Walking Stars – NZ’s first half-marathon walk at night

Press Release – Cancer Society New Zealand

Friday 29 November, 2013
Walking Stars – New Zealand’s first half-marathon walk at night
An inaugural event, Walking Stars has so far raised more than $230,000
Auckland City will host a walking half marathon with a twist – it will happen at night! On Saturday 30 November, walkers will gather at the Auckland Domain Grandstand to walk 21 kilometres in support of the Cancer Society of New Zealand’ patient and carer support and for social and behavioural research.

British woman Mel Lloyd enjoyed night-time marathons while living in the UK, but upon arriving in New Zealand, she discovered there were no such events here. So, with her experience in fundraising and event planning behind her, she decided to do something about it!

In the UK, participants often dress up in extravagant outfits, including wigs and glowing accessories. For this event, Mel says people are welcome to wear whatever they feel comfortable in, though a torch is a must and participants will certainly be encouraged to have fun with their outfits and to accessorise with anything that shines bright.

Proceedings begin at 7.00pm, when The Breeze radio station, the event’s main sponsor, will host a pre-event party to celebrate the occasion.

“Because walkers will be finishing over a wide range of times, the party needs to be held before the event,” explains Mel. The pre-event party will continue until 8pm when there will be a safety briefing followed by a warm-up.

The walk itself is scheduled to start at sunset – about 8.24pm and will take more than 2000 registered participants on a magical starlit walk starting from the Auckland Domain and taking in some of Auckland’s finest landmarks.

The pre-event programme includes an address by Cancer Survivor – Phil Kerslake, who has prevailed through seven diagnoses of incurable lymphomas since his symptoms first appeared in his mid-teens, 40 years ago.

National President of the Cancer Society of New Zealand, Murray MacCormick, will acknowledge event organiser, Mel Lloyd (Mel has dedicated almost two years to planning the event) and the participants who have so far raised almost a quarter of a million dollars. Murray and members of his family are taking part in the event.

Late registrations are still available in the domain at 7pm at a cost of $80.00.

“There will also be refreshments and street entertainment during the walk and many spot prizes, including a Capture the Moment, photo competition,” says Mel.

Mel explains that a large part of the event is about remembering loved ones and celebrating their lives, so participants will be given a back sign on which they can write any message they like. “People can write things like ‘Walking because I’m a survivor,’ or ‘Walking in memory of my mum.’ It’s very powerful,” she says.

“We plan to have fun for a serious cause. It’s not just about raising money, it’s also about raising awareness about the causes of cancer and how people can reduce the risk.”


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