Marathon has run-on effect

by Mike Isle

The introduction of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award into the Youth Unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison in Rolleston is paying dividends — not only for the young men themselves, but also for the wider community, after 25 youth from the Unit took part in a sponsored marathon that raised $400 for Te Whare Hauora (formerly Otautahi Women’s Refuge).

The marathon, which was run earlier this year around the inside perimeter of the prison, was the brainchild of the Joshua Foundation’s Chris Allan, who delivers the world’s leading youth achievement award ‘behind the wire’, in association with the Department of Corrections. 

Last week, the young men who completed the marathon presented the $400 cheque to Te Whare Hauora, and its Kaiwhakahaere (supervisor), Jynine, said the money will be put to good use. 

“We’ll put it towards education for our rangatahi, youth who are working at making positive change for themselves, which will in turn benefit their local community.” 

Chris Allan said Women’s Refuge was chosen to receive the funds raised because, some of these guys have witnessed domestic violence against women in their own homes. “It’s great for them to be able to give back to an organisation that may have helped their families in the past.” 

The idea for the marathon was born from the award requirement that participants take part in some form of physical recreation, while the award’s national office in New Zealand sponsored each lap completed by the young men.