An eclectic group of book club attendees have decided to set themselves a new challenge – a 50km fundraising walk.
Used to mental challenges, the group consists of Anthony Ryan, an engineer, Drew Mackenzie, a vet-nurse student, Julie Sperring, who works in strategic planning and arts management, and Don Howden, a part-time quantity surveyor and furniture maker.
With a support crew featuring Tanya Stapleton, a midwife and Jeff Simmonds, a musician, the group are getting ready for the biggest physical challenge they've done together, the Oxfam 50km Trailwalker.
Raising money for Oxfam Aotearoa projects that go towards fighting the injustice of poverty in the Pacific and Southeast Asia, the fundraising is just as much a challenge for the team of four as the physical challenge is.
"Ant [Anthony Ryan] and I crewed for a 100km walking team years ago, and earlier this year we were again a crew for a 50km team," Drew Mackenzie said.
"Driving home from it we thought it was about time we did it ourselves."
Thinking who they could ask to join their team, Drew and her partner Anthony Ryan thought of their fellow book club members Julie Sperring and Don Howden.
"We said yes before we realised it was 50km walking together as a team, not shared between us like a relay," Don said.
"We said yes before we realised what it meant, and now we can't back out," Julie said.
With each team needing two people for their support crew, they decided to keep it in the book club, asking Tanya Stapleton and Jeff Simmonds who said yes.
Training has not yet officially started, apart from a few 10-15km weekend walks.
"With the training programme we're using which starts on December 1, the longest walk beforehand will be 29km, but we will also have a weekend where we do two 20km walks back to back," Drew said.
Called the Cafe Ramblers, "We ramble around and always end up at a cafe.
With everyone looking forward to the satisfaction and achievement of finishing, the team is set for a fun walk with lots of banter along the way.
"We'll have Jeff entertaining us at the checkpoints to keep us going, but based on our current walking situation we have a lot of work to do," Don said.
"Looking at the map, it looks like it will be an interesting course, lots of country and rural areas and a bit of town stuff too," Julie said.
"Gaining that level of fitness will be really satisfying," said Don.
"If the team's still talking after the walk, that will be an achievement too."
Starting out as a physical challenge to increase their fitness, fundraising has also been a good motivator for the team.
"We've already done a raffle and a cinema night which were both really successful, so we are hoping this will bring us close to the $2000 we need so that after Christmas we can just focus on training.
"We bought a lot of sausages to do sausage sizzle fundraisers, but were only able to hold a small one before the Covid-19 restrictions meant we couldn't do this," Anthony said.
"Instead we've been selling tadpoles."
Living at Makahuri, formally known as Marycrest, "We have lots of tadpoles in the swimming pool that we didn't know what to do with," Drew said.
"Someone suggested we sell them, so we've been selling them to raise money and so far sold more than $300 worth of tadpoles.
"I thought don't be silly, but they've sold well."
Their next fundraiser is a talk by local author Mandy Hager on her recently released book Protest! Shaping Aotearoa.
"We are having an afternoon where Mandy will come and talk about her book and how the writing has become her own form of activism.
"The talk will take place at the old chapel at Makahuri and will include a talk about the history of the place and their plans for it going forward."
The fundraiser is on November 20 at 2pm, at Makahuri. Contact Drew Mackenzie at firstname.lastname@example.org or text or phone 021 288 702. Tickets are $15.