A group of Rotorua kids have done the hard yards running a relay from Taupo to Rotorua to raise money for an upcoming rugby trip to Australia.
Saturday's sponsored relay run raised about $8500 for the Marist St Michael's under 12 rugby team to travel to the Gold Coast at the end of September.
Relay organiser Greg Sheehan said they had 17 team members running, with three away. The relay started at Owen Delaney Park in Taupo at 7am.
He said each member was required to run five kilometres, but in the second half the boys started running in twos or threes, so they all ran more.
The boys found their own sponsors, such as friends, family and parents' colleagues, and most were sponsored on a per kilometre basis, he said.
Mr Sheehan said they had been training for the relay as a team by doing runs in the forest in Waipa.
"It was a really exciting event for the boys." The whole team ran from Malfroy Rd to the Lakefront where the finish line was set up.
He said they were "just elated" when they finished as a team, receiving certificates and a Lone Star t-shirt. Parents were stopping at different points and cheering them on, he said.
Mother Amy Chung said she was watching and supporting the relay. It went really well and was well organised, she said.
"The boys were behind each other 100 per cent."
She said it was a really good team-building event and food and drink was supplied for the children to keep their energy up.
Her son, Xavier Chung, 11, said his favourite part of the relay was running with his friends. He said it was quite hard because there was a lot of running uphill.
Mr Sheehan said this was their second major fundraiser, having sold quite a few loads of chopped firewood for their first.
The next major fundraiser is on April 30, he said, where the team had been given the opportunity to cater for a Marist Tri-Club Tournament. He said at this stage the team would be in the Gold Coast for five days, playing three different teams.