Ultra-marathoner Andrew McCrory achieved his goal of running 50km per day for 40 days when he reached Stirling Point in Bluff on Thursday, 13 January 2022.
In the process, the Services Pathway Tutor at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay has raised more than $46,000 for children with Cerebral Palsy to get expensive SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) surgery in the United States. Andrew’s original target had been $20,000, but his Givealittle page https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/running-aotearoa-for-kids-with-cerbral-palsy at lunchtime on Friday, 14 January showed $46,390 in funds from 728 donors.
His journey, which started on 5 December at the top of Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay, has seen Andrew experience extreme heat of more than 30 degrees, headwinds, unseasonal cold weather, weariness, and the occasional inattentive driver.
With him all the way has been his support person, wife Kathleen, and their dog, Gauge, in a van sponsored by EIT.
“There’s no way I could’ve done this without my wife. She’s just incredible, putting up with me and just doing everything behind the scenes. I also want to thank my sponsors, EIT, Shoe Clinic and all the others. I just can’t thank them enough.”
Running shoes have been a key part of his journey and Andrew has been through four pairs – marking them 1, 2, 3 and 4 and rotating them each day.
Since his mammoth effort began, he has run every day including Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. He arrived at the finish line to be greeted by a small number of supporters and local media, and a cold bottle of the Pride of the South, Speight’s.
Shortly after finishing, Andrew said he was feeling quite overwhelmed by what he had accomplished – 2033km across both islands.
“I’m just a bit overwhelmed. I realise that it is a massive achievement, but it feels kind of weird.”
“I am a bit tired, to be honest, but the body still feels really good. It has been a long time on the road, but it has all been worth it because we have managed to raise money to help children suffering with cerebral palsy who never get a break. I am happy to have been able to play a small part in helping them.”
Andrew’s original plan had been to run from Cape Reinga to Bluff. However, that was scuppered with Auckland being in COVID-19 lockdowns making his pathway down the North Island uncertain. Instead, he started his journey from the top of Hawke’s Bay’s Te Mata Peak and did a loop of the middle north island before heading down along State Highway 1 to Wellington and the South Island.
Andrew McCrory at the finish line at Stirling Point in Bluff after his epic journey.
It may have been a change of plans, but Andrew, 47, has made sure that he ran exactly the same distance he would have if he had traversed the country from north to south.
With no connection to anyone with cerebral palsy, Andrew was touched a few years ago by a Facebook post of Liv, a young girl with the chronic illness. It started him on a fundraising journey over the years that has culminated in this epic undertaking.
For Andrew, the highlights have been the love and support he has received on the road, as well as the pleasure of running on the Desert Road and along the Kaikoura coastline.
The tough part of his journey was the initial four days when he had to cope with extreme heat and the third last day of the trip when he ran almost 60km.
“That was a hard one,” he says.
Glen Harkness, EIT’s Executive Director, Strategic Projects and Partnerships, says Andrew’s achievement is remarkable and EIT has been proud to offer him assistance in achieving his goal.
“Many people would struggle to run 50km in one day – he has done that for 40 days. It really shows the character of the man.”
Joining EIT in supporting Andrew are a number of businesses. They are Skybright Health (Electrolytes), Wrightsock NZ (Running socks), Shoe Clinic Napier, NCubed Nutrition (Dietitian), Running Hot (Run Coaching), Rivers to Ranges, Boyce Podiatry, Largo Sport (Massage), New World Havelock North, Branded (Signwriting), and Eastcoast Hunters.
For more information about Andrew’s fundraiser, follow him on Instagram: andrew.mccrory.ultra.runner or Facebook: Running Aotearoa For SDR. If you would like to donate to Andrew’s cause, you can go to the Give a Little page Running Aotearoa for kids with Cerebral Palsy. (https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/running-aotearoa-for-kids-with-cerbral-palsy)
So, what did Andrew do after his run? Well, after a good sleep and spa at a local AirBNB, he popped over to Stewart Island to run seven-odd kilometres across the island.
“I was here, so I had to do it.”