Tue, Jan 4, 2022 6:09 AM

Del’s long race to give back to Rural Support

Del Bruce will take on a six-hour race to raise funds for the Rural Support Trust. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Jonty Dine

After seeing her dad suffering with mental health issues, Del Bruce wanted to help support farmers in distress.

The Appleby farmer says, when her father spent five weeks in the mental health unit on the West Coast, the Rural Support Trust (RST) stepped up to help

“So, since then I have always tried to give back.”

An avid dirt bike racer, Del is set to take on a six-hour race in order to raise finds for the RST.

She will race her KTM300XC at the Morley Honda 6 Hour at Lake Station in St Arnaud on January 15, entering the Ironwoman class.

Del says with farming being a 365-day a year job, farmers must be sure to take care of their mental wellbeing.

“It’s a lot like an enduro race, you have to pace yourself.”

As if riding for six hours straight isn’t challenging enough, Del is also making a return to the track following a diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

“It is very common but mine got missed as a baby, so I didn’t know I had it until three years ago.”

She says the condition began with a limp and eventually ended with her having to temporarily give up both farming and racing as she underwent a hip replacement in 2020.

“I am not as physically able as I used to be and probably never will be, but I’m at 90 per cent.”

Del says the race will be incredibly demanding both physically and mentally.

“The whole body gets a workout.”

She will be looking forward to a well-deserved cider after crossing the finish line.

“They will be on ice waiting for me.”

Del says the stigma surrounding mental health in the rural sector is still an issue.

“We need to remove that, reach out, ask for help, don’t be so hard on yourself.”

She says the RST has also helped a number of local farmers, such as organising working bees to repair damage after the Tapawera floods.

“They are there to get through the tough times for anyone in the rural community.”

Though a national body, all funds raised by Del will remain in the region.

“Giving back to Rural Support Trust is a personal thing for me. They were there for my family back in 2016 and they’ve also supported a few of my farming friends, so I want to help them.”

To donate to Del’s Givealittle go to https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/racing-for-rural-support-trust?fbclid=IwAR1vmEwkWV_IYivW6gqnTg4Oy5oQ7HZrN00unqtDGrZpsLOlhL0dVOGgP3k