Doctor, surfer, fundraiser, volunteer, men’s health advocate and all round good guy Inia takes the time to explain how he got into running, and shares his thoughts from inside the ED about what he sees are the biggest issues in men’s health today.

We met up with Inia (41) recently, at a café near Auckland Hospital, where he works as an emergency doctor in the ED department.  He had recently contacted us about raising awareness for men’s health through his participation in a 250km run through the Sahara Desert in May this year.

Inia started running in his mid thirties, he explains,  as a way to drop a few kilos and to try to alleviate some back pain he had –  the result of an accident a few years prior. Not a natural born runner, a friend of his invited him to come along to a local running club, and he got hooked. Starting out with short distances, now, seven years later he trains for and completes ultra marathons.

In this latest feat, the Sahara desert run, Inia covered 250km over seven days, carrying all his own food, bedding and clothing. All up about 10kgs worth.

You might say though, he’s a seasoned professional. Inia completed his first desert run to mark his 40th birthday in 2014, and has completed all four in the organised 4deserts run series. This year though, was his first run for the Men’s Health Trust.

“I would rather put the effort in trying to make a change out here rather than having to treat people when they turn up in the emergency department with preventable health conditions.”
“The biggest men’s health issue we are seeing” he says “is more and more young men in their early twenties coming in having had heart attacks, or with diabetes as a result of a being overweight and living unhealthy lifestyles.”

By running in the Sahara desert race, Inia raised awareness and money for the Men’s Health Trust towards campaigns, education and programmes to improve the health of men in New Zealand.

When he is not at work, Inia also volunteers for the Westpac rescue helicopter, and for the NZ Army Territorials, training and assisting combat medics.