Thinking on her feet

Running for a good cause . . . Crossing the finish line of her own 21 km half-marathon is Longford Intermediate School teacher Charlotte Forbes who raised $610 for Gumboot Friday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The postponement of Queenstown half-marathon has not stopped Longford Intermediate School teacher Charlotte Forbes from running her own to fundraise for Gumboot Friday.

She had signed up for the Queenstown half-marathon meant to take place last month and already had sponsors when it was called off, she said.

“I felt that Gumboot Friday need the money now, but I don’t feel like I can give it to them if I haven’t actually run a half marathon. It feels like I am robbing people of what they are sponsoring me for. So here we are,” Ms Forbes said before the run.

She mapped out the 21km route, which started at Waimumu and finished at Longford Intermediate School, in Gore.

“It was really good,” she said after the run.

“I thought coming up the hill by the Southern Fieldays site that I was going to die a slow and painful death, but once I got up the hill and I saw my friend who was going to join me on her push-bike, I thought this might not be so bad and I fell into a rhythm again and I actually really enjoyed it.”

Friends joined her for various parts of the half-marathon and she even had support from her pupils.

“I had three of the students from my class join me and run the last 6km with me.”

Friends and pupils congratulated her at the finish line, she said.

She completed the run in two hours and nine minutes and was determined to beat that time in the Queenstown half-marathon in March next year.

“I’m going to fundraise again for Gumboot Friday. It’s very inspiring for the kids and their parents,” she said.

She raised $610 for the children’s mental health charity from her half-marathon.

As she worked with children, it was a cause she was passionate about.

“Accessing counsellors for kids, as far as my knowledge extends, is actually very difficult.

“I know that the services in rural areas are pretty much non-existent.

“Even in more urban areas such as Gore, it’s incredibly difficult to get anybody into a counselling service, let alone a child.”

Gumboot Friday’s counsellors were specifically trained to work with children, she said.

“That’s where I see this counselling being important for the kids.

“It’s to give them those strategies, those ways of being able to help their anxieties, their depression and take it into adult life.

“I am hoping that we can actually change these kids’ lives and help them succeed into adulthood and then not need those services.”

A Givealittle page had been set up for people to sponsor her in the Queenstown half-marathon, she said.