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Kiwi quintet organising 100km charity swim to raise funds for St John

Some former elite athletes never lose the thrill of the chase - especially if there's a worthy cause involved, as a quintet of Kiwis are out to prove.

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Five ex-athletes are gearing up to raise funds for St John. Source: 1 NEWS

Former world champion triathlete Rick Wells is leading that charge, organising the 100km non-stop relay swim from Great Barrier Island to Auckland. 

"As you get on in time, you just feel as though you need a challenge in your life and to do something that scares you somewhat," Wells says.

Wells has also roped in businessmen Richie Hart and David Mitchell, who he swim coaches, as well as 79-Test All Black Ian Jones.

"[I] love being part of this sort of group atmosphere," says Jones.

"And everything I do in terms of training is always timing at pace and with good mates and you just kind a share the pain."

Rounding out the quintet is Afghan refugee Karim Rostami, who is used to overcoming challenges life throws his way, including polio.

"I started swimming in 2014. I couldn't swim," Rostami says.

"The first challenge for me was to challenge myself, was to swim from North Shore to Auckland."

The group's ultimate goal is to raise over $200,000 for St John to put towards a new ambulance, something close to both Hart and Mitchell.

Aside from the challenge of tides, the group will be competing for clear water, scheduled to swim in March 2021, the same time as the next America's Cup in Auckland.

"We're not too worried about that. We'll be able to swim around those yachts," jokes Wells.