In the early morning, Michael and his support crew kicked off an incredible journey – a 60-Km run/walk representing the 60 lives lost to suicide (60 men lost every hour globally). This initiative is driven by the Movember foundation. Mana Tane: 60 for 60, wasn't just a challenge for Michael's physical strength; it was a powerful reminder of the importance of mental health, especially in the context of suicide prevention. The event began with karakia, bringing everyone together for a moment of reflection and grounding for the day ahead.
Throughout the day, Michael alternated between running and walking to complete the 60km in 12 hours. A 4km walk, a 10km run, a 5km walk, a 5km run, 12 km walk and then a 13km Run – each leg presented its own challenges, mirroring the complexities of mental health struggles. Usually the 60km is to be completed over a month.
What made "60 for 60" truly special was the incredible community support.
Friends, whānau, and even strangers joined Michael on different legs, offering encouragement, sharing stories, and highlighting the importance of unity in facing mental health challenges. The positive energy wasn't just a boost for Michael's stamina; it showcased the strength found in kotahitanga (unity). The finish line marked more than the end of the 60kms; it was a celebration of hope, healing, and a united effort to raise awareness for a cause that touches many lives.
Throughout "60 for 60," Michael stressed the importance of "It's ok to have a kōrero." Encouraging men to talk being a vital step in their healing journey. Michael has seen first hand the positive impact of opening up through the Game On! programme, which he co-facilitates with John as part of the Dads support group.
A huge mihi goes to all the support crew throughout the day (Special shout out to Moe, Fiona, Bay), Liv at the Hits for radio air time, the Southland tribune for writing about this event, the hunting and fishing crew that donated all the BBQ necessities on the day and Awarua Whānau Services for supporting this kaupapa with kai and promotion.
"60 for 60" wasn't just a run/walking event; it was a statement about the need for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Michael's dedication, the community support, and the conversations sparked by this event showcase the strength found in unity.
Hapai ake te whānau ki ngā taumata oranga. He whānau kotahi tātou.