson competing in the Southern Lakes Ultra marathon last month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Oamaru man Scott Wilson competing in the Southern Lakes Ultra marathon last month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
He came, he saw and he conquered.

Oamaru man Scott Wilson recently completed the Southern Lakes Ultra marathon last month, scaling mountains in honour of his son Charlie, who died at just 10 weeks old in 2015.

The ultra-marathon is a seven-day multi-stage 250km ultramarathon, with up to 10,000m of climbing and numerous river crossings in mountainous Central Otago.

Mr Wilson, who took 52 hours in total to complete all six stages, said "it was an awesome week".

"It’s the most inclusive, stunning, supportive and exhilarating week you can have, among some of the best scenery in the world.

"Weather conditions were great ... The long stage, that took me 16 hours ... you go up a hill called Advance Peak, elevation 1745m.

"You can see Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring and everything in between — it was just stunning, eh," the Scottish-born Mr Wilson said.

He said the event felt like "one big family", and the crew support was "phenomenal".

"There were 57 of us, just big enough to get to know everyone, really — the checkpoints and the staff at the finish points, the competitors around the world.

"Whether it was the elite ones at the front, or the slow ones at the back, like me, they were so inclusive and supportive."

On the second day of the event, during the cross-country from Dingleburn Station towards Wanaka, following the lakefront out to Glendhu Bay, the wind presented some challenges on the run. "It pushed you around a bit," he said.

Mr Wilson said even the challenges kept it "exciting", and he made the most of unexpected circumstances.

Mr Wilson said he was happy to check off his times and to complete the long course, which was his ultimate goal.

He made the most of his opportunity to connect with others on the marathon, taking photographs and videos and talking to people and patting dogs.

"I’m a Scotsman — I want value for money. I want to be there as long as possible, " he joked.

After he had spoken publicly about his mental health struggles after losing his son, he said the Mental Health Foundation had been "really supportive" in his goal to raise awareness.

By completing the marathon, he raised $3000 for the foundation, and said the feedback he had received from others who were "inspired" by his story was the real reward for his efforts.