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Bernie's Pink Gloves

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Given by 58 generous donors in 10 weeks

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Going back to Rotorua Marathon one last time for our running legend Bernie Portenski to raise money for Mary Potter Hopsice

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Bernie Portenski was a Wellington running legend. Her sporting achievements have been well catalogued. She ran 114 marathons. She won the Auckland Marathon, the Christchurch Marathon, and won her age group in the New York Marathon, all in the space of two weeks during 1998.

She represented New Zealand at four marathons in Perth, Seoul, Milan and Los Angeles. She represented NZ at Ironman World Championships. She broke age group records from 800m to the marathon. On her 65th birthday she ran 65km to raise money for Parkinson's disease and in 1990 she ran a marathon while four months pregnant with daughter Marie-Jo. She was determined, hard-working, generous, vivacious, encouraging to others, and had a wicked sense of humor.

Bernie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2016, three days before the Rotorua Marathon, preventing her from running it for a 34th consecutive time. A self-proclaimed party girl who took up running at the age of 30, died in Mary Potter Hospice of ovarian cancer in 2017. She was 67.

Bernie said "I was very proud of my three Rotorua Marathon victories ... that was a very special race for me. To win it three times was a bonus". In her last weeks Bernie's greatest wish was that daughter MJ would one day run a marathon and she came up with the idea that her family would run together to raise money for hospice.

In her memory, daughter MJ, Son-in-law to-be Tako, Husband Peter, Sister Michele, brother Sean, Brother-in-law Richard, Sister's-in-law Lyn and Robyne, Nieces Kylie, Lilly, Kelly and Erin, Nephews Daniel, Jo, Dylan, Sam and Rhys, and their partners Alisa, Anneke, Nigel and Ben are donning the yellow singlets, pink gloves and running the Rotorua marathon or being support crew.

We're going back for Bernie, one last time, about twenty of us to finish the job and make it 34 for this wonderful woman. In the spirit of Bernie's generosity we would like to raise funds for the hospice in keeping with her wishes and in thanks for the wonderful care they gave Bernie, her family and continue to give many people in the Wellington region.

The Portenski, Horan, Allison and Coleman families x

Bernie's Pink Gloves' involvement (page creator)

Mary Potter Hospice gave wonderful care to Bernie and her family like so many others in the region. It was Bernie's wish that we raise money for the hospice by running a marathon together.

Latest donations

  • Guest Donor

    Guest Donor on 11 May 2018


    Remembering Bernie, knowing how happy she would be at your massive effort last weekend.


  • Richard Sweetman

    Richard Sweetman on 11 May 2018


    In my early days I ran many Rotorua Marathons with Bernie. At the 30km I ran out of steam while Bernie continued on to another of her sub 3 hours. In 2015 we both qualified at Ironman NZ for the Ironman World Champs in Kona Hawaii and I have a lovely photo of myself with Bernie at this event. Bernie was an inspiration to many and one of life's characters.


  • Carl H

    Carl H on 09 May 2018


    Worthy Organisation, the Mary Potter Hospice does an unrecognised but amazing job. .... Great Effort & Great Cause. Well done.


  • Team 2SILI

    Team 2SILI on 06 May 2018


    We love you MJ, Tarkoe & Bernie!


  • Flawsy

    Flawsy on 06 May 2018


    Amazing work MJ! I’m so proud, such an amazing effort for an amazing cause. Lots of love to you and your family xxx


Who's involved?

Bernie's Pink Gloves's avatar
Created by Bernie's Pink Gloves (Group)
Mary Potter Hospice's avatar
Paying to the page Mary Potter Hospice

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This page was created on 4 Mar 2018 and closed on 13 May 2018.
$3,896 donated

Given by 58 generous donors in 10 weeks

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