Inspiring Human: Hazel Harrison

Hazel is an inspiring trail runner, using the solitude and peacefulness of running as her form of therapy. 

Born in Scotland Hazel came to New Zealand 7 years ago footloose and fancy-free, looking forward to exploring and meeting new people. That worked out perfectly for her as she met her partner Fran after just 6 weeks! Together they own a doggy daycare in Wellington, which gives Hazel the freedom to get out on the trails and run. 

Always involved in sports it wasn’t until Hazel joined the British Army in 1983 and trained as a nurse that she really got into her fitness. She represented the British Army at various sports and kept herself fit for the 6 monthly running fitness tests. 

When she left the army in 1995, she found it difficult to settle at first and there have been times over the years when exercise controlled her and she was heavily and unhealthily addicted to it. It was a battle and like any unhealthy relationship, the only thing she could really do to change things was to break up and reassess her goals. She eventually did this in 2008 and didn’t run or do any exercise for about 3 years. When she eventually restarted, she was cautious and more mindful of the control she gave it. 

This new relationship that she now has with running has been going great for about 4 years now. She has found the balance required to be happy and has the full support of her amazing partner Fran.

Based in Wellington which we all know is not known for its awesome weather, Hazel spends her weeks running on the trails in pursuit of ticking off an event she first heard about 34 years ago. 2 years of planning and patience has seen Hazel set her sights on the Marathon Des Sables in April 2020. This epic event is 7 day self-sufficient multi stage 250km race in the Sahara Desert. Would you believe she never liked to run cross country in the UK due to the cold and wet running conditions! 

As a Wellington trail runner, she has definitely got used to adverse conditions, although it is going to be a bit warmer in the desert! 

Her dream was nearly shattered in 2019 when she was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. Surgery and a stint off running meant Hazel spent time recovering and not training. But true to her fighting spirit the scare has seen Hazel look at life through a different lens and when she hits the desert in April, she will be running for the charity Melanoma NZ. We think Hazel is one inspirational human and love her favourite saying

‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’

We can't wait to follow along the rest of your training Hazel and all the best for this incredible challenge. 

You can connect with Hazel via Facebook on her page Run Hazel Run

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