Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Run for charity

Taylor is running the length of New Zealand to raise money for charity.  Photo / Doug Sherring
Taylor is running the length of New Zealand to raise money for charity. Photo / Doug Sherring

She is down three pairs of shoes and one support driver, but charity runner Victoria Taylor still plans to run the length of the country in 30 days.

The 19-year-old Wellingtonian left Cape Reinga on September 1 to start the 2074km journey to Bluff to raise child cancer awareness. Yesterday she was up at 5am to complete 50km then went shoe-shopping in Auckland.

By last night she had covered 489km, taking her to Takanini in South Auckland. But she had hoped to be in Waikato by then, about 100km further along.

She wasn't worried: "I will catch up, I'm determined. My upbringing was quite bad and it's made me want to go the good way in life. I've been supporting myself since I was 17.

"It's made me stronger and more determined and made me start making the choice that I want to help others."

Taylor is running in memory of Whakatane toddler Chace Topperwien, who died of leukaemia in June.

But the trip got off to a tough start when her support driver quit one day in, and her shoes let her down too.

"I've run through more than $750 worth of shoes in seven days. It's crazy."

An SOS for a new driver went out and Invercargill mum-of-two Jan McBain answered. She had never met Taylor but the pair will share a campervan each night for the month.

McBain said she was already in awe of Taylor's determination and thought her own sacrifice was worth it in honour of brave Waikato battler Chace.

Taylor usually trains up to 12 hours a day and is aiming for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She was inspired to run for charity after her grandfather died of lung cancer a decade ago.

With the help of her sponsors, all donations go to the Child Cancer Foundation. Online donations had topped $3800 by yesterday.

To follow Taylor's progress, go to her website: bit.ly/IWtlR6

- Herald on Sunday

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