On the day Nick White was going in for surgery for neck and head cancer last year he signed up for The Goat run.
The event was in six months, and he spoke to race director Jason Cameron the night of his surgery in hospital to confirm his entry. The race director wished him well for his treatment.
"I told him I'd see him at the start line in December," said White.
"And then went off to see the anaesthetist."
The 34-year-old believed he needed something to aim for beyond the exhausting months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment ahead.
Goat was the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I love the Goat because it sums up everything that is awesome about life," said White who is back for his sixth run today.
"It is a real adventure in some beautiful scenery with great people and it reminds you just how good it is to be alive."
Cameron was stunned by White's phone call from hospital.
"I had no doubt that he would be mentally strong enough, but whether he would get there physically after all he would go through was another matter," he said.
"His spirit and passion epitomises what the Goat is all about and he exceeded all of our expectations."
White began his training in July in secret at Hutt Hospital, where his first step was walking slow laps around the ward.
He progressed, with the help of his physiotherapist Laura, to walking up and down stairs.
Over the next few months White's training took a back seat to radiation, chemo, hospital stays and an unscheduled fasting period over September and October.
He was unable to eat for six weeks or drink water for four weeks.
During the period his training runs continued with a stomach tube taped up under his T-shirt.
In November, White had his first post-treatment scan.
"I got the results the week leading up to the Goat race and they came back clear."
He now has checks every three months and will continue to be monitored for the next four years.
He didn't share his plans to take on the Goat with friends and family.
"I didn't tell a lot of people about my plans - I didn't really want to scare them," he said.
"There were challenges along the way but I didn't lose focus of where I wanted to get to."
Six months after his surgery he made it to the start line and the enormity of the journey from hell and back hit home.
"It was a pretty emotional time," said White. "I tried to keep a cool head for the start of the race but the rush from being there was too much - I took off like the 21km was a 100m sprint."
After his initial burst good sense prevailed and White ran slow and steady to complete the gruelling run in 3 hours.
"Finishing was never in doubt," said White. "It wasn't an easy run but that's what made it so rewarding ... I finished on a high."
He hopes to run the Goat today in under three hours, but enjoying the day is the main priority.
"I am pretty fired up about it this is a special event for me," said White who had another cancer check up on Thursday that once again came up clear.
"You never know how much time you have left so you need to make the most of it."By Peter Thornton