Women’s marathon a fundraising effort

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Wanaka running mates Arna Craig and Jess Eastwood have their hearts in the right place.

Both have raised thousands for charity by taking part in the Queenstown Marathon.

Mrs Craig raised $11,400 for HeartKids, the charity that provides support for those living with a childhood heart defect.

Ida was 9 months old, she was in heart failure. With her family she was flown to Starship Hospital in Auckland, where she spent two and a-half months.

Ida was now 15 months old and after two surgeries to stabilise her condition she was doing well, but for Mrs Craig the help provided by HeartKids continued to be invaluable.

The charity received no government funding, so it was “very reliant on public support”.

The “biggest thing” for Mrs Craig was making people aware that HeartKids existed for the 12 children born on average every week with a congenital heart defect.

For Mrs Eastwood, raising over $3,300 for the Mental Health Foundation was about giving to a charity that worked hard to help others.

“We’ve had family members and friends who have been affected by mental health.”

Running a full marathon for the first time was “hard work” but she tried to “dig deep” and think of the people who had shared personal stories of how mental health had affected them.

“My pain was going to end when I got to the finish line .. but for a lot of people it doesn’t.”

She was “still trying to recover” from the run but was pleased to have been able to raise funds for others.

“It is just amazing how generous people are, it is a very humbling experience,” Mrs Eastwood said.

Mrs Craig said the women were not finished with their fundraising.

In December, they planned to launch a gift wrapping service that would run throughout the Christmas period in Wanaka.

People would be able to get their presents wrapped for a gold coin donation at the service, based outside Soul Clothing in Helwick St.

“It will be all ecofriendly, and sustainably sourced.”

The funds raised will go to HeartKids, Mental Health Foundation and the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Run for charity . . . Wanaka fundraisers Arna Craig (left) and Jess Eastwood cross the finish line at the Queenstown Marathon. PHOTO: SUPPLIED