Barney Tamanui has given back to the charity that gave him a helping hand when he needed it the most by jogging 10km in a town he had not been to before.
The 61-year-old Tauranga man jogged the 10km distance in Sunday's Omokoroa Coastal Challenge to raise funds for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
Tamanui, aka Peanut, needed help from the foodbank when he moved to Tauranga seven years ago and after finding his feet he became a volunteer for the charity.
"That is how it all started," he said. "I have been volunteering for the foodbank for two years two months. I count myself blessed and fortunate to have had people go out of their way and help out."
Tamanui said he had not visited Ōmokoroa before and was unfamiliar with the track, so he camped out in his car before the race began on Sunday to get a sneak peek of the town.
He is no stranger to long-distance running, having completed various marathons including the Kirikiriroa Marathon in March this year.
"You had to do it within seven hours, I had about eight minutes to get to the line," he said.
"But I still did it. I am 61 years old, I just like to be active. Life is too short."
Tamanui ran the marathon in honour of his late cousin, who had only one leg.
Tamanui works for the homeless, giving them breakfast at The Strand every Sunday and he also volunteers at a local youth camp, taking young children fishing who had not been able to afford it.
All profits from this year's Omokoroa Coastal Challenge will be split between the Tauranga Community Foodbank and the Waihi Beach Surf Life Saving Club.
"I run for a reason," he said. "I just love helping people less fortunate than me. Giving back to people not taking - it is in my blood."
Tamanui said he was "chuffed" he completed the charity race in under two hours - in his last 10km race he had crossed the finish line in two hours 45 minutes.
"I absolutely loved it despite it being a very hot day, and knowing I was running for the foodbank kept me going," he said.
Tamanui said it would be a few days before he knew how much had been raised but hoped it would be at least $1000.
He also hoped his story would inspire others to get off the couch and join him running to keep healthy and to raise money for local charities at the same time.
What is the Omokoroa Coastal Challenge?
• A group of Ōmokoroa locals initially organised the event as a one-off to raise funds for the Omokoroa Skate Path in 2015 and continue to run it.
• Money raised goes to a chosen charity or community group.
Money donated to the community so far:
2015 – Omokoroa Community Skate Group $5800
2016 – Omokoroa Sports Pavilion $6500
2017 – Omokoroa Sports Pavilion $8700