Thundercats on trail for Oxfam

By Vicki Woolley

The CleanPaleo Thundercats (from left) Dave Slack, Art Green, Matilda Rice and DJ Morry are training for the Oxfam walk.
The CleanPaleo Thundercats (from left) Dave Slack, Art Green, Matilda Rice and DJ Morry are training for the Oxfam walk.

After a decade in Taupo, the Oxfam Trailwalker is heading to Whakatane, the sunshine and kiwi capital of New Zealand. The new course is sure to delight as it takes in isolated Ohiwa Harbour, Toi's Track and "New Zealand's most loved beach", Ohope.

One Auckland team training for the event is already realising the benefit of getting active outdoors in some of New Zealand's wild and beautiful places, as CleanPaleo Thundercats captain Art Green reveals.

"The best moments for us have been going on training walks and exploring our beautiful country, notably the Redwoods in Rotorua and the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland. Without this event, I probably would have prioritised other things over exploring these places."

Green grew up playing sport and now plays touch, indoor netball, tennis and attends a functional fitness gym. He placed third in men's javelin at the 2009 national athletics championships, was part of the winning 2014 Sky Tower Stair Challenge team and beat Zac Guildford in a Fight for Life charity boxing match last year.

The passionate health and wellbeing advocate feels strongly that committing to personal good health should be a priority for everyone.

"Your health [mental and physical] should be the most important thing to you. So make time to be healthy. Life is about balance between work, exercise and fun."

An early champion of the paleo diet, Green's energy spilled over three years ago into creating his own health food company, CleanPaleo. For Green, partner Matilda Rice and friends DJ Morry and Dave Slack, choosing to devote their time, energy and fundraising efforts to Oxfam 2016 was an ethical choice.

"I first learned of Oxfam through a friend who works there. She told me about all the amazing things Oxfam do and what they stand for.

"They help people less fortunate than us all around the world by giving those living in poverty a hand up, not a hand out - and assisting those who are struck by disaster, like the communities in Fiji affected by Cyclone Winston," Green says. "I love that I can be a part of helping to make these people's lives better."

The Oxfam Trailwalker was set up in 1981 by the elite Queen's Gurkha Signals Regiment as a military exercise to test teamwork and endurance. To date, 17 events held in 11 countries worldwide have raised more than $160 million to fight global poverty.

Teams of four participating in the New Zealand event on April 2-3 can choose to target 100km in under 36 hours or 50km in 18 hours.

Funds raised contribute to life-giving projects in the Pacific and Southeast Asia such as the supply of clean water, food production, education and employment and protecting women in violent situations.

A week out from the event, the teams are already 70 per cent of the way towards their million-dollar fundraising goal, and Zeb Stone of Oxfam New Zealand is humbled.

"Oxfam Trailwalker is an amazing personal challenge and an extremely important fundraiser. It's truly inspiring to see Kiwis push themselves to challenge poverty."

CleanPaleo Thundercats aim to do 50km in under 10 hours, and Green expects there will be low moments.

"We are anticipating sore knees and hips and really hoping we don't get blisters but we are also hoping to meet some great people and share a camaraderie in achieving something awesome for a great cause."

Oxfam Trailwalker

What: 100km or 50km team walk

When: April 2-3

Where: Whakatane, Eastern Bay of Plenty

For more information: www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz

To donate to CleanPaleo Thundercats: www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz/otw16/teams/cleanpaleo-thunder-cats

- NZ Herald

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