Cure Kids’ fundraising champion Matt Fenn, took on five ultra-marathons in five days (250km), to raise funds for life-saving child health research.
We recently chatted to Matt about this epic challenge.
Can you tell us a little bit about the challenge you took on to support Cure Kids, and where the idea came from?
To kick off 2018, starting January 5, I took on 5 ultramarathons in 5 days across New Zealand to support and fundraise for Cure Kids. I ran the first day in Northland, then Waitakere, Taupo, Mount Maunganui and finished in Auckland City five very long, but satisfying days later.
Five ultramarathons is crazy! Why five and not one?
It all started when one of my mates challenged me to run a marathon without training for it. In order to avoid losing a bet I thought I’d better get to it and ran my first marathon in London a few days later. I’ve always been intrigued by the ‘extreme’ and the pushing limits, so I figured why not see how far I can take it. Originally the plan was to run five regular marathons, but the more I began to think about it, the more normal it began to sound in my head, so I figured why not bump it up to 50km a day – looking back now, I can think of many reasons why not!
Why did you decide to support Cure Kids?
A close family friend of mine has worked with Cure Kids for many years due to her daughter’s Cystic Fibrosis. I’ve been able to see first-hand the great work they do for children right across New Zealand so it was a personal mission for me to support both her and Cure Kids the best I could.
What was the hardest part?
It’s pretty tough to pick a single moment that was the hardest. The MCL in my knee starting playing up 40km into the first day and never truly went away so managing that was pretty tough. Next came my feet, then back, shins, and eventually everything was hurting pretty badly. Blisters became an issue and I was changing shoes and socks every hour or so just to stay dry. It was mostly a case of solving one problem, and next one, and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you finish that day. Then wake up and do it all over again.
And the best part?
Climbing Mount Maunganui on the 4th day was a pretty special feeling. I started off the morning rolling out of bed and barely able to walk so getting up the Mount to finish off the day felt pretty good. Apart from that, the ending was a great because I got to stop running.
Is there anything you would do differently now that it’s all done?
I feel like I couldn’t have done anything differently on the most part because a whole heap was all about going with the flow and having a really awesome team around me who kept me going. Some new Spotify playlists would be great, you’d be surprised how sick of music you can get after 40 hours of the same two running playlists!
What would you say to others who are thinking about fundraising for Cure Kids?
Just go for it! It may seem like quite a big deal to push your limits and put yourself out there but when you take a step back and realise why you’re doing it, there’s no way you’ll regret it. There were hundreds of ups and downs over the 5 days, let alone the training leading up to it, but the one thing that never crossed my mind was throwing in the towel because when you realise you’re doing something that’s so entirely bigger than yourself, it keeps one foot moving in front of the other. Decide on something you’re passionate about embrace the challenge!