Blog by Rachel Grunwell

Ex war vet, Tracey Dender, will be running the Rotorua Marathon in May – and doing it tougher than most. She’s running 42km in a weighted vest. So those hills around the back of Lake Rotorua are going to be haaaaard, long and slow. (I know this for a fact, as I’ve done this marathon without a weighted vest and it was haaaaaard, long and slow enough. By the way, that weighted vest weighs 6kg. Can you imagine carrying around a sack of 6kg potatoes around 42km?

Tracey is also making her run miles count with a passionate purpose. She’s raising money for a Veterans support charity, called No Duff Chartitable Trust.

Why? This 37-year-old – now Rotorua-based baker – is a veteran herself. She did 11 years in the NZ Army including a tour to East Timor and one to Afghanistan.

But here’s her big WHY behind why she is making her run miles count with a true mission:

She tells this best in her own words:

“I have struggled with depression and anxiety, during my time in the Army and since leaving the Army. I am living life as best I can nowadays but some of my friends and colleagues weren’t so lucky. Some days are still tough. “Running definitely helps with the mindset and wellbeing. No Duff was set up and is run by veterans out of necessity and gaps in the support network for veterans.

“I’m passionate because there are so many veterans suffering and who need help.

“No Duff has had its funding decreased and so this is my way of helping a bit.”

This will be marathon number 3 for Tracey.

How does she think she’ll get on?

“I think I’ll go ok with the vest. It’s going be painful, but I am stubborn and have a good training group to run with (Jogging the Powerpoles, in Rotorua).”

Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Tracey after receiving a medal on Anzac Day in East Timor. This was to acknowledge working with the UN in 2002.

So far Tracey has raised $720. Please help her to make a difference for a deserving bunch of Kiwi legends by donating on her Givealittle page HERE And share this blog with anyone you know who may like to back this amazing runner. Her mission is the definition of inspiring.

Meanwhile, you can join Tracey and thousands of others chasing their own goals at the Rotorua Marathon too. You can check out the event by clicking HERE

If you’d like to know more about the charity Tracey is supporting click HERE.

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador and passionate multi-marathoner (25 marathons at the last count including 4X the Rotorua Marathon full course). Qualified coach. Yoga teacher. Wellness expert. Freelance journalist. Author of the book Balance, which includes 30 global experts sharing science-backed hacks on how to be healthier and happier.