David Pretorius says running tomorrow's Auckland Marathon is a form of catharsis, but when the finishing line is the dream of his daughter walking again the end is always out of reach.
The mere 12km he'll tread partly across the Auckland Harbour Bridge is a warm-up for the full 42km New York City Marathon he will run seven days later.
As chairman of the CatWalk charity, Pretorius has helped raise more than $250,000 towards research into spinal cord injury from those two races.
"That's where my catharsis comes from, that every dollar we raise here is actually being put to good use," Pretorius said.
"We are funding the research team that are doing the work, you can go in there and look at it yourself, it's in front of us and not being wasted on admin and silly things."
The money goes exclusively to Auckland University's Spinal Cord Injury Research Facility, and it's a cause Pretorius said he had "totally delved into" since the horrific accident in 2010 that changed his family's lives.
A car accident involving his three children left his now 15-year-old daughter Holly a paraplegic, and killed his then 4-year-old son Adam.
His eldest daughter Alexandra escaped unscathed, but eight years on was still "so raw" with the emotional scars.
"It's always something that will be on my mind for the rest of my life, it never goes away," he said.
"I look at it now and think my god how does anyone cope with the loss of a child and the permanent disablement of the other one? It's a pretty appalling story.
"But it's one of those things, you can choose two routes: pick up the pieces and try and move forward, try to make a change in the world, or you give up. I just chose the first one.
"I think the ultimate dream would be to see Holly walk again. That would be incredibly satisfying."
Among the 80 runners raising funds for the CatWalk charity in the 2018 ASB Auckland Marathon, there is no shortage of inspiring stories.
Linda Smeele will be walking 12km with a replaced knee in support for her son Brad, who in 2014 was left a quadriplegic after a wake-boarding accident in the US - a sport in which he competed professionally.
When asked about the fundraising effort for her son, Linda brushed it off as though she never gave it a second thought.
"Anything I could do to help, as a mother you feel so helpless, because mothers normally make things right. You can't in this situation, there's nothing I can do," Linda said.
"I can't run but I'm doing the 12km walk which is nothing compared to what I would love to do.
"Brad has been so inspirational with how he's dealt with this, it keeps me strong because it breaks my heart every day."
Brad Smeele is also actively involved in the CatWalk charity and his own foundation. He said the mental transition from initially putting his energy into rehab, to now fundraising, had helped him continue to deal with his injury.
"I guess after my injury my main focus was on physical rehab. You know, 'I'm going to walk by putting in more effort and time in the gym'," Brad said.
"After a few years of doing that and not really seeing results I decided I wanted to look into the research side of things and do what I could to contribute.
"I guess I get frustrated being in a wheelchair so by doing something it's better than doing nothing, even if the cure is 10 years away, and even if it doesn't actually directly apply to me, it's still something that has kept me going for those years."
The CatWalk Trust was founded in 2005 by Catriona Williams MNZM, formerly one of New Zealand's leading equestrian riders, who was left a tetraplegic after a 2002 riding accident.
In the 2018 ASB Auckland Marathon, CatWalk is the top fundraising charity, raising more than $133,000 for spinal cord research.
>> Race day:
6am: Auckland Marathon starts
6.50am: Auckland Half Marathon starts
8.50am: 12km Traverse starts
10am: Family 5km Challenge starts
11am: Kids Marathon starts
• Numerous roads in Devonport (from 2am), Takapuna (from 4.30am), Harbour Bridge off-ramps (from 2am) and around the Auckland waterfront (from 2am) will be in place.
• Numerous parking restrictions will also be in place from 2am-2pm.
• For a full list of road closures, visit: at.govt.nz/about-us/news-events/events-causing-delays/asb-auckland-marathon-road-closures/