The Coast to Coast is one of the toughest races in the country, a pioneering multisport event heralded across the world. People run it to smash personal goals, raise money for charities and create a lifelong sense of achievement.
It evokes images of rocky mountain passes, white water rapids, tarmac racing under road bikes and…gumboots?
Alex Grogan is breaking the mould and raising funds while he’s at it. He’s tackling the two-day race in his trusty gumboots, all to raise money for I Am Hope.
“I Am Hope do amazing things in our schools and in the community,” Grogan said.
“Mike King and his charity are constantly leading the charge in pushing the conversation around the state of mental health amongst the youth in New Zealand.”
The High School Old Boys’ Rugby Club player was at The Long Run on 27 January, a Crusade With Heart event that raised more than $55,000 for the Child Cancer Foundation.
He took his gummies for a lap or two, a cheeky training run ahead of the big race on Friday 10 February. He’s aiming to raise $24,300 for I Am Hope, or $100 per kilometre of the race.
“I do probably 90 per cent of my training in my gummies just to try and break the feet in,” he said from the grass at Malvern Park.
“It’s slower but really it’s just a mental thing – they’re just another pair of shoes at the end of the day.”
He usually wore two pairs of socks while running, to keep them snug and cut down on blisters. Kayaking was Grogan’s strongest discipline, but other elements of the race were on his mind.
“I’m definitely feeling nervous about the mountain run, there’s a fair few river crossings,” he said.
“I guess if I get any rocks in there I might whip off the gummies, but otherwise they’re staying on.”
Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, said Grogan’s gumboot run was an “epic effort for a great cause”.
“We love seeing members of the rugby community supporting meaningful charities like I Am Hope,” Mansbridge said.
“Just like we all did at The Long Run, Alex is crusading with heart – something we love and are inspired by.”
The two-day Coast to Coast kicks off in Kumara on Friday 10 Feb, and finishes in New Brighton on Saturday 11 February.
Head over to his Givealittle to check in on his progress and maybe throw a few dollars towards a good bloke and a worthy cause.