Justin Hill has embarked on a running ultra from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise awareness for Osteoarthritis and fundraise for us as he goes. 

On Friday, 11 November, Justin completed the North Island leg, 1,118.71 km, finishing in Wellington and popped into our Arthritis New Zealand head office for a catch-up with the team.

Justin Cape Reinga to Bluff for arthritis

Follow Justin Hill’s journey on Instagram @cape2bluff4arthritis

Justin Hill with the team at Arthritis NZ

Justin Hill with the team at Arthritis NZ – back row L-R: Paula Te Kahika, Adrienne Walker-Regan, Gurnoor Kaur, and front L-R: Tory Garnham and Jill Laird from our Arthritis Assist team.

Justin and Marcel

Justin and his support person Marcel.

Osteoarthritis has been in Justin’s family for generations. His beloved grandmother was riddled with Osteoarthritis, and Justin’s memory of her is that she had great physical strength but was crippled by the Osteoarthritis pain.

Over the last couple of years, Justin was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in his hips and, more recently, in his hands. Memories of his grandmother resurfaced, which motivated him to call Arthritis NZ to find out what he could do to live well with Osteoarthritis.

One of the critical changes he had to make was to lose some weight and get stronger, so Justin started exercising. Taking part in a regular 5 km park run, Justin began to lose weight and strengthen the muscles around his joints, which has helped manage his Osteoarthritis pain.

Justin was so grateful for the support from Arthritis NZ that he wanted to share and advocate for others who may be suffering from Osteoarthritis. He began his fundraising awareness campaign by running the length of Aotearoa New Zealand to promote the work that Arthritis NZ does.

“The journey down the North Island has been a mixture of emotions. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what is truly important to me, my life, my health and my family,” he said.

When asked how he keeps himself motivated when the going gets tough on the run, and the weather is harsh, he said “I felt like an onlooker in the battle between my body and brain. Who would win? When struggling on the road, I go to my happy place, think of my family, and feel grateful for such a wonderful life. At one point just outside of Hamilton, it was tough I had to dig dip, people were not donating, it was raining, I felt a huge pressure, and I just wanted to quit; what was the point? Then I started finding all this road litter, spoons, metal, and glass. I picked it up and started thinking of a project I could do with my findings. I decided I will make jewellery from the items collected along my journey down to Wellington and then auction it off. Once I was home, I did just that, and I made a couple of hundred dollars which I donated to Arthritis NZ.”

Originally from South Africa, Justin and his family moved to Auckland about 20 years ago and moved up to Whanagarei after the children finished school. Justin works part-time at Bunnings and spends the other half of his time on his passion for Jewellery making.

ring made from road stuff found
jewellery made from roadside stuff

Justin is self-funding this mission, he has a support person who drives his motor home to set locations, but due to work commitments from his support crew, he can only complete a leg every couple of months.

Justin is planning to start the South Island in March 2023 and is looking for volunteers to help drive his motor home. Justin is also looking for sponsorship for fuel and ferry costs; if you would like to support him, please get in touch with him via his Instagram page @cape2bluff4arthritis

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