At 7pm Friday, at an undisclosed overseas naval base somewhere in the world, Jono Steele began walking for his mate killed during the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Steele had played alongside Atta Elayyan in New Zealand’s national futsal team and was understandably shocked to learn of his death, along with 49 others, during the March 15 shootings.
While the futsal community mourned, Steele was on duty with the NZ Navy on the other side of the world and felt powerless to help them.
Instead, he’s now walking 24 hours straight around the 1.3km military camp where he’s based, stopping only for toilet breaks, raising money for his fallen friend’s family.
“This is to help build on what the other futsal boys have done, which has been a huge effort and fundraised a bunch of money for his family.” Steele said on his opening Facebook Live video.
“The other reason why I’m doing this is to show those boys how proud of them I am and do my part for the team.”
Walking with a New Zealand flag flying behind him, Steele has been joined by more than a dozen military personnel from other nationalities and religions throughout the night.
Walking for 24 hours presented its share of challenges.
“Hit the wall a little bit early on… far out, hit the wall big time.
“Maybe just over the 11, maybe 10-hour mark, I was up against a lot of struggle… I was just up against a lot of things.”
With a 7pm Saturday finish looming, he later posted regular hourly videos saying he was feeling “more chipper”.
Steele is raising money for Elayyan’s wife Farah and baby daughter Aya on the Givealittle page created by friends when the news first broke.