24 Hour Treadmill Challenge for Alzheimer’s Australia

On June 9th this year, the 4th anniversary of 100 Things, I handed over a cheque of $100,000 to Camp Quality. This was Number 4 on my list and the feeling at that moment was something I’ll never forget. Thanking everyone who over the years had supported and donated towards this cause, I walked away feeling as if it would be a shame to turn my back on the fundraising aspect of my journey. After further thought I decided that seeing as my own adventure was not over, neither therefore should my fund raising efforts and immediately I announced that I’d set a new target; I would try and raise $100,000 for Alzheimer’s Australia.

I’ve never had a plan with anything I do, things seem to find their own way of working. For me I know that as long as I know WHY it is i’m doing something, it’s not essential I know HOW. This always exposes itself afterwards.

Having made the announcement, I soon after gave a talk about my journey at a fitness convention. The talk was well received and the next morning I received an email from a lady name Jane. Jane owned a gym allied Fitness Energy and wrote to me simply to say that if I needed support in raising money for a charity she wanted to help. A driven lady, her email was less of a offer and more of an order- I loved it!

To cut a long story short, Jane had an idea to run a 24-hour treadmill challenge where by she would line-up 16 treadmills side by side in her gym and people would come down and donate money to run for any amount of time they wanted during  24-hr period. It was basically a relay. An idea easy enough for me to understand is always a good first step and when I asked if I’d missed something, she said;

“Oh, but you’ll of course have to run for the entire time!”

Thankfully I love a challenge and when Jane then told me that she would also try and run for 150kms in the time period, I knew this was an opportunity too good to pass up.

With months of preparation going into the event, Jane and her staff went to the nth degree to make sure everything was sorted by November 14th; our start date. Logistical issues, training regimes and promotional angles were all covered. I on the other hand had not trained at all and by the time the event kicked off at midday on the 14th I’d decided that I would attempt my 24-hour stint on the treadmill wearing a pair of things (flip flops) as my footwear. I love adding humour where possible and this seemed perfect. With my plan revolving around simply surviving what would be an testing challenge, Jane on the other hand had been running 20km and 30km regularly and looked like she was ready to break records.

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With a gym full of supporters at 11.59am on Thursday 14th November, a 5-second countdown to midday confirmed that we were all in this for the right reasons. Staff, supporters, strangers and alike all smiled as one as the hooter sounded the start of what would turn out to be one of the most emotionally and physically challenging things I’ve ever done.

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From midday Friday to midday Saturday the treadmills never stopped. Every one of the individuals who stepped up to run walk or crawl for 30 minutes or longer did so with a big smile and a good reason. With an MC who never slept either, we partook in fancy dress, terrible sounding sing-a-longs and many more activities to keep us going.

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Those who couldn’t come jumped on line and donated anyway. Each one of us laughed and each of us hurt. The amazing communities that seem to pop up in the name of a good cause always blow me away and to see friends, colleagues, and strangers mingle as one and fight the same fight was incredible. I’m a firm believer that outside of all of the negative stories that we hear on a daily basis, all people are good at heart and innately we have a desire to help others. I’m fortunate enough to see this on a daily basis- it’s helped me in the past and it’s certainly now my time to pass this on. To see this process occur with others too is inspiring, moving and in my opinion the secret to continued positive change on this planet.

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One story that transpired was that of Paul. A bloke who i’ve never, he sent me a message on Facebook at midnight after seeing online that a bunch of people were running overnight on treadmills. Wanting to support the cause too, he said that although he lived 300 kms away, he’d be willing to drive down if I could guarantee him a treadmill for at least 30 minutes. Thankfully this was doable and 4 hours later a man walked through the doors with a grin from ear to ear;

“I’m Paul, can I start running now?”

This is what this journey is all about.

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The fact that our treadmill challenge was supported by so many and raised a lot of money (figure to be confirmed this week) is testament to this and when a TV news crew of Channel 10 turned up unexpectedly to film our last 30 minutes of running, I smiled in the knowledge that they to came purely because they wanted to spread a good message.

When the horn sounded, we were euphoric, exhausted and satisfied.

WATCH THE NEWS SEGMENT BY CLICKING HERE

In case you’re wondering, Jane did reach her target of 150kms. Her friend Peter amazingly made it to 140kms as well. 100 people over the 24 hour time period joined us on the treadmills and as for me, well I both managed to complete all 24 hours and learn that thongs are not ideal for long distance journeys.

Thanks to everyone for the support. You have made a big difference in the fight to cure Alzheimer’s. Thank you.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects hundreds of thousands of Australians and far more world wide. There is no cure and it’s prevalence is rising at an alarming rate.

If you’d like to learn more please visit the Alzheimer’s Australia website and if you’d like to donate, please do so at the 24-Hour Treadmill Challenge page.

 

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