Canberra couple Kirrily Sartore and Ross Scott will run their sixth straight marathon so far this week on Saturday – but it means a lot more to them than just keeping active.
The duo are taking part in the annual Bravehearts 777 Marathon, so named because its participants run seven marathons across seven states and territories over seven consecutive days.
“We signed up as more of a running event, knowing that we had to raise funds for Bravehearts, but then it just morphed into a part of our family and it’s just something we do every year,” Ross explains.
“What Bravehearts is all about really resonated with us. We’ve got a 13-year-old daughter and we just want to make sure that every child out there is as safe as our daughter Jorja is.”
Funds raised by Kirrily, Ross and other runners go to Bravehearts’ support and education services, which aim to treat and ultimately prevent child sexual abuse in Australia.
ABS data reveals the ACT recorded 325 new sexual assault cases in 2022, almost 40 per cent of which involved victims aged under 18 years at the date of the incident.
Ross has completed the marathon twice before, but this will be the couple’s first year doing the entire marathon together. The pair had signed up and fundraised for the 2022 marathon but fate intervened and a bout of COVID meant they only completed two of the seven legs of the annual national marathon, which begins in Perth and ends on the Gold Coast.
Happily COVID-free this year, the couple is on track to arrive in Canberra on Saturday (1 July) for the second last of the seven marathons, with Kirrily doing half-marathons due to an injury.
“Ross is definitely the runner of the family, but I think we make a pretty good team as far as the fundraising and, hopefully, the awareness for Bravehearts goes,” Kirrily says.
As national runners, the Canberra couple has committed to raising a minimum of $10,000 each towards Bravehearts’ fundraising goal of more than $250,000.
To raise the combined $20,000, the couple enlisted the help of their family, other national runners and several Bunnings locations around Canberra.
“You’ll interact with 400 to 500 people at a Bunnings sausage sizzle and a lot of them are asking about the Bravehearts’ cause,” Ross says.
“Quite often, a few people who aren’t actually interested in buying a sausage will come and make a donation on the day,” Kirilly adds.
Kirrily has raised over $12,000, while The Green Shed is sponsoring Ross to reach his $10,000 fundraising goal.
The pair invited others to join them this Saturday, with registrations still open for the Canberra marathon from Lennox Gardens to Kings Park.
Participants can run or walk all or part of the marathon route, individually or as part of a team, with distances ranging from seven to more than 40 kilometres.
“We are really looking forward to coming into Canberra, what we now consider our hometown, and hopefully having some more state runners come along and join us,” Kirrily says.