A long run for a good cause

Outward Bound instructors Robbie Gray (left) and Luke de Jong plan to smash the 935km between...
Outward Bound instructors Robbie Gray (left) and Luke de Jong plan to smash the 935km between Borland and Anakiwa later this month to raise funds for children to attend an Outward Bound course. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The 935km between Borland (Southern Fiordland) and Anakiwa (Marlborough) may seem a bit full-on for a leisurely stroll, but it is a distance two mates are keen to tackle in 30 days.

Outward Bound instructors Robbie Gray and Luke de Jong came up with the idea to run the distance, slightly more than the physical length of the South Island, to raise funds for children to attend the outdoor adventure and personal development course.

They will begin the journey towards the end of August and plan to run about 30km a day.

While not calling themselves "runners in the traditional sense", the pair have been doing some in-depth research on what sort of shoes would work best, working with a running coach, and otherwise fitting in training whenever possible.

"Training-wise, we’ve got pretty much zero time each month to do it just with the full-on nature of Outward Bound courses," Mr de Jong said.

Fortunately, they have been able to capitalise on the 21km run that traditionally ends each course, using it as a training session.

The pair are hoping to raise $10,000 through crowd-funding, and at present are halfway there.

Mr Gray’s partner Hannah and their two children will be tagging along by vehicle and acting as the support crew.

"So we’ve got the minivan, the classic family wagon tagging along, carrying the gear and hanging out, so it’s a mix between a family holiday and a bit of a challenge."

He said they were planning at least 10 days when the pair would be self-sufficient, "to give the whanau a bit of a break".

"That might change depending on what happens. But we’re going to carry a tent that we’re going to split up, and then we’ve got food donated to us for camping by Go Native."

Mr de Jong and Mr Gray met at Outward Bound in Anakiwa, west of Picton, when they first started as instructors in September 2020.

"We would love nothing more than for every individual to attend a Outward Bound course at one point in their life," Mr de Jong said.

"They do, however, cost money and we think that shouldn’t be a barrier to realising and achieving your full potential."

The pair have an Instagram page set up to track their progress, and a JustGiving website for donations.

Outward Bound is a non-profit organisation specialising in personal and professional development that has operated in New Zealand since 1962.

By Ben Tomsett



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