In this #WhyWeRun post we meet Dick Breukink, who came to running later in life and has taken to it like a fish to water. Dick not only uses running for his own wellness – but he also uses it to raise funds for important causes. Most of all for cancer research after losing his beloved wife to the disease. Read on to see how Dick keeps his spirits up, and ratchets up the kms, regardless of his years.
What encouraged you to start running and set yourself the challenge of 100 races in 10 years?
I am not quite sure what started me, but since leaving the Netherlands I have enjoyed running on a
regular basis. It all started in NZ and guess that the beauty of the running tracks here, made me
enjoy it even more. After I completed around 50 runs or so, I realized that I could possibly break the
100 runs. This was only in 2014, when I had completed 41 halves and ran the following years either
13 or 14 halves in a year. As I started doing halves in August 2008 in Taupo, the target is that I want to finish the
100 there as well.
What has been your favourite race so far?
It is difficult to pick one in particular, but the races with the most people along the route are always
nice, as the people push you faster. The other choice would probably about the event itself and the
half marathon during the Masters games in Auckland was pretty nice as well, particularly as my kids
were there also and a very flat course.
Could you tell us more about your treadmill challenge?
In September 2011, my wife passed away after a short battle with cancer. She was only 49
years old and really important in my life and still miss her a lot. She encouraged me to run as well
and after her passing, I guess that I run for her now. To raise money for the Cancer society I decided
to run a marathon on a treadmill in the lobby of my hotel. (I am the GM of Novotel Tainui Hamilton).
We got a total of 5 treadmill in the lobby and I ran with whoever wanted to join me. Again my kids
were there, but also the All Blacks were staying in the hotel and some decided to run with me. A
great experience and an encouragement to perform. Probably the hardest full marathon I have run
so far. Besides the 100 half marathons, I have also completed 14 full marathons, including New York
and Sydney (all this in the same 10 years).
Do you have any advice for fellow runners who are over the age of 50?
Just remember that running is “sort of fast walking” and as long as you take step by step, you will get
there. Set yourself some targets and stick to them. Age is just a number and if you want to
accomplish something and you really want to do it, you got to tell your brain and get going. Surely
you have heard all the excuses why you can not to achieve your targets, but I believe that you have
to come up with the answers for why you can do it.
How much have you raised so far for the Red Cross and how much are you hoping to raise
My fundraising page is on everydayhero.com and you can see the numbers so far. During the last 5
halves before the one hundred I am sure that the funds will start coming in.
Anything else you would like to share?
Just enjoy and have fun. If you set your mind to something, you can do it. After a busy day at work, it
is great to run it all off.
If you want to chip in to Dick’s 100 Half Marathon fundraising effort, you can donate on his everydayhero page: https://give.everydayhero.com/nz/dick-breukink-100-half-marathon-challenge