Darfield firefighters Emma and Phil joined more than 1,100 other participants at the Run to Remember memorial run last weekend

Memorial run accomplished

by Ann van Engelen

Running to remember those who lost their lives in the Christchurch earthquakes and other events saw more than 1,100 people head to the hills with a positive mission.

“The Run to Remember is run by Sport Canterbury. The event is a way to come together as we remember those who lost their lives in the earthquakes, as well as the hundreds of people who helped us and our city at the time,” says Darfield senior fire officer Phil Hunt.

“My firefighter colleague Emma and I teamed up to represent the Darfield brigade. It was so good to see people turn up to run the course as well as support the participants. We started at Mt Vernon Farm track with a minute’s silence and a few speeches acknowledging the quakes. We made our way across to Rapaki track and ended at Hansen Park.

“To me, these events also represent supporting people that went above and beyond. I wasn’t a member of the fire service when the earthquakes happened, so I missed out on the rescue work. The thing that really impressed me is everybody was affected by the earthquake if we liked it or not. People sorted their houses and cleaned up what they needed to and immediately went to help others.

“This run is essentially a chance for like-minded people to pause, reflect and go for a run as we remember. Emma and I wore 18kg of gear, running and walking 10kms, in just over one hour 20 minutes. I have to say it was hot and sticky. Our firefighting equipment is awesome in a fire as keeping us cool, but it also works in reverse, and we got hotter and hotter. There was a massive sense of achievement completing the run. There is nothing like being able to look at a hill and say you have been to the top, and you did it.

You may not be the fastest, but you get an immense sense of satisfaction finishing.

“There is still a lot of earthquake settlement going on, we are all a bit wary, but we are moving forward, and an overwhelming feeling came with the run for me.

“The number of people who patted us on the back and said well done and thank you was incredibly encouraging.

“We have had many terrible events here in Christchurch, and the run is a very positive way to remember the people most impacted. Everyone helps and supports each other. It is a very positive thing that has come out of negative experiences.”