‘All guns blazing’ as charity run gets the nod
A FAMILIAR landscape was a welcome twist for marathon runner Neil MacNeil, 48, as he embarked on the first stretch of a massive fortnight of running.
He was among a group of 20 who covered a collective 250km between Nanango and Springfield from Friday-Sunday.
But they weren’t just running for the adrenaline; the group sought to raise awareness.
The Trail to Triumph charity run, which raises funds for lung disease research, looked to be on the brink of cancellation due to coronavirus.
“Nobody was quite sure if it was or wasn’t going to go ahead until the very last minute and then it was all guns blazing – it feels like everything has happened in the last three weeks,” MacNeil said.
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Instead of being cancelled altogether the event was moved from its usual track between Moranbah and Mackay to take place locally.
“It was different this year – it’s totally different in as much as when you’re seeing local areas, local people and you knew where you were, as opposed to being somewhere pretty remote where you’re a little bit of a stranger,” MacNeil said.
Normally a charity auction dinner accompanies the marathon, which plays a large part in the fund raising.
“There’s a lot of money usually raised at that event,” MacNeil said.
MacNeil began participating in the run three years ago, after he befriended the event’s founder, Mat Britton.
“It’s set up to raise awareness for lung-related illnesses, silicosis, asbestos-related diseases, mesothelioma, black lung,” MacNeil said.
“Mat’s dad died of it in 2014 so Mat made a promise to him that he would do something big.”
This year’s event raised just under $39,000 for the Lung Foundation Australia.
“Donations this year were a bit tight but that was to be expected because of COVID,” MacNeil said.
“The focus this year was about spreading the message.”
MacNeil, who ran 160 kilometres in the event, will donate more than $10,000 to the Lung Foundation Australia.
He raised money through an online fundraiser, calling for sponsorship in other running events.
Read more news by Ebony Graveur.