Runner Aiming for Guinness World record

Blair & Rubik's cubes


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the ASB Christchurch Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, yoga teacher & Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick. Follow Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Puzzling Marathon Mission: Runner going for Guinness World record

Most people consider running a marathon tough enough. But Christchurch personal trainer Blair Williamson aims to try and break a Guinness World title too when he tackles the ASB Christchurch Marathon on June 4, 2017. The 26-year-old wants to solve the most Rubik’s cubes while running NZ’s fastest and flattest marathon course.

Williamson aims to solve around 200 Rubik’s cubes while running the event (in under 5-hours). He needs to beat American Shane White’s record of solving 175 of the cubes during the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon in America in November 2012 (in 4hrs 53mins).

Williamson, can usually run a sub 4-hour marathon. But he may slow down his stride so he can get in more puzzle-solving missions throughout the race. This event will be his fifth marathon challenge and his second crack at the Christchurch event.

He’ll have a support crew of about three mates who will help him on race day. He’s yet to fully sort the logistics ie how many Rubik’s cubes he will use, whether a mate will run beside him and mix them up in-between Williamson solving the cubes, or whether someone might need to transport 200 fresh cubes to him throughout the course.

He applied to the records office in January to try and officially break the record and hopes to hear soon on approval (it can take up to 12-weeks to lodge an attempt at a record through the “free” entry option). The Guinness World Record office will also send him guidelines around his mission ie how he will need to get the official evidence of his success on the day (ie should runners watch him every moment and verify the numbers or should they video the puzzle solving.

Williamson says the idea came about when a fellow trainer sent him a link about a runner holding a title for the mission near the end of last year. The friend knew Williamson loves running and is an expert at doing the puzzles.

The personal trainer (at Limit Zero gym in Christchurch) has since been training – on the road and on a treadmill with the cubes. During a two-hour training run he managed to solve 88 Rubik’s cubes.

He says he learnt how to master the puzzles nine years ago when friend taught him “how to look at it a different way”.

“The puzzles used to confuse me and give me a headache. But a friend showed me how to do a pattern and it’s just now like doing a puzzle. It now is just common sense to me,” he says.

He says he can do the puzzles as fast as under a minute. And this great pic shows he can also juggle the colourful cubes.

Blair juggle rubik's cubes

I asked him if he’s afraid of falling over while he’s trying to do two things at once? Williamson admits he did “semi-roll” his ankle once already. But it hasn’t put him off his goal.

“I’m looking at my hands while I’m looking down at the ground anyway. So, there’s a peripheral view. But looking down gets my neck a bit crocked too. But I’ll put up with that on race day,” he says.

Join Williamson by running at the Christchurch Marathon’s full or half marathon, 10km distance or sign your kids up for the “kids mara’fun” by clicking HERE

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Blogger. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Yoga teacher. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health ‘s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages.









Why you shouldn’t run cold!


Column by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner, yoga teacher, Good magazine’s wellness columnist and professional blogger. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook  & Instagram for more tips, recipes & giveaways

Why You Should Stretch & How…

Runners are renowned for wanting to skip the ‘warm up’. I get that. All we want to do is lace up our shoes and pound the pavements – or trails – for training. The sooner we get that incredible fix of movement, escapism, freedom and that scientifically proven “runner’s high” the better.

But there’s good reason for warming up and warming down…

Firstly I recommend doing a dynamic warm up routine before you run. This could include controlled, smooth ‘walking lunges’ (10 times on each leg) and then ‘hamstring leg swings’ (10 each side too). Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a range of motion repeatedly and not holding a stretch for a long time. Why do this? This warms up the body to prepare it to move well and ultimately helps with your performance.

A lot of people avoid warming up because they’re impatient. But it’s worth taking just a few minutes of moving, dynamic stretches before a run. You will feel the difference. Your body will feel less tight and function better.

Now, I bet you’re keen to know why a ‘warm down’ is important? The idea behind stretching post-workout is to help lengthen your muscles out. A roller is an amazing self-massage tool for this too. I personally use one after every run.

If you want some step-by-step instructions for some warm down examples of ‘stretches for runners’, then you can find some on my blog.. Click HERE. X X


About Rachel Grunwell

Win a Fitbit! & 6 tips to nailing a fitness goal

fitbit win

Go in the draw to win a Fitbit alta watch worth $229. Check out the comp via our Facebook or Instagram pages.

Don’t you just love the watch colour? This super slim watch also has great sleep insights, counts steps, monitors your heart rate, has long-life battery power and is a great motivator with fitness goals!

By Rachel Grunwell

  1. * Just turn up. Progression will happen through consistency. It’s like anything… do it more often and you’ll get better at it.
  2. * Enter an event. This can scare you into action!
  3. * Share you goal with friends. They can cheer you on and will hold you accountable.
  4. * Have a detailed plan on how you will achieve success ie write down where you will work out, when, how long, when you will have rest days etc… Motivation is great, but planning will give you a guide to follow.
  5. * Seek out expert support if you can afford it. Having a coach can help you to get optimum results, expand your knowledge base and they can advise you on how to train smart to avoid injury and burn-out etc. 
  6. * Think about smaller goals on the journey and celebrate each milestone.


Article supplied by Rachel Grunwell – wellness magazine columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and director of lifestyle website Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook & Instagram.Rachel running on treadmill

Pictured: Rachel getting some run tests done at the AUT Millennium in Auckland.

Parents of teen lifesaver will run the Rotorua Marathon event to raise money in his memory



Article by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the Rotorua Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher . Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for inspo, recipes & giveaways.

Greg and Donna Rieger – the parents of a teenager lifesaver who drowned a year ago plan to conquer 12 half-marathons in his memory. And the Rotorua Marathon event is at the top of their list for a special reason.

Hamish Rieger, aged 17, was tragically swept off the rocks near the blowhole at Moturiki (Leisure) Island in the Bay of Plenty on January 23.

Greg and Donna will celebrate Hamish’s life, and his thirst for adventure, by doing 12 half-marathons – so that’s 252km in total (and that doesn’t even count all those training miles!) They hope to raise $12,000 – $1000 for each 21km event – to fund a Spirt of Adventure scholarship fund for Mount Maunganui teenagers.

Greg says they chose the Spirit of Adventure as the recipient of their fundraising efforts because Hamish’s experience of doing this in 2015 inspired the teenager to go on a fitness-kick and to chase his ambitions to a higher level.

They hope that the donations help some other local teenagers to have that same wonderful opportunity.

Greg says how The Spirit of Adventure helped Hamish:

“He was always the kid who embraced life but he came back from the Spirit of Adventure more mature, with his heart opened, and a commitment to living life to the full every day… For that, we are forever grateful and want to give kids from his community the chance to have the same life-changing experience,” says Greg.


Pic of Hamish supplied by Jamie Troughton.

Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, says Greg and Donna’s 12-half-marathon mission is “so inspiring” and she is so grateful the fundraising will go to The Spirit of Adventure Trust.

“We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating,” she says.

Greg says they are yet to pinpoint all the events they will do. But the Rotorua half-marathon on May 6 is at the top of their list. It is special to him and Donna because Hamish had entered it this year, but he died before he could run it.

Instead, Greg and Donna completed that dream for Hamish in 2016, walking hand-in-hand, and shedding more tears than sweat on that journey. They did this event quietly, without media attention, as they were so grief-stricken at that time.

Greg says he barely noticed the pain of blisters and all those tough miles. His focus was instead on Hamish through every mile.

“By the end of that event my eyes were streaming,” says Greg.

Next year, Greg and Donna will repeat Hamish’s goal again. But this time, their steps will mean even more because of the public fundraiser.

Greg has already started training for the Rotorua half-marathon. He plans to run this, while Donna plans to walk. Hamish’s siblings Oliver, 22, Fergus, 20, and Eliza-Jane,15 and up to 40 family members and friends have pledged to join them too at the Rotorua Marathon event, all wearing ‘I Ride with Hame’ printed asics t-shirts.

Greg, 53, says he can’t wait to be lining up at the start-line at Rotorua’s Government Gardens for the event.

“I’m absolutely fizzing and so looking forward to doing this,” says Greg.

Greg says he has been overwhelmed with support since a story appeared in the Sunday Star-Times about the fundraiser. Three people contacted him immediately to say they wish to donate and a physio in Tauranga has also pledged to help keep Greg in good shape during the journey.

Greg has also been contacted by a surf club member to say they wish to recruit lifeguards from about three  clubs to participate in the Rotorua Marathon event – to give their support to the family.

“I’ve been blown away by the support, totally blown away. I’m pretty stoked,” says Greg.

Greg says Hamish would be proud of the fundraiser. The teenager gave back a lot to his community as a member of the Mount Maunganui lifeguard service, which the Riegers continue to be proudly involved with.

Meanwhile, the Papamoa-based dad says milestones that Hamish misses hurt the most.

This month, Greg and Donna were invited to attend the Mount Maunganui College’s 2016 graduation ceremony to accept Hamish’s graduation certificate. Greg says it was tough not seeing his son graduate, but he was incredibly honoured to  get the certificate and said it was an “emotional experience and one I will always cherish”.

The parents are expecting the milestone of January 23 to be tough too. But doing the fundraiser for Hamish’s memory will help them move through their pain and celebrate their treasured boy’s life.

  • Please support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser with a donation: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52
  • You can enter the Rotorua Marathon event by clicking here

– An earlier version of this story was published in the Sunday Star Times & the website by Rachel Grunwell.


Top pic of Greg and Donna was supplied by

Health + Happiness + Fitness things that rock right now!


By Rachel Grunwell

These are some of my fave things right now that are fitness, health or happiness inspired:

  1. The new adidas ultraboostx womens-specific shoes built with ultra-cushioned comfort. These fit just like socks – so they literally hug my feet when I run. They are super light too. Man, they’re so fly! Now, I just wish I could lol…
  2. Weleda arnica sports shower gel. Free of synthetic preservatives, this is just so delicious on the skin.
  3. Dr Hauschka products. These are plant-based and so nourishing on my pimple-prone skin (yeah, still getting pimples at my age DARN). I love too that this brand is biodynamic. The makers care about everyone from the crop growers, farmers, about working well with the environment in the best way, to the consumers getting the best quality products. Keep a look out for the new make-up colours oooooh la la.
  4. Karen Murrell lipstick made from natural ingredients. This stuff feels bliss on the lips and it feels good to use this product because the makers care about how they make it.
  5. Asics new white hoodie. So stylish, fresh and super light-weight.
  6. Kelly Gibney’s new cookbook ‘Wholehearted’  – Inspiring Real Food for Every Day. The recipes in here look delicious and unique and I love Kelly’s approach that this food is all about tasting great! I love how it’s not a labelled book on any food trend, but rather guides readers to trust their intuition on taste and how the food makes them FEEL.

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness columnist for Good magazine, yoga teacher, recipe creator, marathoner and blogger at 

Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook & Instagram 



8 Reasons Why Cycle Classes Are Cool

rpm class


By Rachel Grunwell

Have you fallen in love with the cycle classes yet? If you haven’t tried RPM, then you are missing out!

Here are eight reasons why cycle classes rock:

  1. The workouts are generally short and intense and so they are great if you are short on time but want to get in an effective workout quickly.
  2. You burn calories for hours post the workout. Do you need any more reasons after this one!
  3. You cycle alongside others and it doesn’t matter if you are all at different levels. You just adjust the lever to your ability. So, it’s nice to cycle alongside others. So essentially you can be training alongside a pro-athlete.
  4. The workout is low impact. So, it’s easy on your joints.
  5. You seriously sweat in these classes and feel amazing afterwards.
  6. If you are training for a cycling event, then this is a great training option. It’s not weather-dependant and it’s also safe ie no cars to avoid!
  7. You feel like you’ve entered another world. In a darkened room, you sit on a bike while the music booms and a trainer leads you through your workout and motivates you along the way.
  8. You work harder in these classes than you might on your own.

Meanwhile, you can read my ‘Girl on an Adventure’ column published in Good magazine where I give the low-down on a cycle class called The trip at Les Mills. Click HERE

Article by Rachel Grunwell – wellness magazine columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and director of lifestyle website Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook & Instagram.



Dealing with Injury – what you can do

run stretch:cigna2

Dealing with Injury – what you can do

By Rachel Grunwell

Runners generally fear getting injured. The best approach is to adopt injury prevention strategies like yoga, using a foam roller, compression tights or self-massage to reduce the likelihood of injury (or see a professional masseuse if you run longer miles and can afford this).

Last year, I suffered my first running injury due to overloading. It was eye-watering painful.

I saw physiotherapist Vaughan Craddock, a director at Sports Lab who works with elite athletes and weekend warriors. Incredibly, he helped me go from hobbling (for weeks!) to running pain-free (and able to do the Chicago Marathon just a few months later). He diagnosed my problem quickly and told me what I should do to avoid aggravating the injury.

Then he gave me clear instructions on what I could do fitness-wise to maintain my base fitness. It was reassuring to have a firm plan to help me return to running. Vaughan says seeking specialist advice is ‘empowering’. I’d agree!

To avoid ever being in my (run) shoes, here are Vaughan’s tips to avoiding injury below:


Pic of Vaughan on his mountain-bike.

  • Firstly, he recommends that you listen to your body. If you’re tired, then rest. If you miss a workout, do not rush to make it up. “This is a common mistake that people make,” he says. It can be a fast-track to injury…
  • If a niggle does not clear in 2-3 days, see a specialist. Ignoring an on-going niggle can see things escalate.
  • Vaughan recommends runners reduce any ‘stresses’ in life, hydrate and eat well, get good sleep, and make sure you get enough relaxation to recharge.
  • Stretch too, says Vaughan, “because if you feel tight, then how can you expect your body to move well”.
  • Lastly, he says: “Be positive”. This can have a ‘dramatic effect’ on healing timeframes.

This column was published by Fairfax newspapers.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a mum, experienced runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of lifestyle website Follow her personal journey to get race-ready with her family on Facebook & Instagram

Rach 02






Yoga Tips for Runners


Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner. Yoga teacher. Good magazine’s wellness columnist. Director of InspiredHealth. Follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for inspo, recipes & giveaways. ps there’s a marathon entry giveaway coming up on the Facebook page soon!

Yoga Tips For Runners

Runners can be reluctant yogis. We think our time is better spent continually pounding the pavements.

It’s usually an injury that will force us into finally doing a stretch routine. But if you’re smart, then incorporate stretching (and strength work) into your training programme now.

Here are some yoga tips for runners:

Gently ease into stretching. You would never run a half-marathon overnight without training well or run too fast, too soon. So, have the same approach to stretching. Do a little bit and, slowly over time, you will improve.

Use yoga exercises to strengthen your core. The slouchy-look is uncool – and a sleepy middle limits your power.

Yoga can help to re-balance your body. If you’ve got a niggle, then you can end up compensating in another area and then injury is inevitable.

Avoid burn-out with the de-stress elements of yoga. Forget the body benefits for a moment; this stuff comes up trumps for the mind.

Yoga incorporates some great breathing exercises so you can better learn how to harness your breath. Maintaining steady, calm breathing in those last miles can give you an edge. While, shallow breathing will leave you breathless, steal energy and slow you down.

Sharpen your focus through yoga by using a mantra. Yoga can help you to silence distractions and truly focus on race day. In those final miles of an event, lots of runners want to give up. This is when your mind drives your legs.

Yoga will improve your range of mobility. This will help you move well and run well.

Your posture and alignment can be improved through yoga. So, you’ll look better, and run better too.

Lastly, make sure you stretch “smart”. See a yoga teacher or personal trainer so they can check your alignment and technique is correct.

Meanwhile, here’s another blog with 7 easy stretches for runners – Click HERE.



Inspirational blind runner signs up for Cigna Round the Bays


Achieving your goal – no matter what!

By Rachel Grunwell

Can you imagine being legally blind and running fast? Well, Maree Carson does this. The 32-year-old Wellington travel agent refuses to let her disability stop her from running.


Maree’s next event is Cigna Round the Bays on 19 February, 2017. Her goal is to step up her speed so she can beat her time of 1hr 46mins from the same event earlier this year.

“I’m quite competitive and so I’m looking forward to doing it again and trying to do it better,” she says.


To achieve her goal she will join the Wellington Harrier Athletic Club to help with her training. Maree also runs with Achilles New Zealand, who support her by teaming her up with a guide to help her along new and unknown courses.


Next year’s event will be Maree’s fifth half-marathon following her completion of the New York Marathon last month with the help of Achilles guide Josh Thomas, from Wellington. He will also volunteer at Cigna Round the Bays, an event he is a big fan of.


“It’s an easy and flat course, the water views are beautiful and there are good vibes,” he says.


Maree loves the event too and has always run. “I love it. I feel quite free and it gives me a clear head. It makes me feel better. It makes me so happy,” she says.


Maree started losing her sight aged 16 through a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa. She has less than 5 percent vision including no depth of vision or peripheral vision. She cannot see in the dark, in shadows, and sometimes “floaters” affect her central vision.


Her commitment to running is an incredible inspiration.

Achilles is the official charity partner of Cigna Round the Bays. Want to help? If you would like to guide an athlete, or have a disability and would like help to take part in Cigna Round the Bays, contact Achilles at Or fundraise for this worthy cause. You can set up a fundraising page as part of your registration.



Register for the event at and join to be in to win a prize worth $2500.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, an award-winning writer, magazine wellness columnist, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador, runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of Follow Rachel on Inspired Health’s  Facebook & Instagram pages.

ps go into the draw to WIN a health and fitness book on facebook at the moment by fitness phenomenon Kayla Itsines!



7 Stretches for Runners

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Marathoner, qualified yoga teacher, wellness columnist for Good magazine & director of . Follow Inspired Health for inspo, recipes & giveaway on Facebook & Instagram 

7 Stretches For Runners

Love running? Well, make sure you stretch.

This element of training is as important as the long runs, short runs, hill runs, speed work, strength work & the rest days.

Running tightens up your muscles and so stretching helps to counteract that.

Before you run, spend a few minutes doing ‘moving, dynamic stretches’ (ie leg swings or smooth and controlled ‘walking lunges’). This prepares the body for moving well – and so you feel less tight.

After your run, take a few minutes to stretch out too. It helps to bring length back to the muscles – and to avoid walking like a ‘lego-man’.

I teach ‘yoga-for-runners’ classes in Auckland. But if you can’t access a run-specific yoga class like this then try ‘yin yoga’, tai-chi, Pilates, stretch or Les Mills ‘body balance’ classes. Remember this restorative element of training is as important as the hard miles.

Stretches for Runners:


Lunges – hits the hip-flexors & hamstrings. Releases tension around the hips nicely.


Forward fold – hello hamstrings!


A magic quad stretch. Remember to stand tall.



Stretch under the feet. Ditch the shoes ideally. Gently ease in & out of this.


Squat. Stretches your thighs, hamstrings & calves. Relieves tension in your back too.


Hello hips & glutes stretch!


Legs-up-the-wall. Finish any workout with this restorative yoga pose. It’s bliss!