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Van Niekerk to run seven marathons across the province to help cancer patients

Maike van Niekerk is getting set to hit the road to help cancer patients.
Maike van Niekerk is getting set to hit the road to help cancer patients.

Maike van Niekerk is preparing to cross the province once again in support of cancer patients.

“This one might be a little harder than the first,” van Niekerk, who is from Massey Drive, said Thursday of her plan to run seven consecutive marathons across the island portion of the province in the seven days leading up to Christmas.

Her “7 Days of Karing” run is a followup to her cycling from St. Anthony to St. John’s last August  to raise money for Katrin’s Karepackage — an organization she started in honour of her mother Katrin Kohler, who died of breast cancer in 2011, to help cancer patients with the costs associated with travelling for radiation treatment.

“I kind of just wanted to take a different spin on it. I wanted to grab people’s attention in a new way  while still keeping in mind the main message that I wanted to send,” van Niekerk said by phone from Halifax where she’s in her second year of nursing studies at Dalhousie.

“It’s just to show people the struggles that cancer patients have in order to receive their cancer treatment.”

No matter if she’s running or biking, as people drive by they are visually able to see her struggle to get from one place to another.

She’s doing the run close to Christmas because she thought it would be fitting for people to be able to give the gift of transportation.

Katrin’s Karepackage is endorsed by the Canadian Cancer Society Newfoundland Division with all money raised goes to help cover travel costs. The only stipulation is they must live 50 kilometres outside St. John’s, which is currently the only centre in the province with radiation services.

The project is one that van Niekerk is devoted to carrying on for the long-term and is hoping to expand to Nova Scotia this year with the Cancer Society there.

“This definitely wasn’t and isn’t a one-off fundraiser. It’s a sustainable initiative that I’m hoping to continue to run just because the cost of transportation is never going to decrease, and the government doesn’t seem to be putting any money towards it. So it has to be offset somehow.”

With a little under three months to the start of her seven-days of marathons van Niekerk has already started training. She trains five days a week, running an hour a two a day for three or four days and long-distance biking on the others.

“I find so far with my training, running is definitely more taxing on the body,” she said. Her plan is to slowly progress her runs to longer distances and added it takes her about an hour to run 10 kilometres, so she anticipates completing the daily 42 km runs in around four hours.

Twitter:@WS_DianeCrocker

• Last year’s bike ride raised just over $33,000

• Helping hundreds of cancer patients and the majority of the funds have been used

• This year’s goal is to raise over $35,000

• Starts in St. John’s on Dec. 18 at Daffodil Place

• Ends in Corner Brook on Dec. 24

• Will run 42 kilometres a day

“This one might be a little harder than the first,” van Niekerk, who is from Massey Drive, said Thursday of her plan to run seven consecutive marathons across the island portion of the province in the seven days leading up to Christmas.

Her “7 Days of Karing” run is a followup to her cycling from St. Anthony to St. John’s last August  to raise money for Katrin’s Karepackage — an organization she started in honour of her mother Katrin Kohler, who died of breast cancer in 2011, to help cancer patients with the costs associated with travelling for radiation treatment.

“I kind of just wanted to take a different spin on it. I wanted to grab people’s attention in a new way  while still keeping in mind the main message that I wanted to send,” van Niekerk said by phone from Halifax where she’s in her second year of nursing studies at Dalhousie.

“It’s just to show people the struggles that cancer patients have in order to receive their cancer treatment.”

No matter if she’s running or biking, as people drive by they are visually able to see her struggle to get from one place to another.

She’s doing the run close to Christmas because she thought it would be fitting for people to be able to give the gift of transportation.

Katrin’s Karepackage is endorsed by the Canadian Cancer Society Newfoundland Division with all money raised goes to help cover travel costs. The only stipulation is they must live 50 kilometres outside St. John’s, which is currently the only centre in the province with radiation services.

The project is one that van Niekerk is devoted to carrying on for the long-term and is hoping to expand to Nova Scotia this year with the Cancer Society there.

“This definitely wasn’t and isn’t a one-off fundraiser. It’s a sustainable initiative that I’m hoping to continue to run just because the cost of transportation is never going to decrease, and the government doesn’t seem to be putting any money towards it. So it has to be offset somehow.”

With a little under three months to the start of her seven-days of marathons van Niekerk has already started training. She trains five days a week, running an hour a two a day for three or four days and long-distance biking on the others.

“I find so far with my training, running is definitely more taxing on the body,” she said. Her plan is to slowly progress her runs to longer distances and added it takes her about an hour to run 10 kilometres, so she anticipates completing the daily 42 km runs in around four hours.

Twitter:@WS_DianeCrocker

• Last year’s bike ride raised just over $33,000

• Helping hundreds of cancer patients and the majority of the funds have been used

• This year’s goal is to raise over $35,000

• Starts in St. John’s on Dec. 18 at Daffodil Place

• Ends in Corner Brook on Dec. 24

• Will run 42 kilometres a day

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