Former Dannevirke man Colin Anderson says he's shocked to have been named a regional finalist in the Pride of New Zealand awards.
Anderson, an endurance cyclist and a fundraiser "in for the long haul" for CanTeen, is a regional finalist in the Fundraiser of the Year category of the awards for the lower North Island.
The awards are a joint venture between The Hits and TSB Bank, supported by the New Zealand Herald and APN regional newspapers, including Hawke's Bay Today and were created to recognise the efforts of everyday Kiwis who make a difference in their communities.
Anderson, 66, told the Dannevirke News fundraising is becoming more and more awkward, but he has no plans to stop.
"It can be embarrassing knocking on doors, but every dollar helps," he said. "CanTeen reckon I've ridden 16,000km over the past two or three years and raised more than $17,000, so that's more than a buck a kilometre. It's nice to get acknowledged because there are some things you can do without putting so much of your heart into it. I know others have raised more money than I have, but I do know the bit I raise for CanTeen keeps them ticking over.
"And I've been lucky I can choose my challenges; those CanTeen members aren't so lucky."
However, Anderson has had to face his own cancer battle - prostate cancer surgery in 2008 - and was only given the all clear following heart surgery just before he tackled the gruelling 1000km Forrest Grape Ride in Marlborough in April. Late last year, only a month after his heart surgery, he celebrated his 66th birthday by completing his 66th lap of Lake Taupo.
And riding round and round "the pond" as he calls Lake Taupo, for three months early last year, 65 times in 60 days covering 10,600km, Anderson raised $7000 for CanTeen.
"There's not much point sitting around and moaning," the Palmerston North postie said. "I suppose people think there goes some silly old fart, out on his own and that's usually the way of these enduro rides, but in 2012 I was joined by a couple of old postie mates, John Lithgow and John Burmeister and rode from Palmerston North to Dannevirke up to Hawke's Bay across to Taupo and home again, 650km, raising money for CanTeen. It was great."
But even on his solo marathons Anderson reckons he really isn't alone.
"All my rides have been dedicated to family and friends who've died," he said. "It helps me get through. I've had Dannevirke people on my shoulder during the cold, hard rides, like in Boston, the Cape Reinga to Bluff, around Lake Taupo and the Grape Ride.
"Riding such long distances comes down to mind over body and sometimes the old noggin gives in.
"When that happens I just hop off, have a bawl or a sleep and get back in the saddle again."
And Anderson has his motel booked for this November's round Lake Taupo cycle, but hasn't decided what challenge he'll set himself.
"I've already got the record for the most laps, so it depends on how I feel, but I'll definitely be there for CanTeen in some way," he said.
Regional winners of the Pride of New Zealand will be named at four functions, with one for the lower North Island hosted by Hawke's Bay Today in Hastings on August 6. From those, the overall national winners will be selected.
Broadcaster Judy Bailey, Willie Apiata VC, TSB Bank chief executive Kevin Murphy and APN New Zealand chief executive Jane Hastings are on the national judging panel.