Nan Stewardson (centre) during Oxfam Trailwalker 2018. Photo supplied.
Christchurch team “Miles from Malley” are buzzing to once more take on 100 kilometres of scenic Whakātane terrain in March as part of Oxfam Trailwalker 2019.
The team from Malley & Co Lawyers – Michael Mckay, Lani Gerber, Nan Stewardson, and friend Helen Venning – are back for round two after successfully completing the 100 kilometre event in 2018.
The distance may seem intimidating, but Team leader Nan is proof that anybody can succeed with the right attitude, training and support.
As a lifelong runner, Nan chose Oxfam Trailwalker as an alternative way to increase her exercise after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disorder of the central nervous system which affects the body’s movements, functions, and sensations.
Nan said: “I used to run all the time and then I started falling over because I had relapses. Then I just thought I couldn’t run anymore because I was injuring myself. I needed a challenge and now I have that challenge.
“Oxfam Trailwalker is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done physically, because of my MS, but also the best. Getting across that finish line was amazing.”
The team has been out training hard, determined to prepare themselves mentally and physically for March despite some setbacks.
“So far we’ve got to 37 kilometres and everybody is all geared up and waiting”, said Nan.
“I had a relapse a good eight weeks ago and I couldn’t walk at all for about four weeks. I could walk around normally, but I certainly couldn’t compete and train.
“I’m hoping to be cured by the time the race comes around and even if I’m not, I’m still competing. I’ll drag myself across the finish line if I’ve got to.”
Along with the physical obstacles, Trailwalker is also known to challenge the mind. Support crew and team members prove to be indispensable sources of encouragement when the going gets tough.
“When I was walking the 100 kilometres in 2018, it was a mental challenge as well. You felt like you couldn’t go on, but you just put one foot in front of the other. You’ve got to have the right mindset to do it and it’s hard and you do want to stop but we’ve trained too much not to do it.”
Aside from the personal challenge, there is also the knowledge that the money raised is going towards helping people living in poverty. The team’s fundraising is going well and as of January 2019, Miles from Malley are nudging the top of the leader board, having almost hit their $5,000 target.
“I think the best fundraiser for us was the quiz night. It’s not that hard to organise actually ... We just did up flyers and emails and I think we had 25 teams,” says Nan, who also suggested that garage sales might be the way to go – after one the team held raised an impressive $2,000.
“If people have got reservations, I don’t know how to put it into words other than it was the best thing I’ve ever done., physically and emotionally.
It’s amazing what you can achieve.”
You can visit Miles from Malley’s team page or make a donation here.
Now in its fifteenth year in New Zealand, Oxfam Trailwalker 2019 will be held over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th of March. Teams of passionate walkers and runners will choose to conquer either 50km or 100km of breathtaking Whakātane terrain and in doing so, will be helping Oxfam to fight poverty. If you would like to participate in Oxfam Trailwalker you can find out more information about the event and register at www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz