) Eighty athletes will hit the track at the Australian Institute of Sport this weekend for the inaugural Canberra 48hr Race, run by Kilted to Kick Cancer, to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer.
By Kate Dzienis
Coming up with new and innovative ways to raise money for a cause is an element of fundraising that requires creativity and a vision.
Today (March 18), ingenuity will step up a notch when 80 runners from seven countries – Sweden, Mongolia, China, Nigeria, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – hit the race track at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra (ACT) for either 48, 24, 12 or six hours from 12pm.
The inaugural Canberra 48hr Race aims to raise awareness and critical funding for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), and will be hosted by not-for-profit Kilted to Kick Cancer (KTKC), a group started by health professionals Billy Pearce and Rhian Blackwell that encourages men to open up and ask questions about their own health – often a challenging task; done by helping answer the question, ‘what’s under a Scot’s kilt?’
Race director Pearce (and secretary of the Australian Ultra Runners Association) has more than 30 years experience as a registered nurse, and told Runglobal that as a male nurse back in the 1980s, he was exposed to a lot of ‘man nursing’, as was called back in those days, so was extremely aware of the impacts of prostate cancer.
“I had a lot of early exposure to male urology and I’d always been aware of prostate problems as well as myths and misinformation that went along with it,” he said.
“Throughout my career, I found myself correcting those myths and explaining to people what services were available out there to help, so KTKC was created to get the conversation started.
“Rhian and I (with Scottish backgrounds) like to wear our kilts to any and all occasions, and we thought that was a great way to get people talking about the effects of prostate cancer and getting the community aware.
“The Canberra 48hr Race is something completely different for a great cause – 48 hours may seem outrageous, but that’s why it is such a great challenge and the perfect way to get men talking about a health issue they often ignore.”
Brisbane (Qld) ultra runner Matt Eckford, 35, flew down to Canberra on Wednesday specifically for the event, and said it was the calibre of entrants and the cause that attracted him to participate.
“The quality of the event is just amazing, particular the sorts of runners that will be on the track, and having met Billy at several races before, I know his commitment and organisational skills are above par,” he explained.
“The AIS is also a fantastic facility, and being from Queensland, anything held south of there like Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne is great for running because of the cooler conditions.”
Eckford also revealed his plan to get through the next two days.
“I’d like to go beyond 400kms within the 48 hours, running/walking it,” he said.
“It will be on a 400m track, so I’ll run five laps (2kms) and then I’ll walk one lap (400m), at the pace I start at which averages about 10.5kms per hour – nothing crazy because it is such a long event.
“As the race progresses I’ll probably drop the pace a bit and walk a bit more, more so to break up the leg muscles and using those walking periods for water and food consumption.”
Entrants were encouraged to wear kilts and bring along support crews.
It is reported that around 3,300 men die from prostate cancer in Australia each year, and over 20,000 are diagnosed in the same time frame.
If you’re in Canberra this weekend, head down to the AIS to show your support and cheer the runners on.
To donate, and to get more information about the race or prostate cancer, visit here.