For avid Minnamurra ultramarathon runner Rob Mason, his recent record run across the ACT was just a warm-up for running the width of the State, before taking on the whole continent.
After winning Australia’s premier 240 km Coast to Kosciuszko ultramarathon last year, Rob decided on these extreme challenges to give back to the community and to a cause close to his heart.
“I wanted to do something better than just running the next race so we [he and his crew] wanted to do it for a charity,” Rob says.
In his 102 km practice run from the southernmost tip of the ACT to its northern border, the Shoalhaven Fire and Rescue Station Officer raised just shy of $5000 for the Westmead Children’s Hospital Burns Unit.
The money raised will go toward easing children’s suffering through providing specialist dressings, equipment, physiotherapy and psychological support for them and their families.
Rob, who has been a professional firefighter for 23 years, now wants to raise another $115,000 for the burns unit in September, when he plans to run 100 km a day for 12 days from the NSW border of South Australia, near Broken Hill, to Bondi.
“To back up day after day, the 100 km is really going to take everything from me,” Rob said.
“But the pain and discomfort I experience during ultramarathon running is nothing compared to what the kids in the burns unit have to endure and suffer through on their road to recovery.”
The run across NSW – which will establish a Guinness World Record – will be Rob’s hardest challenge yet, despite feeling confident and positive after his practice run.
With the countdown well and truly on for September, Rob and his crew will tackle three ultramarathons in three days next month, to plan and practice the last leg of the course through Sydney to the finish at Bondi.
“I am feeling really positive about the crew and what we have practised with logistics and nutrition,” he says.
The run across NSW will require two crews of four people – a driver, crew manager, pacer and someone to go ahead and set up camp for the night. Rob said this run required a bigger support crew, including two massage guys and a couple of medical people.
He starts his NSW Border to the Beach run on 20 September, and is looking for a major sponsor to come on board to help cover the cost of fuel, accommodation and vehicle hire.
NSW will be the final state Rob and his crew run across to establish the route for his long-term plan of running across Australia.
Rob and his crew have tentatively booked in the mammoth 4000km run from Fremantle to Bondi Beach next September, which he plans to tackle in under 40 days.
You can support Rob’s run by donating to the Westmead Children’s Hospital Burns Unit or becoming a sponsor by clicking here.