New Zealand volunteer fire fighter takes on tough challenge to ‘start conversation’
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) volunteer, Mark Basson, will attempt to break a world record when he runs a half marathon in full fire fighting gear. The Wanaka carpenter will compete in the Southern Lakes Half Marathon with the hope of beating the three hour, 20 minute and 40 second record time and he’ll be doing it while wearing more than 23 kilograms of gear, including breathing apparatus.
Mark's goal is to complete his run in three hours and 15 minutes to break the current world record. On 1 May 2021 he will run from Cardrona Valley into the township of Wanaka to complete his attempt.
This run is not only about records; it's about starting conversations. Mark is using his run to raise money and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Mark's hope is that more people will be inspired to take the opportunity to reach out and talk to someone. It's time we stand together to stop the 'tough guy' culture, to start talking and to ask for help. The half marathon follows the Cardrona Valley Road to Pembroke Park, starting just below the entrance to the Cardrona ski field.
Mark said completing the event, in all his gear, will be a test of mental stamina. “There is that stigma, especially with males, that you’re too much of a man to want to talk about it,” Mark said. “I was one of those men, I was a man’s man and to be able to go to talk to someone was really hard. But it has literally made the world of difference. So I would like more people to just go out and talk.”
Mark has set up an online fundraiser and he hopes to raise $5 000.
The Southern Lakes Half Marathon, which has taken place since 2008, has sold out for 2021. There is also a shorter 10km run as part of the event, which is also full.
Mark hopes to shave five minutes off the current record-holder’s time, and claim the Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon in full firefighting gear including breathing apparatus.
Fire and Rescue International tried to find the results of his attempt before publishing this article but were unable to locate any to date.
Source: Cook Brothers Construction