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Star Wars sisters run in memory of dad

Karyn Bush and her sisters will be donning Star Wars costumes at the Auckland Marathon this year, in loving memory of their dad. 

If you’re pounding the pavement at this year’s Auckland Marathon and spot Jabba the Hutt running beside you, that’ll be Karyn Bush.

She and her two older sisters will be running the 12k Traverse in Star Wars costumes while raising money for the Heart Foundation.

It may sound lighthearted, but there is a serious side to their galactic gallop.

“The first non-animated movie we ever saw was Star Wars. Dad had taken a special day off work to take us there and we found it terrifying – especially the Sand People. Afterwards he was thrilled to have seen it and talked about it for weeks.”

Sadly, Karyn and her sisters lost their dad to an inoperable heart condition not long afterwards.

He was diagnosed at the age of 39 and died just two years later, leaving behind a wife and three daughters, aged 10, 8 and 5 at the time.

“Dad had tried a lot of things to increase his lifespan; he gave up smoking, took up jogging, and ate a healthy diet. And perhaps it did increase his lifespan, as he may not have had those last two years with us if he hadn’t made the changes – we can’t know for sure.” 

Karyn, Dale and Leigh, have felt the loss of their father in different ways over the years.

“There was no dad at our weddings. No male role model or guidance as we were growing up. Our home felt somehow always empty afterwards. There’s a missing piece you can’t get back,” she explains.

The sisters are now training for the 12km event on November 1, and will be running as Heart Racers to support the Heart Foundation’s vital work. Their team is called 'Lloyd’s Legacy’, named in honour of their dad. 

“We would like the Heart Foundation to continue their research so that cures for different heart issues are available, so other families don’t have to suffer loss as our family did many decades ago.”

Karyn, 43, says her Jabba the Hut costume isn’t as inpractical as it sounds. It’s made of windcheater material which should keep out any rain. It’s also inflatable and has a built-in fan that will hopefully keep her cool.

Dale is running as a Storm Trooper, her husband Simon is running as Darth Vader, and older sister Leigh is running as the Death Star.

The sisters also have three friends joining in to support the cause: Sue is running as a Tauntaun, Julia as C-3Po and Stephanie as Princess Leia. 

Bets are on among the group to see who’s going to overheat most quickly on the day.

“It will be a toss up between me, who will be encapsulated from head to toe in a Jabba the Hutt tent, and Leigh, who will be surrounded by a foam Death Star,” Karyn says.   

“Dale and Simon are insisting on wearing helmets and that’s got to be pretty hot too. We guess it will come down to the weather on the day.”