Trailblazing athlete Campbell Forlong plans a coast-to-coast run with a difference - and with the hopes of making a difference for a community facility needing a new roof.

On Friday at 6am, marathoner Campbell Forlong will set out on his longest run yet - 160km from Mount Maunganui to Raglan.

"All my life, they've been my two favourite destinations for holiday. So I thought why not join the dots?

"I just like running," the 52-year-old said, "not necessarily fast running but long and all day," he said.


Forlong's efforts would help fundraise for a new roof for the Agora Cafe and community facility in Hamilton, which leaked in torrential weather.

"When it fills up with water," he said pointing to an old semi-external gutter, "it goes back up and goes inside. We've been bogging that up for the last few years. A couple of the upstairs rooms get pretty wet."

From the hall space to the upstairs community rooms and offices – water has found its way into every nook and cranny.

"We have had ice-cream containers all over the floor here and we've actually had quite formal events where we had to move people out of chairs and replace the chair with an ice cream container while it's dripping on down. It's not a great look."

Already, $50,000 had been donated to the Agora Community Trust but another $90,000 was needed for the repairs so the charity could continue its work which included supporting refugees.

It was a cause Forlong was personally involved in.

"Whether refugees that have just arrived in the country or kids growing up in Hamilton City, we want people to know they are valuable.

"The way we try to do that is to create a space where people can feel at home, feel comfortable, feel safe.

"We try to generate money and we give it away, and some would say 'why can't you pay for your own roof?' Well, we don't put those profits back into the roof. We put those profits back into the community."


Forlong ran with a number of former refugees, some of whom would be joining him at different stages of his run.

"That's pretty cool, former refugees I met through language class, now we now run around mountains with each other and they're now going to help raise money for the roof too."

Forlong hoped to finish his coast-to-coast run in less than 36 hours but he'd be happy even if he had to walk out the last 40km.

More information about Agora Cafe's Water Tight project could be found at or on their Give A little page.

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