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Mary McFly still running for cause

Mary McFly taking a selfie on the ridge tops of the Ruahines. PHOTO/MARY McFLY

A mission for mental health awareness continues as Wairarapa woman, Mary McFly [previously Williams] continues her run up New Zealand.

At the end of November, McFly took on the task of running the length of the country, to raise money and awareness for mental health.

Just a week after starting stage two – the North Island – McFly has made it from Wellington through the Tararuas and most of the Ruahines, covering just over 200km on foot.

She said after running the first 100km from Wellington to Masterton in two days, her distances got shorter as the terrain got “gnarlier”.

“The Tararuas proved to be pretty tough, with plenty of ascent, steep tracks, mud, and tree roots,” she said.

Her dad Bob Williams and his fox terrier Yolt joined her for the section from Mt Holdsworth to Palmerston North.

“It was great to spend some time with my dad in the mountains that made me fall in love with tramping and the back country,” McFly said.

From Palmerston North, she headed up the Pohangina River and saw plenty of the rare whio [blue duck].

“I have just had a couple of rest days and I’m currently on my way back to finish off the last of the Ruahines before heading into the Kawekas, Kaimanawas, and Te Urewera,” she said.

McFly has found the trails in the North Island to be much quieter which has brought new challenges.

“A sense of isolation; more technical trails; and shorter days as the summer wears on.

“I have about two to three weeks left in the mountains before popping out at Whakatane and heading along the coast towards the Coromandel.

“It’s only going to get more difficult before it gets any easier, but that’s all part of the fun.”

So far, McFly has raised $2684 for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

She said every donation gave her more motivation to keep going when she was out there in the wilderness.

“Some days are harder than others, but it really helps to know what I’m doing is inspiring others and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness.”

Anyone wishing to donate can go online to events.mentalhealth.org.nz/fundraisers/marysontherun


  1. —breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness.

    Breaking down the stigma “surrounding” mental illness begins by refusing to take part in it.

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