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For the lads  

28 September 2022
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Running for 72 hours is no small feat, but a group of passionate lads are doing exactly that to make a change in the mental health of men throughout Aotearoa. Words Hannah Brown

In 2020, New Zealand suicide statistics showed that 72% of suicides are committed by men, which is now suspected to have risen to 77%. 

Lads Without Labels is a student run University of Canterbury club and registered charity that aims to support men in the community and raise awareness about the mental health crisis throughout New Zealand impacting men. 

And as part of Lads Without Labels efforts to support men’s mental health, they came up with the idea of Run-72. 

Community events lead Tom Vincent says that the motivation behind the 72-hour event is to raise awareness to the statistics that men made up 72% of the suicide statistics in New Zealand in 2020. 

“Our idea was that we would run for 72 hours to symbolise this, but also to raise awareness of this as an issue, and raise money which can used to help decrease the number of men in New Zealand taking their lives each year” he says. 

Tom said Run-72 made its debut in 2021, and the concept was simple. At least one person had to be running the 2km loop around the University campus for all hours of the day, for 72 hours straight.  

He says that people can run or walk as many or as few laps as they want, and that there will be a big group of supporters at the starting and finish line throughout the event. 

“We ended up running over 6500 laps last year which was unbelievable and we had multiple people come in and run over 50 kilometres over the 72 hours” he says. 

Last year the charity raised over $15,000, and this year they are aiming to top that. 

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They are also planning on running more laps this year. Vice president Aki Shimahara says with the help of the community she believes they could achieve their goal of 10,000 laps this year.  

“Run-72 is a community-based event, anyone in Ōtautahi Christchurch is more than welcome to come to the University of Canterbury campus and run laps” she says. 

All donations will go towards promoting men’s mental health including a new initiative for 2023, which has been designed to aid students with professional counselling.  

Run-72 will go ahead during Mental Health Awareness Week at the University of Canterbury on September 27, starting at 4pm, and wrapping up on the 30th at 4pm. 

The main sponsors behind Run-72 this year are Ārepa and Anthony Harper Law firm. 

Brand strategist Leo Noordanus says that the event is open to everyone, and does not require people to be runners to take part. 

“Anyone can come along and run, bike, or walk the track to help us reach as many laps as possible in the 72 hours, every lap will make a difference for helping men in Aotearoa” he says.  

For more information on how to get involved with Run-72, click here.

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