Kindness is a boomerang. Give out kindness and it can come back to you too.

It's important to help others. And we can all do with more kindness, right? It's heart-lifting. Helping others also helps to give us a sense of purpose.

There's a lot of kindness underpinning the Rotorua Marathon event on May 4.

This year, 13 charities have signed up to fundraise.


Jo Clark from Athletics NZ, which owns the marathon, says four charities participated last year raising more than $55,000, while the previous year $18,000 was raised.

"It's wonderful this year to see an increase in charities participating, which not only helps grow the number of people getting active and committing to achieving a goal, but grows awareness for those charities taking part and ultimately raises more well-needed funds.

"I'm an ambassador (and run guide) for the Achilles charity, which helps disabled athletes in events. We will have a big presence at this event. If you see any of our inspiring Achilles athletes wearing their trademark yellow T-shirts, cheer them on!"

All those fundraising through the event are to be applauded. In this column, I've got room to highlight two blokes who are making their marathon miles count for more.

Tauranga's Greg Rieger will be kicking off a mission to run 12 marathons over 24 months — starting with this event.

He's fundraising for the Spirit of New Zealand which runs youth development programmes. He hopes to fundraise $30,000 over two years to help get more boys on the Spirit of Adventure's boat. The sponsorship will be for those selected who need the financial support to get on board.

Rachel Grunwell and Jonathon Hagger.
Rachel Grunwell and Jonathon Hagger.

Greg has already raised $27,000 for the Spirit of New Zealand, doing 12 half marathons to date.

His fundraising is in memory of his son Hamish Rieger, who was aged 17 when he died. He was swept off rocks on January 23, 2016. He had been sitting by a blowhole on Moturiki (Leisure Island) at Mount Maunganui at the time.


Greg says Hamish's time on the boat, and training for the Rotorua event before he died, helped fuel his focus in life to achieve. So this fundraiser is a wonderful way to honour his son and the amazing work of the boat.

"I want to see other kids have the same opportunity as Hamish," says Greg.

Another inspiring marathoner is Jonathon Hagger. He is the chief executive of the Rotorua Hospice, which provides end-of-life care. He is fundraising for the hospice.

"Raising money through fundraising is a bonus. We want people to know we are here in the community," he says.

Support a charity runner
Rachel Grunwell is an award-winning writer, coach, wellness expert, speaker and yoga teacher. She co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at Rotorua's Polynesian Spa. Follow her via Facebook: InspiredHealthNZ and Instagram: RachelGrunwell. Her blog is at