Ultramarathon raises $63,000 for youth

Army’s support of the 1000 Miles to Light fundraising ultramarathon has helped the event raise more than $63,000 for youth mental health service ReachOut.

CAPTION: Australian and American ultramarathon runners celebrate the completion of the 1000 Miles to Light run held around Singleton Military Area, NSW. Story by Lieutenant Sasha Rhodes.

Members of the 17th Sustainment Brigade and Australian Army Band Sydney have wrapped up their support to the 1000 mile, or 1600km, race.

The event, won by team Australia, was hosted by Army’s School of Infantry at the Singleton Military Area from August 14-24 and included eight athletes from Australia and the United States, who covered 100 miles (160km) per day.

The relay race was broken into 5km increments around the base in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions.

Army’s 17th Sustainment Brigade staff provided logistics and health support t event athletes and crew, including the coordination of accommodation and catering.

The event’s Officer in Command, Captain Harry Keynes, from the 17th Sustainment Brigade, said the race was originally planned to be conducted from Broken Hill to Byron Bay.

“The changing COVID environment saw us move the race within the Singleton Military Area,” Captain Keynes said.

“We created a series of running tracks within the base, which enabled the athletes to safely complete their race on a diverse range of tracks, without impacting routine training at the School of Infantry.”

Captain Keynes said the change in location highlighted how Army could adapt and find a way to overcome a challenge.

“While we were all looking forward to the race across NSW, the adapted track demonstrated our ability to find a way to make it work,” Captain Keynes said.

Event organiser and seasoned ultramarathon runner Pat Farmer said the 1000 Miles to Light team was grateful for Army’s detailed planning and sustainment capability.

“Army has been behind us every step of the way, and their support not just to the charity, but to the overall execution of the event has been second to none,” Mr Farmer said.

“The flexibility in their planning, particularly in this ever-changing environment, has been instrumental in ensuring this event was able to take off.

“Although the race was confined to the base, we still managed to remotely engage with the communities we had planned to visit on the original route to reconnect with and inspire those still facing the challenges of the pandemic.”

Mr Farmer said soldiers from the support team, and members of the School of Infantry, ran alongside the Australian and US teams for parts of the race providing encouragement.

“The core values of Army of service, courage, respect, integrity and excellence were exemplified by both athletes and Army coming together for the common cause of youth mental health,” he said.

In addition to the eight athletes on the ground, the event had an online platform which enabled everyday Aussies to join in.

As a result, 2705 Australians signed up via the Running Heroes app.

A total of 111,384km was recorded by all the participants.

The US and Australian athletes and support staff completed a 14-day quarantine period prior to the event.

The event was successful in raising more than $63,000 towards the 1000 Miles to Light ReachOut fundraiser.

You can still donate at https://about.au.reachout.com/1000milestothelight

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