“Keep moving forward, one day at a time, one step at a time.” That’s the message ultra-marathon runner, mother of two, and Mental Health Foundation supporter, Cherie Richardson wants everyone to take on board.

She ran a whopping 301km over eight days from Aoraki Mount Cook to the coastal township of Oamaru along the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail.

The trail weaves through the spectacular Southern Alps, past tussock countryside and the hydro lakes, then along the Waitaki River to the coast.

Giving back

Cherie chose to fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation because mental health issues affect one in six New Zealand adults, and she knows friends and colleagues who have experienced mental health challenges.

“Since I started running three years ago, I’ve participated in quite a few events, been supported by lots of volunteers and my family, so I thought it would be cool to give something back to them in the best way I know how – by running.”

Making a difference for people with experience of mental illness, means a great deal to her.

“The Mental Health Foundation has supported many over time, so I wanted to ensure this continued. I’d love to see more support out there, so hopefully by making a difference to the Mental Health Foundation, it can make a greater difference in the community.”

Determination the key

Cherie admits the Alps 2 Ocean run is no small feat, but through her determination she successfully saw it through.

“Over the last 18 months I’ve done a couple of 50km run events and even a 100km event, but never anything of this magnitude or a run that occurs over several days. Running almost eight marathons over eight days challenged my body and, even more so, my mental toughness.”

She says there were days when she thought she might have bitten off too much, and it all seemed too hard.

“Having to focus on something outside of work and the daily challenges that accompany life has forced me to forget about sweating the small stuff. It’s taught me resilience, patience and moving forward each day.”

Cherie’s run took place between 19–26 March. Read more about Cherie’s training and remarkable event on her Facebook page

To support her efforts please donate to her online fundraising page.