Running the distance for Cancer

By Seti Afoa 13 April 2016, 12:00AM

For many of us, we may have experienced first-hand the loss of a family member or a close friend to cancer. 

Through the social media revolution, popular spaces like Facebook or Twitter, people often publically declare their stance to fight cancer, remember those dear to our heart who are no longer with us and pay homage to the champions who have survived cancer.  

These stories resonate with us, one way or another. 

They lead us to reflect on our own journey, inspire us to value life, and consider how one can contribute to supporting and remembering the parent, spouse, sibling, child or close friend that has been affected by cancer.  It is their heroic stories that draw us together.      

For three pacific women from Auckland, the lived-experiences of those we remember and the courageous who have survived cancer, is a guiding star for their journey to the inaugural Savaii Marathon this weekend.  

Leilani Jackson, Akesa Fifita and Naomi Fuamatu have come together to raise funds for Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S). 

The group of women have set out a target of NZ$500 and have been endorsed by S.C.S to carry out this fundraising initiative.  

All the proceeds they hope to collect, will go towards supporting the work of S.C.S.

They will be participating in this exciting event and have each selected the distance they will embark to complete; Leilani and Akesa will be taking part in the Half-marathon (21 kilometres) and Naomi the 10 kilometre run. 

The distances are no small feat for the team, their motivation and goal in mind is supporting a great cause. Another common factor for these women, is the pursuit to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, between the three of them they have dabbled in other active events such as; Auckland Marathon, Stomp the Stadium and Around the Bays which are all held in Auckland.

In addition their participation in these events, have been utilised as a platform to fundraise for other cancer charity organisations in New Zealand. 

This will be the first international event for the team of three. It is a creative approach to look after personal well-being, achieve fitness goals and also a small act, to contribute to the work of organisations like Samoa Cancer Society.    

The inaugural Marathon in Savai’i is the final act of the inaugural Savai’i Games. The other sports in the inaugural Games include the Upolu-Savai’i Swim that was held a week ago, then followed by another inaugural event, the Ford Samoa 1 Day Challenge, Ride Savai’i 180km distance. 

The three wise women arrive in the country on Thursday night, then it is straight out to Savai’i in readiness for the start of their respective Events.

The Marathon event has five distances; Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km, 5km and 3km distances. 

All races will finish in Salelologa, while the starting points for each will vary. 

The line-up for the full marathon is relatively low with four entries. 

That can be expected for the inaugural race. There are fifteen confirmed entries for the Half Marathon, twelve for the 10km, and a host of runners for both 3km and 5km distances. 

The marathon is the first to kick off at 5.30am at Sale’aula. The last event to start is the 3km race at Salelavalu. The other races and their starting points; Half marathon (Asaga), 10km (Faga) and the 4km (Salelavalu). All races will finish at Salelologa. 

If you wish to support their fundraising efforts, please contact Shelly Burich –Executive Officer (Samoa Cancer Society) for more information at [email protected] 

Savai’i Marathon Programme

Online registration, 

Physical registration

Upolu, SSAB Megastore, Thurs, 14 April 9am to 5pm

Savai’i, SSAB, Salelologa, Fri, 15 April from 9am to pm

Marathon Start, Sale’aula, Petrol Station (Lava Field), 5.30am

Half Marathon Start, Moto Samoa / Taefu Shop & Café, Asaga, 7.30am

10KM start, Amoa Resort, Faga, 8.30am 

5KM start, Lalomalava Petrol Station, 9.00am

3KM start, Salelavalu, 9.30am 

All runners to be at their starting spots 30minutes before your race.

By Seti Afoa 13 April 2016, 12:00AM

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