Sporting challenge to raise money for bushfire victims

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A group of runners from Penrith and the Blue Mountains is banding together for an ambitious sporting challenge aimed at raising money for the Rural Fire Service and Blue Mountains branch of WIRES.

On Australia Day, over 100 people will team up to form a bushfire appeal relay team that will attempt to break the two-hour barrier for a marathon distance: 42.195 kilometres.

The relay will take place at Glenbrook Oval, with the distance accumulating over 105.5 laps of the oval.

In October 2019, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya made global headlines by running a sub two-hour marathon in Vienna. While the highly publicised event was not an official world record for the distance (due to it not being run under race conditions) it was an incredible human feat.

UP Coaching head coach, Brendan Davies, is one of the organisers of the Sub Two-Hour Marathon Bushfire Appeal Relay. He says that even breaking up the distance into 100 metre legs with more than 100 participants taking on consecutive sprints is no guarantee that the two-hour barrier will be broken during the fundraising challenge.

“Kipchoge ran the distance at a pace of two minutes and 50 seconds per kilometre,” Davies said.

“That equates to 100 metres every 17 seconds—and anyone who has timed themselves on an athletics track knows that that pace is no walk in the park!”

“In our relay, people pay $20 for a 400 metre contribution to the total marathon distance, and that 400 metres will be broken up into four 100 metre legs, which they can run all by themselves, or share with family and friends.

“If they’re doing all four legs, they’ll get about seven minutes to recover before taking off for their next sprint.

“We know we’ve got lots of people who can sprint 100 metres in less than 17 seconds, but we are opening entries up to everyone, even if they aren’t particularly good sprinters. If everyone does their best, we are hoping we can get in under two hours, and even if that doesn’t happen, we’ll have raised some money for a good cause and had some fun in the process.

“Many of our club members live very close to the areas affected by the recent bushfires and with most being trail runners, have a close connection to our fauna and flora. This is just a small way to help.”

The Sub Two-Hour Marathon Bushfire Appeal Relay will be an inclusive community event with additional novelty events and fundraising activities so that people of all abilities can participate.

“We’ve got a few sponsors on board already—everything from a local butcher donating sausages for the BBQ, to other organisations donating prizes for the raffles and auctions,” Davies said.

Registrations for the Sub Two-Hour Marathon Relay team close at 12pm on Saturday 25th January, or when places are full. On the day registration is not available for the Sub Two-Hour Marathon Relay.

Entry into novelty events, raffle ticket purchases and donations can be made at the event on Australia Day.

More information about the event, including details on how to register, can be found on the event page on Facebook:

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