Marathon a metaphor for mutual support

Youth worker Hannah Lochhead, left and college student Lexi Wiig ran the Auckland Half Marathon together in support of each other, and the Coast Youth Community Trust (CYC). Photos, Lily Gatman

When Whangaparāoa College Year 11 student Lexi Wiig ran the Auckland Half Marathon recently, she matched her pace to that of her CYC mentor, Hannah Lochhead.

“I could have finished it sooner, but we stuck together so it became a mental game,” Lexi says.

Although youth worker Hannah is no slouch when it comes to exercise, and regularly does F45 sessions, running was a new and big challenge for her. Lexi, on the other hand, had a. head start. She began running at the start of the year and found it gave her time out, stress relief and other mental health benefits. She had already completed a half marathon before the Auckland event on October 29.

“It is an escape,” she says. “If you’re having a bad day, you can step out of reality for a bit.”

Hannah and Lexi have had a mentoring relationship for the past year. They took on the half marathon, Hannah says, to demonstrate how a youth worker builds a relationship with a young person.

“It was a metaphor for what it looks like to get alongside someone and encourage and learn from each other,” Hannah says.

Hannah says running was “terrifying” for her.

“I ask young people to challenge themselves and go out of their comfort zone, so I wanted to push myself to do the same,” she says.

After “a couple of months” of training, they lined up at the start.

They ran the entire 21.1km, “slow and steady”, in just over three hours, raising $2000 for CYC.

“I just felt so proud, the whole way,” Lexi says.

“If I can do it, anyone can,” Hannah says. “Having someone there to do it with makes all the difference.”

Their donation page is still open – look for Run for Youth Wellbeing on Givealittle.