Worthy cause fuels EIT Tutor's final steps
Every step of the more than 1600km Andrew McCrory has taken so far has been for kiwi kids living with Cerebral Palsy.
And with eight days to go until he has run the length of the country, he has raised $14,000 more than his original target.
The EIT Services Pathway Tutor began his epic trek on December 5 with the aim of running more than 200km in 40 days, and raising $20,000 for children to undergo expensive SDR (selective dorsal rhizotomy) surgery in the United States.
His Givealittle page has now exceeded $35,00 and is steadily climbing.
"I am totally overwhelmed by people's donations," the 47-year-old told Hawke's Bay App as he past through Timaru. "I had very little internet last night and everyone was messaging me and my phone exploded and my wife's phone did too, we couldn't keep up."
While he had hoped to hit his target, he expected to only do so at the end of his journey.
"We made the halfway mark quite quickly but I just thought we might have some more come in when we finish as the big finale and thought we should be able to hit the 20k then but now we've made 34k, it's gone crazy - it's great."
With no connection to anyone with cerebral palsy, Andrew was touched a few years ago by a Facebook post of Liv, a young girl with the chronic illness. It started him on a fundraising journey over the years that has culminated in this epic undertaking.
“It has been worth it for the cause I am supporting. Thanks to all the people who have donated and everyone who has tooted and waved as they have gone past.”
Andrew’s original plan had been to run from Cape Reinga to the Bluff. However, that was scuppered with Auckland being in Covid-19 lockdowns making his pathway down the North Island uncertain. Instead, he started his journey from the top of Hawke’s Bay’s Te Mata Peak and headed up to Gisborne, Opotiki and then Tauranga. From there he cut across to State Highway 1, which he ran along down to Wellington and is still on in the South Island.
It may have been a change of plans, but Andrew has made sure that he is running exactly the same distance he would have if he had traversed the country from north to south.
He has been running on average fifty kilometres per day, including on Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and through all weather conditions.
"We've had our ups and downs. The start was really difficult and it was just extremely hot but now it's been really good as I've sort of gotten into a rhythm.
"It's just another day at the office I suppose; get up, run, recover and do it again the next day."
When things have gotten tough, Andrew says he has thought of his why.
"Just knowing why I'm doing it and thinking to myself when things are getting tough for me the kids that I raise money for don't get a break."
His "one-woman support crew" in the form of his wife Kathleen has been on the journey with him, driving the self-contained campervan they have been staying in.
But the support from everyone has been "overwhelming".
"Some people I haven't seen in 29 years have popped out of the woodwork after seeing me on Facebook. Some run with me, some cycle and some just pop out to say g'day so it's just been incredible and a lot of the time they don't even tell me they're coming, they just show up.
Even a "toot and a wave" from someone going past help.
"I pick my pace up a little bit but if I've got someone running with me the day goes a lot quicker, it doesn't really time-wise but it just feels like it's going quicker."
Glen Harkness, EIT’s Executive Director, Strategic Projects and Partnerships, says Andrew’s achievement is remarkable and EIT has been proud to offer him assistance in achieving his goal.
“Andrew has proved himself to be a legend and he has shown humility and kindness in working hard to help children who need him. EIT applauds that.”
Joining EIT in supporting Andrew are a number of businesses. They are Skybright Health (Electrolytes), Wrightsock NZ (Running socks), Shoe Clinic Napier (Running shoes), NCubed Nutrition (Dietitian), Running Hot (Run Coaching), Rivers to Ranges (Running gear and torches), Boyce Podiatry (Fine tuning of feet and shoes), Largo Sport (Massage), New World Havelock North, Branded, and Eastcoast Hunters.
For more information about Andrew’s fundraiser, follow him on Instagram: andrew.mccrory.ultra.runner or Facebook: Running Aotearoa For SDR. If you would like to donate to Andrew’s cause, you can go to the Give a Little page Running Aotearoa for kids with Cerebral Palsy. (https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/running-aotearoa-for-kids-with-cerbral-palsy)
And what is Andrew planning to do when he hits his finish line at Stirling Point at Bluff on 13 January? Well, he plans to nip across to Stewart Island and run the length of that for fun, as you do.