In this #WhyWeRun post we are introduced to Brittany Vining, an incredible individual who dedicates her running success to raise awareness and funds for The New Zealand Organisation of Rare Disorders (NZORD). Brittany’s kind heart has already helped fundraise for her selected charity and she now challenges herself by competing in the Hoka One One Kinloch Off-Road Challenge. Read on to learn all about Brittany’s journey to completing her first marathon.
Can you tell us a bit about the charity you’re fundraising for and what this journey means to you?
When I completed my registration, I hadn’t committed to a charity to fundraise for. After my registration, I thought a little bit about my interests and what I was passionate about; I am finishing up my final year of a Bachelor of Science, Majoring in Genetics with a double Minor in Psychology and Exercise & Sports Science. I recently decided to apply to complete my Masters in Genetic Counselling – and I came across the New Zealand Organisation of Rare Disorders (NZORD), researched what they did, and decided to raise money for them.
I contacted the charity and found out I was the first person to ever raise money for them and I realised how much of an impact one person can have on such a large group of others. The NZORD represent over 377,000 people in New Zealand that are affected by over 7,000 rare disorders, whether it be themselves or a close family member. A lot of people have never met anyone else with the same disorder they have, so the NZORD help to put people in touch with support groups, clinical trials overseas, and help to find medication and information from overseas. A lot of children with rare disorders also pass away before they turn 5, and the NZORD help families to connect so they aren’t suffering alone in silence. I had originally intended on raising money for a foundation supporting mental health in New Zealand, but I couldn’t dismiss the opportunity to help so many people in such a significant way. A few have reached out to me personally as well, to thank me for raising awareness for those that can’t represent themselves.
How has fitness/running had an impact on your life?
So far, my training has lead me to a whole new community of trail runners – I have recently completed the Manawatu Moonlight Madness series and spent the entire 10km run in Kohitere Forest in Levin chatting away to a woman completing an Ultra Marathon in two months time. Before I knew it we had been talking for an hour and run 10k, I couldn’t believe it! It’s been fun to sign up and commit to things I would never have done – I have never really been a “runner,” but I’m now already contemplating signing up for another marathon next year! I’ve found throughout my training that it is a really tough mental game; when it’s cold, raining and windy there are a lot of things I would rather do than go and run for 10k outside, but you’ve just got to get it done and I also feel so much better afterwards. It has been challenging to push myself for training, but through talking to friends I have had a lot of them say they will sign up to support me on the day; in fact, four friends are signing up for the 10k and another for the half marathon. This really showed me that talking about things can really change people’s mindset – through my running, I’ve raised just over $500 for the charity and made a significant amount of people aware of the work the charity does.
Have you participated in any events like this before?
Having never really … enjoyed … running before, I’ve never participated in any events like this – before my training, I think the longest I would have ever run wouldn’t be too far over 10k at a time! So far the longest run has been 16k, but I believe this Friday will be 23k so I can keep you posted!
Any goals for your first marathon? (Not that completing one isn’t big enough!)
I’m anticipating there will be a massive sense of achievement after completing the marathon, and I am going into it with no regard to my completion time. I am there to finish the 42.2k, and raise awareness for those with rare disorders; I am sure I will cry the last 10k but it will all be worth it!
If you’d like to help Brittany achieve her fundraising goals, just follow this link: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/brittany-runs-a-marathon