Te Araroa FKT – Brooke Thomas
In November 2020 Brooke Thomas set off from NZ’s northernmost point, Cape Reinga, to run the 3000km length of New Zealand along the Te Araroa Trail. It had been on her bucket list since she received a pacemaker 10 years before.
At 22, she’d had to give up her rowing career due to her heart condition, ‘‘so I kind of feel like I’ve got unfinished business with sport’’.
She completed the challenge in 57 days and 10 hours, setting a new record as the fastest woman on the Te Araroa Trail.
“It’s not an easy running track. There are times when you’re right out in the challenging high country and its very remote and you spend a lot of time on your own,” Brooke says.
At Arthur’s Pass, she had to make two frightening river crossings in the pouring rain, on North Island she became sick and ended up in a hospital.
Bu she also got lots of encouragement and support from family, friends, colleagues, and even some of her doctors joined her on sections.
She raised more than $24,000 for Heart Kids, a charity that supports families with children with heart conditions and wanted to inspire other NZers with heart defects to chase their own dreams.
This kept her going through the low periods during the traverse, she said.
‘‘Fundraising for HeartKids NZ is my way of giving back for all the support and medical expertise I have received throughout my own health journey,’’ Brooke said.