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Bernie’s Pink Gloves

Going back to Rotorua Marathon one last time for our running legend Bernie Portenski to raise money for Mary Potter Hopsice

 

Support Bernie's family to raise money for Mary Potter Hospice.

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Bernie Portenski was a Wellington running legend. Her sporting achievements have been well catalogued. She ran 114 marathons. She won the Auckland Marathon, the Christchurch Marathon, and won her age group in the New York Marathon, all in the space of two weeks during 1998.

She represented New Zealand at four marathons in Perth, Seoul, Milan and Los Angeles. She represented NZ at Ironman World Championships. She broke age group records from 800m to the marathon. On her 65th birthday she ran 65km to raise money for Parkinson's disease and in 1990 she ran a marathon while four months pregnant with daughter Marie-Jo. She was determined, hard-working, generous, vivacious, encouraging to others, and had a wicked sense of humour.

Bernie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2016, three days before the Rotorua Marathon, preventing her from running it for a 34th consecutive time. A self-proclaimed party girl who took up running at the age of 30, died in Mary Potter Hospice of ovarian cancer in 2017. She was 67.

Bernie said "I was very proud of my three Rotorua Marathon victories ... that was a very special race for me. To win it three times was a bonus". In her last weeks, Bernie's greatest wish was that daughter MJ would one day run a marathon and she came up with the idea that her family would run together to raise money for the hospice.

In her memory, daughter MJ, son-in-law to-be Tako, husband Peter, sister Michele, brother Sean, bBrother-in-law Richard, sister's-in-law Lyn and Robyne, Nieces Kylie, Lilly, Kelly and Erin, Nephews Daniel, Jo, Dylan, Sam and Rhys, and their partners Alisa, Anneke, Nigel and Ben are donning the yellow singlets, pink gloves and running the Rotorua marathon or being support crew.

They're going back for Bernie, one last time, about twenty of them to finish the job and make it 34 for this wonderful woman. In the spirit of Bernie's generosity they would like to raise funds for the hospice in keeping with her wishes and in thanks for the wonderful care it gave Bernie, her family and continues to give many people in the Wellington region.

Make a donation to support them here.

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Author: Stephen Day
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