Young man stands on rural dirt road holding a street sign that says runners.
Tom ran 210km from Waikaia to WānakaImage by: Tom Anderson
Young man stands on rural dirt road holding a street sign that says runners.
12 November 2023

Tom Anderson – The 210km Mo Bro

4 minutes read time

Last year Tom Anderson ran 210km to raise funds and awareness for Movember NZ. His massive effort led to him becoming our largest ever individual fundraiser in New Zealand. We caught up with Tom to chat about the challenge:

Hey Tom, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hey, I’m Tom Anderson, a 26-year-old bloke born and raised in rural Southland, NZ. Farming is my career and I have always pursued many outdoor sports.

What was your Movember challenge last year?

Last year I set myself a pretty ambitious challenge to run 210km on the trot from my local town of Waikaia, all the way to Wānaka, on the 2nd of December. Why you ask? I wanted to put it out to the public that there’s always a way through the inevitable challenge far beyond your capabilities, and that goes for all levels of physical and mental struggles.

Amazing! How did you train for it?

Training for the run was pretty loose. I only really kicked into gear six weeks out. I found the best way to prepare was to write out a detailed breakdown of the run which gave me the confidence that I could do it. I had no idea on nutrition or how to look after the body, but multiple phone calls to get info and support made a massive difference.

Can you tell us a bit about the run and any moments that really stand out?

It was pretty darn tough. Running uphill for hours, sideways rain, cold southerly winds, life can’t get much better than that right? One moment that will last forever – it was Saturday at 9.40am and I was 160km into the run from Waikaia, with 30 minutes of sleep under my belt. I was sitting on an air mattress at the base of the Crown Range. My ankles were blown up, I couldn’t feel my legs, and the temperature was hot. There was still 50km to go and I was at rock bottom. I picked up the phone and called one of my close mates, Ben O'Carroll, and I just burst into tears while talking to him. All it took was for Ben to say, “Everyone believes you can get there”. That call saved me, and from there I picked myself up and found something inside me to get me through.

" At the finish line my parents, mates, and complete strangers saw me in tears. I’m proud that I didn’t hide from the fact that I was a broken man. "

The call with Ben was the first time I’ve cried on the blower, but look... if that call can be made, it can change EVERYTHING. No one needs to struggle alone. That’s why reaching out and talking is so important.

It’s inspiring to hear about the call with Ben, thank you for sharing that, and it’s incredible how you were able to get through it. So, it’s been almost a year since the run - do you still like to get out running?

Running still plays a key role in my everyday life, even if it is only a 3km trot after work. It is a switch off button from the everyday hustle and a good way to blow the cobwebs out of the system. Running massively helps with my mental health, I can’t recommend it enough. Even if you’re just starting out, give it a few weeks, and you’ll see the difference it can make.

After that epic challenge, you’re our highest ever individual fundraiser in NZ! You raised $56,862 which is a massive effort. Do you have any tips for our community who are fundraising this year?

Promoting yourself and what you’re doing was the biggest challenge for me. I never thought that I was going to raise over $55,000 for the cause, especially as I’m no social butterfly. I would say I’m a bit of an introvert. However, a few billboards, a talk on the radio, and social media posts well and truly snowballed my fundraising efforts. The support I then received from my community was incredible.

Any other messages you would like to share with the Mo community?

For everyone that is partaking in Movember this year, I take my hat off to you, and so will everyone else. I learnt that you must make yourself accountable for whatever challenge you may be taking on. Tell a mate, family members, or even the public, and then go full power. The best thing you can do, when you’re outside that comfort zone, is to pick up the phone and start talking to a mate. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how far you can actually go!