From the 1st – 7th July 2019 I had the pleasure of sharing the Bravehearts 777 Marathon Challenge with 21 other extraordinary national runners and 8 amazing support crew from Aurora Adventures and Bravehearts. Collectively we raised over $355k and engaged thousands of people in the child protection message.

We started the week in Perth running a marathon around the Swan River before going on to run rmarathons in Adelaide (Glenelg), Melbourne (St Kilda), Launceston, Sydney (The Bay Run) and Canberra (Lake Burley Griffin) before finishing with the Gold Coast Marathon. We were joined by up to 130 state runners in each location running 7km, 12km, 21km or 42km for Bravehearts. We began running each day at 6am and had until 12:30pm to finish before packing up and then checking out of our hotel by 1:30/2:00pm for transfer to the airport and then our next flight. We arrived at the hotel in the next state between 7pm and 11pm, with most nights only getting around 4-5 hours sleep. Our support crew went above and beyond to make sure we were happy and safe, and took control of all the logistics so the running and recovery could be our focus.

Each of the courses were 7km laps, which allowed us to support each other. The camaraderie and friendship formed over the week will last a lifetime. Everyone showed strength, determination and courage as they ran 42.2km each day to make a difference to the lives of children and survivors. I also loved sharing the event with many friends who came to run a few or many kilometres with me.

I have been a part of the Bravehearts 777 Marathon Challenge for the past 5 years. People often ask me WHY? Why do I continue to take part in the 777 Marathon Challenge year after year? To be honest I wish I didn’t have to do such a crazy thing. But, without putting my body and mind on the line and making so many sacrifices, creating awareness and raising funds to protect kids from sexual assault would not happen. Raising funds and awareness for Bravehearts to stop child sexual assault is such a hard thing to do – so many people DO NOT want to acknowledge it is a thing and won’t support this cause.

This years 777 Marathon Challenge was another truly humbling one, and another that I will never forget. I laughed, I cried, I hi-5’d, I hugged (a lot) but most of all, I and the other legends placed the spotlight firmly on protecting our kids from sexual assault and gave survivors strength, courage and hope to keep fighting.

Despite only managing 53km in training for this event from January until July, my will to continue was stronger than my desire to stop. I ran the 7 Marathons in 7 States in 7 Days with my heart and used my own story and the story of others to push through each day.

My marathon times were irrelevant, because I didn’t run the distances for the love of it. My sole focus was to raise as much awareness and funds for Bravehearts to continue their great work in preventing child sexual assault (this cause is hard to fundraise/raise awareness for as it is confronting and no one wants to talk about it) and to show survivors that they are not alone.

I struggle to comprehend the enormity of completing five Bravehearts 777 Marathon Challenges. It is hard to put into words what the 777 week is like. It is a tough, emotional week where every single step is for every single victim and survivor out there. My smiles and happiness on the outside masks the burden of my past that I carry on the inside. I gain strength along the way, from the other amazing runners and support crew – knowing we are in it together – sharing our passion to educate, empower and protect kids.

For 27 years I lived in silence about my abuse when I was 7 and 18. I lived alone and ashamed of my past. The 777 Marathon Challenge gives me strength, courage and determination to fight the panic attacks, depression, low self esteem and addictions. It has showed me that I am much stronger than what I give myself credit for and that it is ok to ask for help. I am no longer a victim or a survivor, I am a warrior and I will continue to run and raise awareness and funds for Bravehearts until child sexual assault is STOPPED!

We need to keep the conversation going. We need to keep talking about the 777 challenge, keep talking about Bravehearts and keep talking about child sexual assault. We can’t change anything if we stop the conversation. I want to inspire those around me to be just as passionate about stopping child sexual assault as I am.

I wish the Bravehearts 777 Marathon Challenge wasn’t needed, but until child sexual assault is STOPPED I will continue to participate in this worthy pursuit.

This cause is very important to me and I am doing the 777 marathon challenge in 2020 to continue to spread the Bravehearts message. To all my supporters, I looked forward to sharing this ongoing journey with you. Please follow along here to show your support.

Please get behind me again by donating, supporting fundraising events as a participant or volunteer, sharing posts, or even by hosting your own event,  or perhaps you can join me in next year’s 777 Marathon Challenge as a national or state runner.

Helping to stop child sexual assault is everyone’s business – together we can make a difference and I thank you for your continued support (through me) of the Bravehearts cause.