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Braveheart’s 777 Finish Line – Gold Coast Marathon

On arrival into the Gold Coast we were privileged to be greeted by the fire brigade that had been organised by Patrick Shanahan welcoming the Bravehearts 777 runners with a super impressive water cannon salute in recognition of our accomplishments over the week. It was not too long before seeing some familiar faces at the Gold Coast Airport with my little buddy Sven Kunkel arriving from Europe for the marathon and Martin Plüss arriving to cheer on runners during the race.

Reaching the hotel we were presented with our Gold Coast Marathon Bibs and a meal from Zambrero before preparing for the final challenge awaiting us early the next morning. The physical, logistical, psychological and spiritual challenges of the week were to be treasured having shared the journey with so many inspiring people all on a shared mission to make a difference.

It was great to see so many familiar faces and very special to get together with the Braveheart’s family prior to the race to recognise the shared journey with memories to treasure for a lifetime while wishing each other the best of luck on the final journey towards the 777 marathon finish line.

On the start line it was great to see Shane Williams, Tim Duneen, Carol Wingreen and Peter McKenzie amongst many others before getting underway and it was super nice to hear the race announcer recognise this was the final marathon of the 777 Marathon challenge when passing.

It really was a Who’s Who of the Australian Marathon world on the Gold Coast with it not too long before spotting Sven Kunkel and Amanda Barlow together on the run to capture a quick pic before they flashed by ahead of seeing Graeme Tindall from NZ powering along in strong form. I soon spotted ‘Running Guy’ Ryan Stoddart doing it unusually tough after tearing ligaments in his leg making for a long adventure to the finish line with the priority to have fun along the way.

Following the Gold 92.5 radio interview with Luke Bradnam and Margaux Parker on Friday afternoon from Hobart Airport it was fate that I would have the chance to share the road with Margaux’s husband in former Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Maroons legend and current FOX Sports Australia commentator Corey Parker taking on his very first marathon.

It was great to see Sebastian Warmerdam in the Sydney Striders strip and the inspiring pocket rocket Erin Swain smashing any limits running while running with a pace maker! It was awesome to meet new friends on the run with David and Jensen originally from Johannesburg now living in Brisbane; ‘Lone Runner’ Robert Rayder from Memphis, Tennessee; Sherman Simpson patriotically flying the flag celebrating “Canada Day” despite living in Australia for many years and the running legend Tom Craven from the United States.

It was awesome to see lots of friends on the day with Tracy Hickman in town from New Zealand for the first time since crossing the Sahara Desert together earlier this year while sharing the Marathon des Sables journey. As always it was great to see Runner Mike powering along at the Burleigh Heads Beach turnaround after 15km and catching up with Bradley Holovati while on the run prior to seeing good mate Shane Nunn jump out of a Surfer’s Paradise cafe to join me for a few minutes and capture a few pics.

While meeting up with many amazing people on the run it was important to put the head down and focus on making it through the most challenging stage of the marathon while encouraging others along the way and at the same time keep my personal commitment to make this final marathon the best time of the week which was thankfully achieved crossing the line in 4:55:54. It was great to share more of my story with the Gold Coast Marathon media team at the finish line and then proceed to meet up with lots of friends before making my way back to the Braveheart’s tent to see Wade approaching the finish line.

Really blessed to have the opportunity to help support the Braveheart’s charity to raise awareness and support the mission to educate, empower and protect the kids today and tomorrow to ensure a safer nation.

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