Half-marathon hero for baby Cody

Last year, when Terry Morris (49) ditched his 36-year-smoking-habit, he soon realised he wasn’t very fit.

Terry and baby Cody

“I was walking my dog a couple of weeks after I gave up smoking, and I thought I would just go for a run down the beach. I got about a kilometre down and had a big vomit,” recalls the Waikanae resident.

“I thought, ‘Bugger this, this is ridiculous, I am going to do a half marathon’. So I went home and signed up for the Gazley Wellington Half Marathon as a Heart Racer, and I’m doing the same again this year.”

When training got tough, Terry dug deep into his personal motivation for running and fundraising for the Heart Foundation.

Congenital heart condition

His daughter and son-in-law, Becci and Daniel Graves, had just been told their unborn son Cody, had a rare congenital heart condition that means the right side of his heart is underdeveloped. Now 10-months-old, Cody has just undergone open-heart surgery at Starship.

Terry’s mother, Pamela Morris, also has mitral stenosis which affects blood flow in the heart, and his uncle died from a heart attack 10 years after a triple bypass operation.

“I wrote their names on me in vivid marker, when I was finding it tough or wanted to quit then I just looked down and thought, ‘I am doing it for these guys,’ and carried on running.”

Just keep running

He says he adopted the infamous Arthur Lydiard ‘just keep running’ training programme.

“I just ran every day. I started at 2 km every day for a week, then the next week I did 3 km every day, and the following week 4km every day. Once I got to 5 km I joined the ‘parkrun’ New Zealand organisation.

His example has already lured his brother in law into running, despite initially claiming he would “never” join Terry. He hopes his story might also encourage other Kiwi guys like him to give it a go.

The pair completed the half marathon together then discovered mountain running, but the rough terrain is not good for Terry’s knees. He has recently returned to running after a three-month injury break.

Taking on triathlon

He used the break to focus on triathlon, his new sporting endeavour. The next goal, after the half marathon, is an Ironmāori Quarter Ironman event which includes a 1km swim, a 45km cycle, and 10km run.

He says he is planning to drop back to 5km or 10km runs after that, but laughs as he admits he might have been bitten by the triathlon ‘bug’.

“Over the summer I started swimming again. It is like when I started running, at first I could only do one length of the pool, and now I can do 60 lengths of the pool. I am up to 2km now.”

Join our Heart Racer team

Heart disease is responsible for the deaths of more than 6000 of our loved ones every year in New Zealand. That’s more than one person every 90 minutes.

The Heart Foundation is the charity that helps stop Kiwis dying prematurely of heart disease and provides care and support to those currently living with the disease.

If you would like to support the Heart Foundation by becoming a Heart Racer at the next Wellington Marathon, Auckland Marathon or the Tour of New Zealand cycling event please email events@heartfoundation.org.nz.

Get involved with the Heart Foundation