This was an article I wrote in 2017 for the Dairy Workers Union Magazine, about my transition from the Dairy Industry to the Fitness Industry and The Super 12 Ultramarathon Challenge. I created the Challenge to pay tribute to my mother who was my biggest supporter throughout my fitness journey. A journey I had started with her and my father. Sadly, she never saw the start of The Challenge or the article being published. This is why I keep going and why I’m an endurance athlete and running coach.

Dairy Worker Magazine August 2017

After 24 years employed by Fonterra how does a meat, dairy, bread consuming, coffee addicted, soda drinking smoker become a vegan gluten free endurance athlete? Well the answer could be one of those NUTTY moments in life. This lifestyle Choice was not overnight, that’s for sure. Ask most people who have made a life change and they’ll speak of a defining Moment in their lives.

The Moment

My Moment started when my father, Puna Kumeroa, also a life-long dairy worker and union delegate, was diagnosed with cancer in October 2013. To get that news can be life shattering for anyone, especially the whanau. However, for me I was working for Fonterra Australia at the time. To be told this news, I began to reassess my own situation identifying I was very unhealthy, obese and still smoking.  Four months later, the sun set on this wonderful and great man. The same week he passed I made the commitment to change my life.

The Change

I have transformed my life from this once obese, unhealthy smoker to an Endurance Athlete. I no longer work for Fonterra and converted my skills to being a self-employed Personal Trainer and coach for Running Hot Coaching, alongside Endurance Athletes Lisa Tamati and Neil Wagstaff.

I once weighed 110kg, high blood pressure and cholesterol which required medication to stabilised them and sleep apnoea. Today I no longer require medication and weigh 70kgs. My first milestone that I achieved was the Melbourne Marathon 2014, only nine months after Pop’s died. This was dedicated to him and I was supported by my Ma and Grandmother. A shock to the system, but I was finally on this road to health and fitness. But the way I did it I wouldn’t recommend.

The Super 12 Ultramarathon Challenge

Since the Melbourne Marathon I have set myself some bigger and crazier goals that challenge you mentally and physically. I have completed the 2016 Asia–Pacific Ironman in Cairns Australia, the 2016 Taupo 100km Ultramarathon and the 2017 Northburn 100 Miler. Between all my major events I competed in a lot of smaller races for training.

I am now preparing myself for a much bigger and nuttier challenge called the Super 12 Ultramarathon Challenge. 12 Ultras in 12 months, commencing with the Inaugural Alps 2 Ocean Multistage in February 2018, finishing with the Taupo Great Lake Solo in February 2019. This challenge is driven by tragedy in my family.    

Ma’s Own Challenge

Sadly, my mother has also been affected by Cancer not once, but twice. My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy with radio and chemo therapy. Cancer returned in 2015 to her colon and in July this year the Cancer moved to her brain and lungs. She is my biggest supporter who has travelled the country and world to watch me compete. She too is employed by Fonterra, union delegate and former Women’s Committee Rep of which she was highly active in.

The Choices We Make

This challenge has come from a personal commitment to raise the awareness for better health and wellbeing by making healthier choices. By me making healthier choices and maintaining the healthy lifestyle I’m at a healthy weight, no longer take medication for dis–eases and smoke-free.

It’s never too late to make a change in life, to be a better version of yourself whether, physically, academically, socially or emotionally. It does take hard work and there is never a shortcut, but The Choice will be change your life forever.

The Super 12 Ultramarathon Challenge

February 2018(1) Alps2Ocean 301 km
March 2018(2) Northburn Station 100 miler
May 2018(3) Old Forest Hanmer 100 miler
August 2018(4) Great Naseby Water-race 200 km
September 2018(5) Trail Trilogy 100 km
October 2018(6) Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour Track Race (target 100 km)(7) Taupo Ultra 100 km
November 2018(8) Taranaki Steelformers Around the Mountain 100 miler
January 2019(9) The James High Country 100(10) Ultra Easy 100 km Sky Run
February 2019(11) Tarawera Ultramarathon 100 miler(12) Taupo Great Lake Solo 155 km