Shane Ross, 56, of Upper Hutt, has been running a half-marathon each week since October last year, and will be completing his final run this Saturday (12 March) from 7.30am in Remutaka Forest Park.

Shane is running to raise funds and awareness for the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ). "I’ve been an asthmatic all my life, and my early memories are several annual trips to the children’s ward at Wellington Hospital," says Shane.

We now know that with the right asthma management in place, it’s safe and beneficial for children with asthma to exercise and play sports. But when Shane was a child, this wasn’t the case. "I grew up in an era when kids with asthma stayed inside or did activities that didn’t require a lot of exertion," he says. "As an example - in third form of college it was easier to say to mum that I had detention for two evenings a week than say I had rugby practice. It was only after my parents came to my first game that they saw I could do it and allowed me to play."

Shane has not let his asthma limit his sporting activities, and has completed the Coast to Coast multisport race twice, run ultra-marathons, and competed in mountain biking and kayaking events. For six years, he competed as part of a team in the New Zealand multi-day Adventure Racing series.

"I’ve never been a great athlete," says Shane. "I have been a capable one, and occasionally in terms of results a surprising one. I’m mid pack for most major events. If I had followed the norms of my childhood for handling asthma (lots of medicines and minimal exertion) I would never have had the fun and experiences that I have had.

Shane Ross during one of his 21 half marathonsShane Ross during one of his 21 half marathons

"I believe asthma shouldn’t be a limiter to life. The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation has been a key part of my personal journey - helping to change attitudes about people with asthma, how to live with asthma, and treating asthma better. So, my being an asthmatic and running 21 lots of 21 km over 21 weeks is my way of showing that asthmatics can do this - and raising funds to continue the good work the Foundation is doing."

It’s not the first time Shane has embarked on a massive challenge for ARFNZ - to celebrate his 56th birthday he completed 56 km kayaking, 56 km mountain biking and 56 km running and trekking. People sponsored him for every hour under 56 that he did it in, and he completed it in 29.5 hours (24.5 hours moving time), raising $2,000 for the Foundation. Shane plans a ‘57’ version this May!

To donate to Shane’s campaign, visit

Shane will start his run of the Mukamuka Valley Course in the Remutaka Forest Park at 7.30am on Saturday 12 March. Details of the route here. Shane is available for interview.

Media Coverage

12/03 - Newshub

12/03 -Newstalk ZB


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