Athletics: Time to get to know new workmates

By Cameron Leslie

Running 300km from Papakura to Mount Maunganui may sound crazy, but to Northland's Conan Herbert it sounded like a great way to get to know his new workmates.

Hailing from the Far North's Pawarenga, Herbert completed the K2M, Kura to Mount, relay with 11 others for a bit of fun and a chance to raise money for Parafed Waikato.

Herbert, who now lives in Raglan, said his background as a waka ama paddler did not help his cause too much - Herbert's father was legendary waka ama paddler Bo Herbert.

"Being a paddler I've never really run that much before. It [the run] seemed like a good idea two months ago when we had time to do some practice ... I'm a bit sore now, though."

To make the already difficult race harder, Herbert's team - called Chasing Tail - decided to each run a leg of the race blindfolded to give them an insight into life with a visual disability.

"You had to have total faith in the guide [leading Herbert while blindfolded] and just go for it.

Being blindfolded you're much more in touch with your other senses, like you can feel your legs more," Herbert said.

"I had to keep it in the back of my mind it was for a good cause, [and] with the blind leg especially people were blown away."

Herbert and co began the race by heading down Great South Rd and ran on all surfaces: from road, to off-road, forestry tracks, to over mountains.

"It was tough but I thought it was going to be real hard but you get excited, a lot of us probably didn't get as much sleep as we should have because we were all excited and cheering the other guys on."

Each person ran about 24km each over three legs, however, Herbert drew the short straw and ran a slightly more as his team finished fourth overall.

Herbert's team has raised nearly $3000.

Donations can be made at www.everydayhero.co.nz/chasingtail

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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