To the strains of Stand up for the Champion, runners in the DUAL Marathon on Auckland’s Motutapu Island on Saturday (28 March) formed a guard of honour as ultra-marathon runner Malcolm Law and his red-shirted co-runners approached the finishing line.
Saturday’s marathon was the fulfilment of the High Five-0 Challenge, Mal’s at times crazy dream to run 50 marathons and climb 50 mountains in 50 consecutive days, raising money for the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) along the way.
Looking remarkably chipper for a man who has run, walked or at times even crawled, a total of 1,619km – including 80,698m of elevation gain – and spent 421 hours on his feet over 50 days, Mal was understandably looking forward to a day off.
Throughout the Challenge Mal, his wife Sally and their on-road logistics team have been joined by more than 300 co-runners, many of whom have felt empowered to talk more openly about their own mental health. They have also helped to raise a staggering $433,415 (and rising) for the MHF.
According to Mal “the power of us” was the key to completing the Challenge and to such successful fundraising.
“All our expectations of what might be possible were exceeded,” he says. “And that’s totally all about this incredible community of people who have got behind the whole event. It almost leaves me speechless to know how much good there is out there. We hear so much in the news about bad people doing bad things, but all we’ve experienced in the last 50 days is good people doing good things.”
Asked about the best advice he’s ever been given, Mal reckons it’s hard to go past the Five Ways to Wellbeing promoted by the MHF. “I’ve used them a lot and they’re a wonderful guide. I do think about them and try to apply them each day,” he says.
“We cannot thank Mal enough for what he’s achieved,” says MHF Foundation Chair, Jeremy Gardiner. “He’s shown us how he’s been able to cope with difficulties during the past 50 days in a way that’s been inspirational to others. They don’t have to run 50 marathons, but hundreds of people have been motivated to take action to look after their own mental health.”
Jeremy also extends thanks on behalf of the MHF to everyone who has supported the High Five-0 Challenge so generously. “Their donations will help us in the work we do to help others,” he concludes.
While the running is over, Mal and his wife Sally haven’t stopped raising money. They’re determined to reach their new fundraising goal of $505,050!