Wintec mountain man ‘keeps it local’ with 54km run around Raglan

Wintec tutor Dave Williams ran a marathon to raise money for mental health

Wintec outdoor education tutor Dave Williams is taking life in his stride, combining training with raising money for mental health. Image thanks to Raglan Chronicle.

Wintec tutor, Dave Williams is training to climb a 20,000-foot Alaskan peak but to “keep it local” – and celebrate the easing of the Covid-19  lockdown – he ran every road in Raglan recently, a marathon effort which raised more than $1,600 for mental health.

“It’s definitely up there as one of the more hilly towns in New Zealand,” Williams says of Raglan, or Whaingaroa as it's also known, on the wild west coast of the Waikato, where he’s lived for the past year after previously commuting from Auckland most weekends. 

The Wintec Sport Science and Human Performance tutor in outdoor adventure education began his challenge – which was registered with the Everydayhero fundraising website – from his Violet St home at 6.30am Sunday morning. It took him six-and-a-half hours to run all the streets in town and then the length of Wainui Road out to Whale Bay.

All up, he says, his Every Road in Raglan Challenge came to 54 kilometres. That included a lot of unavoidable to-ing and fro-ing, particularly in Raglan town itself.

He says one of the high points of his day was actually completing his 71st marathon overlooking the “empty” surf from the top of the reserve, at the spot where he’d  proposed to wife Lynn.

Balance is important to this athlete.

“It is always important to consider all four dimensions of hauora (wellbeing) taha tinana- physical, taha wairua- spiritual, taha whānau- social and taha hinegnaro-mental and emotional. We work best at life when all four are balanced, for me I can achieve this in the various ways I enjoy the outdoors.”

The 35 year-old is no stranger to personal challenges. His lifelong mission is to scale seven of the world’s highest peaks from sea level in a fundraiser for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

He has ticked off four of those already: Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro, Russia’s Mt Elbrus, Australia’s Mt Kosciuszko and Argentina’s Mt Aconcagua.

Alaska’s Mt Denali is next on his list, to be followed by Antarctica’s Mt Vinson Massif and finally Nepal’s Mt Everest.

“I am always coming up with initiatives to keep me active and inspiring others to do the same. In a month I hope to run the timber trail which is 80km in the Pureora Ranges.

I am also hoping to get back to Mt Denali in Alaska in 2021 to attempt another Sea to Summit climb. During the expedition people follow and support by donating to the mental health foundation.”

His sea-to-summit challenge over seven continents is about “never giving up no matter how tough things get”, says Williams, whose motivation comes from having lost two adventurous young friends to depression.

Williams is  in awe of the running, cycling, surfing, kayaking and rock-climbing opportunities right at his doorstep and is eyeing other ways he might help raise awareness of – and funds for – the mental health of young Kiwi men in particular.

“Too often we try to tackle all our mountains in life alone,” he says.

Now that New Zealand is in Alert Level 2, there’s even more balance for Williams who says he is “busy preparing to get our students back into the outdoors, surfing, running and finally catching up with whānau”.

(A version of this story originally appeared in the Raglan Chronicle.) 

Find out more about studying outdoor adventure education at Wintec.

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