Not only is eight-year-old Ari Marino a huge Crusaders fan and a member, he’s a fundraising superstar.
With one week to go until The Long Run – a Crusade With Heart community running event raising money for the Child Cancer Foundation – Ari has raised more than $1200.
It’s a cause close to his heart. His friend was diagnosed with cancer aged 4, and has since “kicked its butt”. They’re two years in remission now.
“He’s good as gold now,” Ari said.
He won’t be running alone on 27 January at Malvern Park. Alongside the hundreds expected to run laps, Ari said his cousins were in town and would be taking part.
“I did it last year, I was the youngest one to run and I did nine laps,” he said.
“This year I reckon I could do 20.”
Ari’s mum Tina Mahony said she was very proud of her boy. He’d always been a go-getter and fundraising for a cause was no different.
She said he was super excited to run again.
“We’ve been doing lots of training. Running and biking and jogging,” Mahony said.
“He said he wants to get there at 6am to start his laps.”
Ari plays rugby for Christchurch Football Club and had his first year of tackle rugby last year.
His favourite position is 10 and his favourite player? Richie Mo’unga of course.
Remember the name Ari Marino, there’s a first-five vibe to the kid.
Want to keep Ari ahead of the field? Donate to his page here.
What is The Long Run?
The Crusaders are committed to having a positive impact on the community, and are humbled to be partnering with the Child Cancer Foundation for The Long Run, raising funds for their important work supporting families of children fighting cancer.
What is Crusade With Heart?
The Crusade with Heart Foundation is a Charitable Trust the Crusaders set up to build belonging and connection beyond the rugby field. Ultimately we want to have a positive impact on those in our community who need it most.