There are those whose feats running the Auckland Marathon for KidsCan have made headline news. A firefighter who set a world record running in his full kit complete with breathing apparatus. A man who sacrificed his soles by running barefoot, just as many children in poverty do. A woman who donned her heavy wedding dress, flanked by three male ‘bridesmaids’ in pink satin slips.
And then there are the everyday Kiwis making a difference no matter their size, or the distance - like 6-year-old Toby Halse. He’s running 2.2km in this year’s Kids’ Marathon with his mates from Auckland’s Bayfield School, and says he has chosen to raise money for KidsCan because he hates to think of other children feeling hungry and having no jackets or shoes.
We catch up with him before school on a crisp morning as the kids gather for their daily training run around the block. They aim to run 40km in total before the October 29 event - meaning by the time they reach the finish line they’ve completed a full marathon. Toby falls and skins his knees soon after he sets off - but he comes back bandaged up and determined to keep going.
His Mum Lou says it's a great event to be part of - he learns to train, gets to experience a race and earns a medal. And by choosing to fundraise for KidsCan, Toby is learning bigger life lessons too.
"We’ve talked about how his life as a kid is not experienced by all other children, and sadly there are some children who don’t get as much food as he gets each day or all the clothes we have readily available for us. It made him realise that there’s inequality in New Zealand.” she says.
“It’s heartbreaking to know there are children who are in the position where they are facing hardship so it just feels good to be able to do what we can to help. It’s quite relatable for him to be able to raise money for other kids his age.”
She says it meant a lot to the family to be able to make a difference as the cost of living rises, and demand for KidsCan support soars.
“At the moment everyone is finding it tough, so it’s hard to imagine how the families who were finding it tough to start with are now finding it with the increased cost of living.”
The Auckland Marathon caters for all levels of runners and walkers - with the 2.2km kids’ marathon, a 5k, 11km, 21.1km half and full 42.2 km marathon.
Entries are still open for the Sunday October 29 event. If you’ve already entered, you can still add KidsCan as your charity of choice - full details HERE.