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Braveheart’s 777 Marathon – Canberra

I had been looking forward to returning with the Braveheart’s team to Canberra having called this city home as the first place to call my own after leaving home as a 17 year old while living on University Campus at the Australian National University and it was clear that we were back in the nation’s capital on landing to find the chilly evening conditions.

Following a short walk and bus ride across to the Vibe Hotel to set up camp for the night the decision was made to quarantine me to ensure that I didn’t pass on the flu to the team. After checking in we all gathered for dinner in the hotel restaurant and it was a privilege to get to know a few of the team with Fenix Maiorana sharing his inspiring personal story with the table having been impacted by sexual abuse from a family member since the age of five into adulthood. A gifted Chef and Restaurant Manager from Mildura, Fenix was taking on a half marathon each day during the Braveheart’s 777 Marathon Series leading up to the Gold Coast Marathon and would go on to inspire many across Australia and around the world.

Following a good night sleep I was feeling a slightly better the next day although still coughing and spluttering out of control. Meeting the team in the hotel foyer we were boarded the shuttle bus to the start line to be greeted by iconic views across to Old Parliament House and Parliament House. I seriously felt like staying on the bus in the warmth until race start although braved the chilly conditions joining the team to meet up with the largest state runner turn out including a few familiar faces such as good mate Tony Cox turning out to show support and run the Half Marathon.

At the race start Tony and I set out together sharing stories over the opening stages prior to stopping into the toilets where Tony decided to continue on to get in the Half Marathon prior to the start of his work day. It was soon clear after sunrise that the loop course was spectacular winding its way along Lake Burley Griffin with many iconic landmarks taking us out to The Australians of the Year Walk along the foreshore.

There was good camaraderie with national runners supporting each other when passing on each lap and it was great to see others out for a morning run with a number of cyclists also out making the most of the day. It was interesting to see during the race that a maintenance team had managed to get the service vehicle stuck on a cement block with part of the track having to be closed while the car was removed from the unfortunate predicament.

It was great to take time out on the return to the marathon start line during the race to interview with Channel 9 during the race to help promote the cause and bring awareness to the Braveheart’s charity before quickly returning to continue the journey to go the distance. I really enjoyed the opportunity to check out the Australians of the Year Walk on the run and take in the many memories of the legendary Australians recognised for their valued contribution to the nation.

While on the run I started to have moments of true reflection while travelling the country in support of the Braveheart’s charity of just how much I was missing being with my family to share quality time while they were in Sydney for my new Godson’s christening. The fact that I was receiving daily text messages with my brother and his family retracing our family roots proved even more challenging. I decided to call my brother to extend an invite to my niece and nephews to join me for the ‘Kids Run’ only a short drive from where they were staying while in Sydney later in the week only to be told that “we can’t all be Marathon Man and that will not be happening” which while extremely disappointing at the time I had to find a way to dig deep to go the distance.

I had shared the last few days with Wade Dixon running his first marathon events at the back of the field and while I had really struggled in Adelaide it seems Day 3 was catching up with this inspiring Dad from the Sunshine Coast and I was doing my best to provide encouragement each time we passed each other. After navigating my way through an aggressive cyclist it was great to cross the finish line in 5:42:43 to post my best time of the week heading into the next challenge in Melbourne.

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