Jennine's story embodies why the Motatapu 2021 team are involved in this iconic race and felt so passionately that the event legacy needed to live on. We hope Jennine inspires you and your family to keep moving, as it has inspired us. Let's all keep Moving for Tony. We didn't want to change a word of Jennine's story, so this is it for you to enjoy.
Team: Keep Moving for Tony
Back in 2019, I got the news that my friend Tony had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND). A devasting diagnosis that would result in his body failing on him, but gratefully not his sense of humour.
Shortly after this I ended up with post-concussion syndrome whilst out discovering my love of all things MTB. The time I had recovering from this turned out to be a gift as I got to spend more time with Tony, talking about nothing and everything. But no matter how slow my recovery felt, it was heart-breaking to see Tony lose a little more every visit.
When I could get more active again, I talked to Tony about how I wanted my new MTB lifestyle to stick, that I had tried so many times to have a fit and active life, but never stuck to it. In that moment, I realised how lucky I was to have a body that worked. I promised him that for as long as I had a functioning body, I would keep moving.
So, I started moving again. I would chat with Tony about all my adventures. He was always so supportive, and he kept me going. Then March this year I did my greatest accomplishment to date, I finished the Sawpit at Motatapu! Having been a spectator the year before I wanted to participate so badly. I came dead last and cried solidly for the last km. Swept up in a massive hug by hubby Chris at the end, I was so proud and so was Tony when I told him all about it.
I talked with Chris the next day and asked him if he thought I could do the MTB the next year. He said I totally could, and he would help me get there. We shook on it and agreed to enter as a team in 2021.
Tony lost his fight in June. But I will keep moving. With that promise and Chris by my side, we have been training hard. It’s going to be a tough day, but I believe I can do it, with Tony, Chris, friends and family backing me every step of the way.
We cannot wait to see Jennine and Chris out there on course this March and thank them and Tony's wife Sarah and son Sam for sharing the story of Tony and the very best for the future.
Keep Moving for Tony