BY 9.30pm the black sea and night sky are one. The ocean kicks up around the swimmer. He can’t see his hands pulling through the water. Vast and silent forces swirl around and just 800 metres beyond him lies New Zealand's North Island. He left the South Island over 11 hours ago and the weather is getting nasty . . .
It is Friday May 6, 2022. Autumn in New Zealand. The night-time swimmer is 50-year-old Jeff Reid and he’s trying to cross the treacherous Cook Strait. Incredibly, Reid has already swum this challenging passage back when he was just 14. Today, the father of two, aims to earn the record for the longest period of time between two crossings.
“I want to see if I can do it again because I don’t want my legacy to be that I swam it when I was 14.”
But there’s another reason the Napier Port marine team leader wants to swim. A few years ago, he and wife Amy learned that Reid has polycystic kidney disease, which causes the deterioration of kidney function with the eventuality of regular dialysis.
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In it for the long run: Gavin Murphy and the 100-mile race
DURING one of the toughest 100-mile races in the world Gisborne’s Gavin Murphy overcomes fatigue and pain most of us couldn’t imagine. He runs or walks continuously and sees two sunrises without sleep. What on earth drives a man to move for two days non-stop, and can there really be any enjoyment?
SPOT 44-year-old Gavin Murphy jogging down Wainui Beach and you might not give him a second glance. But consider he’s probably been running since 3am and suddenly you realise this easy-going bespectacled Gisborne business manager is a running extremist.
He’s that breed of athlete that relishes the feel of shredded legs and miles of agony, and embraces the rush of runs that last for hours, even days.
Last month [March 2017] Gavin had a crack at the Northburn 100 that pits athletes against 161 kilometres (100 miles) of barren Central Otago terrain including 10,000 metres of up and down. Read feature article
Christmas Eve bus tragedy
When dozens of bus passengers were injured in a horrific crash near her home last Christmas Eve, mother-of-three and volunteer surf lifesaver Kristina Williams rushed to their aid.
On board were 53 teachers and students from a Tongan college brass band heading to Gisborne. Sione Taumalolo, 11, and Talita Moimoi Fifita, 33, died at the scene, and Leotisia Malakai, 55, died eight days later.
Unexpectedly thrown from the warmth of a family Christmas Eve to tending victims on a cold dark hillside, Kristina credits surf lifesaving for giving her the tools to help.
“The girl we met on the road said it was a bus with lots of kids and my heart sank,” remembers Kristina.
Half an hour earlier Kristina and extended family were settling down to a fun-filled Christmas Eve with presents to wrap and children to tuck into bed. But all that was shattered when a car pulled up to their rural Muriwai house and a man began to shout. Read full feature
Bounding back to health
ADVENTURE course Outward Bound has propelled QRS engineer Glenn Bradley to rethink the way he lives, works, and plays.
Described as a solutions genius, Glenn is an engineer, heavy diesel mechanic, panel beater and metal fabricator with over 20 years at QRS.
He’s a terrific problem solver. But there was one problem Glenn didn’t know how to solve. Why did he sometimes feel so sad and as if life had slowed down?
“Last year was an odd year what with illness in the family and me coming back from Outward Bound,” explains Glenn. “But that course started something in me.”
Back in 2021 Glenn was in a funk. To snap out of it he wondered if doing something adventurous and challenging, like an Outward Bound course, might act as a re-set button and eject him out of his gloom. Read full feature