By Rachel Grunwell

When the organiser of the Rotorua Ekiden Relay event asked me to lead a "funked-up yoga warm-up Jane Fonda-style" I had two options.

A. Run and hide or suddenly have something else on that weekend, like doing my hair ... Anything!
B. Embrace the crazy headband, legwarmers, fluorescent tights and break out those Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever style moves like I'm some bad-ass chick.

I won't lie. I laughed out loud when I got that message from Jason Cameron. I actually did consider running — not at the event, but rather running away. But then I got over myself and embraced the fun.


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So if you are at the event, you will spy me with big hair, a bigger fluorescent hairband, and in something leopard print-inspired and rocking fingerless gloves. I may or may not look like Madonna from the 80s getttin' into the groove. The bottom line is you won't miss me. My outfit will be screaming, it's that loud.

I won't be alone in dressing up. This event is all about the fun factor and lots of people — and even the event organiser — will be rocking fancy dress. There's a fancy dress award too for the best team. I'm quite competitive so I might be trying hard to win that ha ha ha.

This is the 15th annual Rotorua Ekiden Relay — a team relay which follows the famous Rotorua Marathon course for 42km, split into six achievable segments of 5km-8km runs.

So people can walk, skip or run that distance.

I'll be running the event too with the Achilles charity. I'm an ambassador for this charity which helps to support people with disabilities through run events.

It's a charity to help those with disabilities to feel included — and to help them achieve.

We have two teams participating including some inspiring athletes like teenager Jaden Movold, a wheelchair athlete who lives with spina bifida and shows that no barrier holds him back from achieving success.


Then there's blind runner Tamati Pearse, who I've helped through three marathons already. There will also be two Tauranga Achilles athletes participating. Brother and sister Karleigh-Jayne Jones and Scott Jones, who are both on the autism spectrum (and have already messaged me pictures of their cool dress-up).

If you are at the relay and want to find out more about Achilles, look out for their tent at the finish-line. Or if you see our Achilles teams running on the day, cheer out loud for our disabled athletes who make us darn proud. And ka pai to all those dressing up!

• Rachel is a coach, yoga teacher and in Rotorua she co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa (the next one is November 10-11).

Follow her via, InspiredHealthNZ Facebook or Inspiredhealthandfitness on Instagram.