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An Iron-woman’s Tribute To A Special Friend

Shelley Menalda has decided to take on the toughest challenge of her life this month by participating in the 2011 Ironman.

Shelley MenaldaThat means swimming for 3.8km, riding a bike for 180kms, and then running a marathon (42km). And it all happens on the same day!

Naturally one would ask, what would possess someone to take on such a challenge. Shelley is taking on the Ironman in memory of her best friend Julia Selwyn, to raise $10,000 for the North Shore Hospice. Julia was just 55 years old when she died two years ago. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years previously.

“To say I miss Jules would be an understatement. She was a very strong person who would often say to me that she wasn’t worried about dying, she was just so sad for the people she was leaving behind” says Shelley. “She never complained about her lot. Her philosophy was ‘business as usual’. She absolutely loved having her friends and family around her and this continued until the day she died.”

Shelley remembers how Julia’s girlfriends would visit North Shore Hospice with coffee and cake and sit with her, gossiping for hours. She was a strong person to the bitter end.
“It is with strength drawn from her that I take up this challenge; she is my inspiration.”

“North Shore Hospice looked after Jules so well towards the end of her journey. They were such an amazing support team for Jules, her family
and friends”.

For the 48-year-old mother of two, deciding to do the Ironman was the easy part. Once reality set in, the training for it has been a full time obsession for the past nine months.
“Other than a half-marathon many, many years ago I was pretty much a non-athlete. The first months of my training were really hard - running by myself in the rain and cold was miserable. I often had to give myself little pep talks and would remind myself often that at least I was able to get out and run, as for many exercise is not an option. I often think of Jules when I am training. She keeps me going and I know she would be so proud of my efforts.”

“North Shore Hospice looked after Jules so well during the final months of her life so I thought that I would like to help them by using my Ironman journey to raise funds for them.”
Training for the Ironman takes up all of Shelley’s spare time. When she is not working, she is out training to make sure that she is in the best possible condition when she hits the start line.
One of Shelley’s most vivid memories of her training was during the K2 (the toughest one day cycling event in the southern hemisphere - 200kms).

“The most amazing thing happened.  About 3/4 of the way into the race a yellow balloon floated in front of me and my eyes were led to two balloons tied in a tree. One had the word “JULES” written on it
- I cried.”
Ironman is definitely a tough challenge – if you don’t complete it within 17 hours (yes, that is 17 hours) then no medal.
“By the end of the Ironman, I want to achieve two things 1) a medal and 2) raise $10,000 for North Shore Hospice.”

To support Shelley’s amazing efforts or to follow her training progress check out:

Devonport Community Harvest Fair - Sunday March 13th

Although  this event is based in Devonport,  people are invited from all
of Auckland and show off their most unusual vegetable, biggest pumpkin, best sunflower (seed head or flower head), scariest scarecrow and tastiest baking!

This is the second year the Devonport Community House and Devonport Community Gardens have joined together to run this village fair event and they hope to build on the success of the first. In addition to running the competitions, they will also have fresh produce stalls and delicious food, traditional games and activities, and an Old MacDonald’s petting farm (which is enjoyed by children of all ages).

Last year’s winning pumpkin was grown by Ruby Judson and weighed in at 30.7kg. The biggest sunflower seedhead last year was grown by Hohepa Gardens and measured a whopping 35cm in diameter. There are some beautiful sunflowers out and about now, so cut of the seed head and keep it in a dark, dry area, preferably in a paper bag and enter it into our competition.

The organisers have changed the title of this year’s scarecrow to Scariest Scarecrow, but it still needs to be made out of recycled materials! There is also a People’s Choice award for this popular competition.
There are two new competitions this year – the oddest/funniest/largest vegetable of the show,  and an event that was repeatedly requested last year – a bake off! So please enter your best cake or tastiest fruit pie.
All winners will receive rosettes and ribbons. There is a trophy for the Giant Pumpkin Competition.
This year there is also a poster design competition. The wonderfully colourful scarecrow poster for the event was designed by very talented 10 year old Marija Snjegota.
Devonport Community Harvest Fair, Sunday 13 March, 2pm-7pm, 32 Clarence Street, Devonport.
For more information on the event and to get a copy of the competition rules, please phone: 445-3068 or 021 120 7086 or email

by Channel Editorial