Sport | Marathon

A marathon a day keeps the doctor away

Ultramarathon athlete Arana Taumata (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) is adding to his already impressive running resumé by embarking on a journey to run 12 marathons in 12 days.

An official marathon is 42.2km and Taumata is currently on his fourth day of running this endurance-testing distance.

“The body is holding up well, and I’ve just come off a recent ankle injury as well,” he says the Sydney-based athlete says he’s been running long distances competitively for five years and is using this challenge to prepare for the upcoming footy season, while also raising money for a local charity.

“It’s really good to raise awareness, and I’ve always loved working with kids, so we have a family we’re donating into once it’s all done, so that’s pretty exciting to help some kids and some charities.”

Ultra marathon running involves races longer than the traditional marathon distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.2 miles), often spanning 50 kilometres (31 miles) or more, sometimes even up to hundreds of miles. In recent years, ultra marathon running has surged in popularity, attracting a diverse range of participants seeking greater challenges, adventure, and connection with nature.

“I just knocked over a 200km run which took me 26 hours 31 minutes, and I’ve done the half marathon every four hours for 24 hours,” Taumata says.

The 34-year-old had a promising but ultimately short-lived NRL career, marked by flashes of brilliance on the field but overshadowed by off-field controversies, which prevented him from fulfilling his potential in the league.

“I probably wish I found running a bit earlier, but we are where we are at the moment. I just feel like running gives a lot towards my life and to live a better life.”