Mike Asmussen, Christchurch
For Mike, the 2011 Canterbury earthquake changed his perspective on life, and the Blind Foundation has been a driving force in his journey to find new challenges. He got interested in running while training for an Outward Bound Insight Programme, and now regularly runs half-marathons with a group of mates. He’s looking forward to completing the challenge as half of a family team: his son Daniel is going to be in the support team this year.
Maree Carson, Wellington
Maree always likes pushing herself out of her comfort zone, as well as being outdoors, so the 7 Day Challenge is the perfect challenge for her. Maree hopes to gain confidence and the belief that anything is possible. She also hopes to meet new, inspiring people involved in the challenge. Her proudest achievement is completing her first marathon in New York. Her words of wisdom are: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Take every opportunity, you’ve only got one life so you might as well live it.”
Steve Delaney, Mapua
A tramp through the Abel Tasman with the Blind Foundation gave Steve a new found hunger for challenges. He’s a passionate outdoorsman who enjoys everything from relaxing on the beach to knocking off the odd mountain top. Crediting his wife Sarah with being his biggest support, Steve is inspired by all the visually-impaired people he has met, who have overcome adversity and lead active lives. His advice to others is “back yourself…there is more strength inside you than you could ever quantify”.
Dena Harnett, Auckland
For Dena, family is her number one priority and motivation. She wants to prove to her children that the only limits they have are the ones they put on themselves. Having had a great time on an Outward Bound Insight course last year, she was keen to adventure again with the 7 Day Challenge. As a keen tramper, she’s really looking forward to Tongariro- but not so much to the marathon and half-marathon part of the challenge, as she really doesn’t like running!
Caroline Lang, Whangamata
Caroline will be the 2nd person in her family to take on the 7 Day Challenge; her brother Peter was one of the participants last year. She’s thrilled to finally get to experience this outdoor adventure for herself. Over the years she’s completed the Otago Rail Trail and the Taupo Lake Run among other events. She always encourages people to try their best and give things a go, including her kids. She recently completed the Mud Sweat and Tears run with her daughter, and says she also has an awesome husband, son and wider circle of family and friends supporting her.
Olivia Mexted, Whakatane
Olivia’s life revolves around disability advocacy and building awareness. She heard about the 7 Day Challenge through friends who completed it last year. Although at the time she thought it sounded beyond her, she kept thinking about it and decided to challenge herself. She’s looking forward to an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and wants to prove some people wrong- including herself- and show that she can complete the challenge.
David Piper, Porirua
Having run marathons, an off-road ultra-marathon and a half Ironman, David is always on the lookout for physical challenges. He hopes the 7 Day Challenge can show the community at large that blind people have the ability and desire to achieve like everyone else. “Just because I can’t see the stars doesn’t mean I can’t reach for them” are words he lives by. He’s the proud Dad of two boys, and will be tracking his journey on Twitter at @blindsideguy.