Ben Fraser will undertake a staggering 500km run from Christchurch to Queenstown next month, all for a cause close to his heart.
Alongside his running mate and coach Kerryn Bell, of Queenstown, he is using the epic task to raise money and awareness for mental health.
It was a cause they were passionate about, Fraser said.
Bell lost a close friend to suspected suicide earlier this year and Fraser had struggled with mental health issues in the past.
“A lot of runners have had issues with mental health,” Fraser said.
“I have had issues in the past and I know quite a few people that have.
“The message is – it’s OK not be OK.”
Fraser and Bell met at the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra marathon last year.
He later enlisted her support as his running coach.
The pair were initially training for the Naseby ultramarathon, which was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, so they decided to take on a new challenge for a good cause.
They will begin the journey on October 24 and aim to run for between 12 and 15 hours per day.
“It’s good timing. A lot of people are struggling at the moment and there aren’t many other events on,” Fraser said.
Fraser is a newcomer to the sport, running his first ultramarathon in Naseby just two years ago.
“That was a big learning curve,” he said.
“It is addictive … you meet some pretty awesome friends.”
The Christchurch to Queenstown route would be the longest distance he had run “by a long way”.
“It’s definitely pushing us to our limits but we’ll get there.
“We will have a few dark places along the way. That’s why we have tried to make it as hard on ourselves as possible.”
The pair will have a support team travelling alongside them in a campervan.
Training was just a matter of spending as much time on his feet as possible, Fraser said.
He juggled training with his day job at Whitestone Contracting.
“I was getting up at 2.30 in the morning to run 20km around the streets of Oamaru,” he said.
“One of the weeks I had three of those in a row.”
To donate to the cause and follow his progress, search “Kerryn and Ben run 500km” on give.everydayhero.com.
The pair are raising money for mental health service provider Lifeline, and are aiming to raise $20,000.