The start of the race was a quiet but sodden affair.
Torrential rain belted down as the two golfers played their first drives off into the gloom in front of them.
But this was a race with no prizes for coming first — instead, it was a mind over matter race as Lisa Smith, of Clinton, set off to play 72 holes of golf in less than 24 hours.
Teeing off just after 6am last Thursday, drenched by pouring rain , Smith and fellow golf marathoner Warren Erickson faced a long day on the fairways.
Battered by strong winds and the occasional downpours, the pair soldiered on and by their lunch break six hours later had knocked off the first 39 of their 72 holes on the nine›hole Clinton Golf Club course.
‘‘It’s eight times around the Clinton course, so we walked and played, walked and played, all while the rain came down.’’
Smith and Erickson were taking part in a nationwide cancer treatment fundraiser called The Longest Day, in which participants aim to play 72 holes of golf in 24 hours on a course of their choosing, garnering support and donations along the way.
All money raised would go to the Cancer Society.
Smith was on a mission as she had lost three members of her family to breast cancer, and so had Erickson.
‘‘He lost his dad and I lost my Nana at 66, my aunty at 40 and my own mother at 67,’’ Smith said.
By only taking short breaks and spurred on by the support from many friends and family (there were 13 helpers walking and playing with them as they completed the final holes) the tired pair sunk their last putts in the pouring rain at 5.30pm.
For Smith, it was 396 strokes before her handicap (an index of 22) was factored in.
‘‘Surprisingly, I played some of my best golf during those 11 hours we were out there,’’ she said.
‘‘It was very wet at times and playing with the water on the greens was the trickiest part of it all.
‘‘But we never really got cold or soaked, in fact you could say it was good weather to play golf in because it wasn’t scorching hot.’’
She said she had no blisters on her hands or feet and was keen enough to play another 18 holes two days later at a club day.
‘‘I had a target of raising $3000 and currently I’ve raised more than $4000 for the appeal, which will stay open until the end of the month.’’ › To support Smith in her efforts, head to www.longestday.org.nz.