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Running away from injury and sunstroke

Masterton runner Chris van Gerven has overcome ‘niggles’ to continue training for his fundraising challenge in aid of Wellington Free Ambulance [WFA].

He is training to run 85km a day, for 25 straight days between 7.30am-7.30pm. The challenge will kick off on March 25, with money raised going towards WFA’s new station build in Masterton.

Chris began training in November and despite hitting a wet weather spell, slight injury speed bumps, then sunstroke, he’s determined to keep the ball rolling.

“All was going fairly well, with just a few minor niggles [until the last week of December],” he said.

“Christmas Day and Boxing Day I did my 30km each day, but then on the Wednesday I tried the Holdsworth/Jumbo Loop, doing around 25km in just under nine hours. Wow, that was a hard walk, as I don’t really do hills.”

He learnt a lesson to “stick to the flat track” of the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl.

“The good thing is, the track will be so much easier, so doing 11-12 hours in a day shouldn’t be too hard, all going well.”

On Thursday, December 28, Chris completed 22.14km and 30.11km on the Friday.

“On Saturday, [I did] 22km in the morning and went to do 8km on the treadmill in the afternoon and had major problems with my right leg and groin. I couldn’t run on Sunday, but was able to row 8km [that day, on his home rowing machine].

He walked 15km in two hours on January 1; on January 2 ran 10km and walked 15km in three hours; on January 3 ran 12.5km, walked 20km and rowed 8km.

“I’m still struggling with the running, so may have to mainly walk for at least the next few days,” he said at the time. However, on January 3 Chris managed a 12.5km run, a 20km walk, then went home and rowed 8km.

“So not a bad day,” he said. “I have gone back to doing some rowing most days, as this seems to help my recovery, relaxes me and will build my stamina.”

On January 4, Chris ran and walked a total of 22.5km but needed to call it a day without rowing “as I got sunstroke the day before and was light-headed”.

In total, Chris completed 723.55km during December and 440.85km in November. The next stage of his training is to be running the equivalent of a marathon by the end of January.

He has invited people to come to the Sports Bowl and even join in for a lap or two, with prizes up for grabs, from 8am-11.30am Monday-Friday.

He has kept his weight fairly steady.

“I started at 77.8kg and at the start of Week 9 [of training], I was 76.2 kg, so have only lost 1.6kg in eight weeks,” he said. Chris will end the 25-day challenge on April 18, two days before his 59th birthday.

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