Inspirational Paeroa man completes ultramarathon in gumboots to raise money for youth

What could possibly motivate someone to run 100 miles in gumboots while doing 1,600 burpees along the way?

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Paora Raharaha also did 1600 burpees at the event to raise money for kids in Huntly. Source: 1 NEWS

That's exactly what Paeroa man Paora Raharaha did at the Tarawera ultramarathon over the weekend, doing 10 burpees after every kilometre.

Raharaha told 1 NEWS he got into marathons after a rough start to life.

“I was 12, 13 when I was exposed to guns, aggravated robberies, aggravated assaults,” Raharaha told 1 NEWS.

He turned his life around over the last four years and is now all about helping others do the same through fitness, using the ultramarathon over the weekend to do just that by raising funds for Huntly youth.

The Huntly Big Bots – a group which trains children of all ages to encourage weight loss and build self-confidence and self-esteem – was the cause Raharaha ran for.

The group's founder, Ants Pitman, told 1 NEWS he was blown away by Raharaha’s effort which has since raised over $4000 on Givealittle.

“Sixteen-hundred burpees, 160km, Bloody legend,” Pitman said.

“And he did that all because my kids needed and need uniforms.”

The pair met in Rangipo Prison in 2012 before last weekend’s happier occasion.

“He got out, I got out around the same time. He started his thing and that was running,” Pitman said.

“Well I said I want to do something that I really, really love and that's spending time with my kids.”

And these kids aged five to 12 are the real deal.

“They've run 42km, so they've run a whole marathon here in Huntly. They did it in six hours,” Pitman said.

“They may come into our group as a quiet little kid that's a bit overweight but I'm glad to be part of that change that made them feel more confident within themselves.”

The children ran the last six and half kilometres with Raharaha at the weekend, with Raharaha crossing the finish line in 35:39:39, just inside the event cut-off of 36 hours.