Scaling a mountain to raise funds

Running up that hill . . . Paul Forbes completed 245 laps of the Scenic Reserve’s Otipua Rd ‘‘Zig-Zag’’ entrance last weekend to raise funds for Speed Freaks. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

A Timaru ultra runner pushed his body to new heights last weekend as he attempted to conquer the equivalent height of Mt Everest one step at a time.

Five months ago Paul Forbes decided he would run, walk or even crawl up the Otipua Rd ‘‘Zig-Zag’’ entrance to the Scenic Reserve as many times as it took him to reach the height of Mt Everest.

The track, with an elevation of 30m over its 640m length needed to be run 295 times, a total distance of 188.8km, to scale the height of Mt Everest.

He said the run was nothing like he had ever done before.

‘‘I realised I wasn’t really the quickest runner so thought I’d just keep running further.

‘‘I had done a good few distance runs before but no fundraisers and definitely nothing like this.’’

He said the reason for the run was to raise awareness and funds for the Speed Freaks Trust.

‘‘We are trying to get it set up in Timaru. It’s currently in Auckland, Christchurch and a couple places up north.

‘‘I just wanted to let people know about them and raise some money at the same time.’’

Speed Freaks is a charitable trust established in 2021 that aims to deliver running and walking programmes in support of recovery, whether that be due to addiction or mental distress.

The goal was to hopefully have it set up in Timaru by the end of the year, he said.

After 37 hours, Mr Forbes fell just short of his overall goal but still put in an impressive performance.

‘‘Initially the goal was obviously Everest but it got pretty hot on that first day so I had to walk a lot more than I probably would have liked to.

‘‘If I was to get to the Everest mark it would have been easily another 12 hours.

‘‘I was getting close to the 100 mile mark, so I decided just to go for that.

‘‘No-one is going to want to do that again so I thought I’d just own that.’’

Mr Forbes’ 161km effort in the end equated to 245 laps of the track.

‘‘I stopped for about an hour the first night but just couldn’t sleep so I got up and started again.

‘‘I think I slept for about 12 minutes total over the course of the weekend — things got a wee bit blurry.’’

He said the support of the community really pushed him through the gruelling task he had set himself.

‘‘I had a heap of friends and family come and help. I had someone with me walking or running for a lot of the time.

‘‘There were a few hours by myself as well which was fine, I’d just slip on some music and crack on with it.

‘‘We ended up with about $500 cash in the bucket as well as plenty of online donations which was really reassuring and motivating to see when I’d quickly check on my breaks.

‘‘I’m really thankful to everyone who donated or even just stopped by.’’

So far Mr Forbes had raised more than $3000. He is, however, still pushing to hit his goal of $5000.

His givealittle page, Paul is going to Everest the Zig Zag, is open until Wednesday for anyone still wishing to support him and Speed Freaks.