The annual Mount Monster endurance surf life saving race attracts the best athletes from all over New Zealand competing to be the best. Among them on Saturday was a local lad motivated by something other than winning.
Scott Reardon does not consider himself an athlete.
However, he signed up for the Mount Monster, which comprises a 12km ski paddle, 5km run, 1.5km swim and 6km board paddle, just over a month after qualifying as a lifeguard.
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It seems like a bold move - his entire volume of training leading up to the event was 10 runs, seven swims, six ski trainings, and three board paddles. However, he was driven by something more powerful than any other motivator; the memory of a lost loved one.
"As a family we've had a bit of a rough year but probably the hardest bit was my cousin [Tom Keefe] decided to take his own life about two-and-a-half months ago," Reardon said.
"Everyone was in a bit of a spin about it so it's good to turn around and try to do something positive."
He believes physical exercise is one of the best things a person can do to help their mental health "and being something positive involving the ocean and the beach is great as well".
"So, I thought why not start up a Givealittle page and hopefully help stop something like that happening again."
He set up a Givealittle page, asking people to get behind his effort. He would donate the money to Mike King's The Key To Life Charitable Trust in a bid to help suicide prevention.
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Reardon completed the Mount Monster in 3h 37m 21s and the Givealittle page has raised more than $3500. He got the ball rolling with his own donation of $500.
"It was really good. Definitely the board paddling was the most challenging, I haven't learned to go on my knees yet so that's a real hindrance. Just the sheer size of the thing, three-and-a-half hours grinding away is not a small amount of time.
"It felt fantastic to finish. The surf club community is amazing, everyone's out there clapping and cheering. It's a real family feeling, especially what the Mount club has created."
Seeing his cousin's family waiting at the finish line was a special moment.
"His mum and dad and his sister were down at the beach watching and I think they were pretty happy. Sport brings people together. It was definitely [emotional]. There were a few times I wanted to throw it in but when there's something a bit more important motivating you even more than just your own pride, that helps."
"From anger to despair to disbelief. It's one of those things where you test out each emotion to see what fits the situation and none of them really do. You just end up feeling a bit of loss."
Reardon said when he lost his cousin he went through "the full range of emotions".
"From anger to despair to disbelief. It's one of those things where you test out each emotion to see what fits the situation and none of them really do. You just end up feeling a bit of loss.
"In my mind, the fact that 50-60 people have donated - and that's just me asking my close friend group who would be interested in chipping in - just shows how important it is to people.
"It's not something that's going away, it's not something that's getting better, it's something that has affected just about everyone I know. I think everyone would like to see some positive change on that front.
"They say it's especially a problem for men and it's becoming more of a thing that men are more open about it being okay to talk and I think that's great as well."
The Givealittle page will be up for another week, to donate go to givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/help-others-to-prevent-depression-and-suicide
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 or TEXT 4202