Havelock North's Olivia Glazebrook used the memory of her aunt, who tragically lost her battle to cancer last year, to propel her through the gruelling 42km 2016 London Marathon last month.
The 22-year-old is fizzing about being able to hand over a whopping $15,000 to New Zealand Cancer Society after attaining a charity entry with them through the ballot system.
This put her second on the list of top fundraisers on the Everyday Hero page where the runners fundraised.
Only a handful of other New Zealanders were chosen, each needing to hit the minimum target of $7000 before getting the go-ahead to run.
Initially, the loss of her aunty, Vicki Bostock, last August prompted her to compete. After being selected, reaching her goal, and learning another friend had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, she decided to up the ante. The figure continued to escalate after reaching the revised $10,000 mark.
Miss Glazebrook had finished university and was trekking across Europe when her aunt passed away, returning home to the Bay, she made it her mission to help.
In January, while striving to raise money she turned her hand to baking. Exquisite raffles, bake stalls, macaroon towers and birthday cakes made up the bulk of her funds.
Hawke's Bay ice cream company, Rush Munro's, came to the party and the keen runner sold ice cream at events.
New Zealand Cancer Society community fundraising co-ordinator Sue Beuvink told Hawke's Bay Today it was the first time the society had been selected by the marathon organisers as the exclusive New Zealand charity.
"It's an incredibly difficult event to get a place in," she said.
When asked about the run itself Miss Glazebrook said: "It was so incredible, it was just beyond belief. It was probably the best thing I've ever done in my life so far."
The volume of people, both competitors and supporters, added to an atmosphere that was like no other, she said. The runner's family went to London to watch.
Her mum, Charlotte Glazebrook, said they had to go to extreme lengths to catch a glimpse of her daughter through the masses. Mrs Glazebrook said her daughter was an "absolutely fully motivated" person who became "fixated" on things. She said her daughter would rise at 5am to run, then bake a cake, then go to work.
The runner's mum said Mrs Bostock died after a four-and-a-half year struggle and the family felt her loss immensely as she lived down the road and they saw each other weekly.
Miss Glazebrook said when her body began hurting her encouragement came from the memory of her aunty - the very reason she was running.
Despite a five week break in February after a ski accident in Japan, shin splints and a cold contracted the day before the race, she still clocked a good time at four hours and three minutes. Already signed up to a few more half marathons this year, Miss Glazebrook is setting her sights on the New York Marathon.