Mountain climb for good cause

Brian and Anna Prescott can sometimes be seen going for a run on Maungatautari Rd.

A local man plans to run rounds of the Hakarimata summit track in a few weeks’ time as part of a fundraising effort for his daughter. Brian Prescott – an ultra-marathon runner, husband and father – will race to the top of the Hakarimatas several times as part of the Yak Club’s “24 Hour Haks Challenge”.

The Challenge was organised by Brian’s “boot camp” fitness group, the Yak Club, as a fundraiser for his daughter Anna to get a new custom-built Hoyt running chair. Born with polymicrogyria, Anna relies on a wheelchair for mobility, and since the age the age of four has used a more robust wheelchair to accompany Brian on his runs and hikes.

Now at 12 years old, and over 3000km later, she has well and truly outgrown her old buggy, so the fundraising event aims to raise $13,000 for a new, customized adjustable chair which she can continue to grow into, enjoying the freedom of the great outdoors.

“She’s finally outgrown it, after several thousand Ks,” said Brian. “She’s starting to feel uncomfortable in it now, so it’s time to bite the bullet and do some fundraising to get a new one.”

In recent weeks Anna has undergone tendon-lengthening surgery in her legs as well as spinal surgery for scoliosis, making her even taller in the wheelchair she had already outgrown. Already $2,500 has been raised through the Givealittle page “Anna Needs a New Running Chair”.

“It’s absolutely awesome, its blown me away how much has been raised already,” said Brian.

Anna will be doing the first ascent of the Hakarimatas with her dad during the 24 Hour Haks Challenge, which will see participants climb to the summit as many times as they can. Anyone can get involved on the day, no need to register. “Just show up with your running shoes,” said Brian, who hopes to do between ten and twelve summit climbs. “Anyone can come along, and either collect sponsorship and hand it in on the day, or put it on the Givealittle page,” he said.

“It wasn’t originally an organised event as such, it was just something for the Yaks to do to try and raise the money and also challenge themselves, and it’s taken off quite a bit,” said Brian. “There may be 40 odd people over the course of the day. If they do one summit for Anna that’s plenty.”

Already Anna has joined her dad for the finishing phases of his marathons, but with the new chair she’ll be able to join him on entire marathons and across all sorts of more rugged terrain. “She just likes getting out and looking around. She likes people watching, and she actually likes the bumps, the bumpier the better sometimes!” said Brian. “She prefers trail running to road, but she’ll take on anything.”

“She loves running with Brian, and if someone else is running with them too just makes her day,” said Anna’s mum George. “I guess from her point of view, because she can’t go anywhere fast herself, maybe it’s a sense of having a bit more freedom.”

To find out more about the event, visit the Facebook page.

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