Completing a full 42.2km marathon is an impressive feat.

Tauranga's Deb Gee plans to do it 12 times in the next 12 months, all for a cause close to her heart.

Gee is part of a mentoring programme at the Graeme Dingle Foundation, a charity which runs school-based programmes aimed at helping young people build resilience, self-belief and life skills.

The purpose of her multi-marathon effort named Tekau Mā Rua, which starts with the Rotorua Marathon next week , is to raise funds and awareness for the foundation.


She is also encouraging people throughout New Zealand to "jump on board" and join her at events, whether it be 5km or a full marathon, and fundraise for the foundation as well.

"The foundation relies heavily on funding to commit to the schools they run programmes for. If we hit our target of $150,000 over the year, that will give them the opportunity to keep the existing programmes running as well as implement new programmes at more schools around the country."

Gee said she had done a lot of running, but nothing of this magnitude before.

"I've done lots of events, a couple of marathons, lots of half marathons, I've done half Ironman and some endurance running - a couple of 100km races in Australia.

"It is something that I love but I wouldn't say I'm the fastest runner on the planet. I can definitely put one foot in front of the other and that's my whole analogy around that. When the kids are going through hard times it's just about putting one foot in front of the other."

The Rotorua Marathon is a fitting starting point for the fundraiser, being her hometown.

"I've done it before, it's an awesome concept because it's one loop around the lake. I'm from Rotorua originally and when I first started running about 15 years ago, a friend and I could run literally three minutes in the Redwood Forest.

"We set these goals and then we could run 15 minutes and then an hour. The first event we ever did was the 10km run as part of the Rotorua Marathon, so it will be cool to be back there."


EVENT UPDATE We are closely monitoring the government alert levels and the well-being of all participants and...

Posted by Rotorua Marathon on Sunday, 23 August 2020

Her schedule includes events as far north as Auckland and as far south as Christchurch. She plans to return to Rotorua for the Tarawera Ultramarathon in February.

Gee said the biggest challenges would be time management - working around family time and work - and staying motivated throughout an entire year.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Bay of Plenty regional manager Dan Allen-Gordon said Gee's plans were "a bit crazy but inspirational".

"We encourage the kids in our programmes to step out of their comfort zones. Deb would be the first to tell you she's not naturally a runner but she believes in the work we do and has such a desire to help others. She's setting an amazing example for the children.

"The fundraising is absolutely crucial. Our programmes are highly sought after and this sort of thing ensures we can use it to reach as many children as possible."

The Rotorua Marathon will be held on September 26, providing Rotorua has moved to alert level 1 by then. Organisers will wait for the Prime Minister's announcement today before making a call.


Tekau mā Rua Schedule:
• Rotorua Marathon, September 26.
• Wairarapa Marathon, October 11.
• Auckland Marathon, November 1.
• Whanganui Marathon, December 12.
• Waiheke Wharf Marathon, January 16.
• Tarawera Ultramarathon, February 13.
• Christchurch Marathon, April 11.
• TBC, May.
• Kaiteriteri Marathon, June 6.
• TBC, July.
• TBC, August.
• Tauranga Marathon, September (exact date TBC).