Seven Sharp

Group to swim, bike, run length of North Island for mental health

Tue, Feb 7

They happily describe themselves as "a mixed bag of middle aged men", who despite their differences have discovered a common bond.

Almost two years since their last great adventure, a 25-hour swim relay from Great Barrier Island to Takapuna, the 'Famous Five' will swim, run and bike the North Island from top to bottom.

Central to their mission is raising money for Gumboot Friday, the "I Am Hope" initiative that provides free counselling for young New Zealanders.

The five are an interesting assortment of ages and backgrounds: former world triathlon champ Rick Wells, All Black lock Ian Jones, Real Estate Guru Richie Hart, businessman Dave Mitchell, and Karim Rostami — a polio survivor and successful business owner.

Expected to take sixteen days back-to-back, they'll travel the length of the East Coast, East Cape included.

"It looks easy on a map," says Hart, "because its flat. But then you look at some of the things we have to do and some of the places we are going to be swimming are fairly sketchy."

"The issue is huge and the challenge is huge, so one matches the other," says Mitchell.


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