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Greig and Willie come home for their final marathon

1 February 2013

Wellington turned on its finest for the last leg of Greig Rightford and Willie Tokona's marathon effort - or perhaps that should be FIVE marathon efforts!

At 8.30 am this morning they set off from outside of Foxglove, supported by runners from the Malaghan Institute, Sport Wellington and the greater Wellington community.  Their ~40 km run around Wellington's waterfront will mark the last of their five marathons in five days, which saw them in Dunedin, Christchurch, Rotorua and Auckland earlier this week. 

Greig Rightford & Willie Tokona

Greig and Willie are in training and set to take part in the gruelling Marathon De Sables in early 2013. The legendary six day, 243km endurance race across the Moroccan Sahara is described by event organisers as “quite simply the toughest footrace on earth.”

“It’s just so insane… isn’t it? To not only run in the searing heat and sand swept terrain of the Sahara, but also ensure one’s safety against the perils of sandstorms, quicksand, cobras and scorpions that occur and inhabit the desert,” says Greig.

“It’s what makes it so appealing,” says Willie. “It’s the possible danger to one’s own safety and well-being that attracts me to this event. It allows you to examine your physical and mental capabilities, in a way that very few people will encounter in their lifetime.”

How they handle the physical and mental challenge of competing in such an event is a main driver in the pair entering this desert race. A no less important motivation to them is providing inspiration to clients, friends and family - that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things - with the right attitude, planning and preparation.

“I want to do this event because I feel like this race is the answer to the question I've had since I was little,” says Greig. “Can I run a little further, can I extend myself a bit further - I need to do this event to find out the answer.”

Greig & Willie's support crew!

Greig and Willie also wanted to use the opportunity to make a difference. “We thought that it would be great to represent an organisation that has a positive impact in the Wellington community and after reviewing several charities, we agreed on the Malaghan Institute. It had the appeal of being a local organisation with global implications,” says Greig.

Thanks Greig and Willie - you are an inspiration to us all!

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