Hope-full … Mike King and his merry men are up for the challenge. Photo / Supplied
Mental health advocate Mike King has added an extra 800km to his Due Drop Hope charity challenge to make sure he gets every last dollar for his cause.
The extra route, for I Am Hope and Gumboot Friday founder King, All Black legend “Kamo Kid” Ian Jones, former triathlon world champion Rick Wells and ex NRL star Richie Barnett – and others – is in response to the dire need for accessible counselling sessions for young people in crisis in New Zealand.
Kicking off on Valentine’s Day, the Due Drop Hope Challenge, sponsored by Due Drop Foundation, will be completed over 16 days as a relay event, which will see the group swim/bike/run the length of the North Island, from Cape Reinga to the Beehive in Wellington.
The I Am Hope challenge starts on Tuesday, Valentine’s Challenge, but there will be no love lost for the four musketeers who will do their darndest to complete their goal.
“This is the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of and an enormous organisational and logistical mission, not to mention physically and mentally harder than anything I’ve agreed to. Dumb? Probably, but worth it. But when we sat down and mapped which towns to visit across the North Island, we knew we had to visit more communities to tell them we’re here for your kids, and we also need your support,” King said.
“I probably won’t be able to walk for a while afterwards, but let’s get New Zealanders behind our kids.”
Former All Black Jones says the trip, which involves five non-athletes, is about being pushed to your absolute limit.
“Our days are going to start at 5am. We will be running, swimming and biking the distance, and then at every town we are meeting with sponsors to thank them for their support, followed up by a community event to raise awareness about mental health and drum up support for Gumboot Friday, finishing at 9pm.
“It is going to be long and gruelling days, day after day, for 16 days. It’s extreme and we know, people will have to push themselves to their limit. No one is under any illusions, and they are all courageously up for it,” says Jones.
The triathlon will conclude with a hīkoi to Parliament led by Mike King, where he will meet with a government representative to convey the group’s concerns regarding the critical need for leadership and decisive action on improving youth mental health in New Zealand.
On the way down the North Island, athletes and supporters will visit 16 towns where they will engage with local iwi, communities, schools, and businesses to encourage participation, whether it be running a kilometre with the team or meeting them at the finish line
All of King’s men:
Ian Jones MNZM – “The Kamo Kid”, All Blacks Hall of Fame
Rick Wells – Former World Triathlon Champion, Commonwealth swimmer, NZ Surf Life Saving representative
David Mitchell – Auckland businessman and keen swimmer
Richard Hart – Auckland real estate guru and comic relief expert
Karim Rostami – Polio virus survivor for whom walking again was considered a miracle by doctors, who fled to New Zealand from the Taliban regime when he was just 8 years old, charity junkie
Geoff Evison – Auckland IT professional and keen international swimmer
Mike King – Founder of I Am Hope and Gumboot Friday, mental health advocate, will complete part of the journey
Richie Barnett – Former international league star, will complete part of the journey
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