Seven marathons in seven days – it’s a challenge that would test any athlete but six Canberra runners are ready to be put to the test in support of a great cause.
The annual Bravehearts’ 777 Marathon is Australia’s mightiest ultra-marathon which was created in 2013 as a unique way for individuals to raise money for and awareness of Bravehearts and the prevention of child sexual assault and exploitation.
Each marathon is a distance of 42 km.
The first marathon takes place in Perth on 28 June after which the dedicated runners board a plane for Adelaide, followed by marathons in Melbourne, Launceston, Sydney, Canberra on 3 July and finishing on the Gold Coast.
Running her third Bravehearts challenge is Canberra athlete Jess Peil who has raised more than $120,000 for the charity. Jess was also a nominee for the 2021 ACT Local Hero at the Australian of the Year Awards.
Kaiti Primrose was inspired by Jess’ efforts and will take on her first marathon challenge this year, along with fellow Canberra runners Stuart Wise, Ross Scott and father/son duo of John and Ben Wilson, of Sutton.
A keen Australian rules footballer with the Tuggeranong women’s first-grade side, Kaiti said her first attempt at the Bravehearts challenge will also be her first marathon although she’s taken on plenty of distance running events.
“Going from none to seven marathons in a week is going to be a bit interesting,” Kaiti told Region Media.
“I’m known in my running group and my social circles as not training for certain events I’ve taken on, but Bravehearts is obviously something that’s going to need a bit of preparation. I set myself a target of running 10 km every day and I’ve just finished my eighth half-marathon for February.”
Coached by Shiree Kosod of Elevate Running and Fitness, Kaiti and Jess both say they are stubbornly determined individuals with an army of people behind them, such is the camaraderie of the running community.
“Runners will know just how much your body hurts after one long run, let alone seven,” Kaiti said.
“If you can be uncomfortable for a week, but that’s helping raise awareness and money for people who are uncomfortable for a lifetime, then why wouldn’t you do it?”
Kaiti says she has already learned much about the mental and physical aspects of the Bravehearts challenge which has also piqued the interest of her football coach from a physiological aspect and her teammates who are hoping to run with her during the Canberra marathon on 3 July.
“This event has taken over my life in a very good way and I’ve learnt so much about good sleep and nutrition. I can’t get sick right now,” she said.
The running protege says she is inspired by her marathon mentor Jess Peil, and the two have formed a running partnership with beaming smiles that may occasionally disguise a grimace or two.
Jess described the Bravehearts challenge as the best week of the year.
“Just knowing that we’re helping make Australia a safer place to raise children is the whole purpose of this,” Jess says.
“No child should be exposed to violence of any form, so running with a purpose like this is hugely motivating while also having a fitter Australia too.
“If you find something you enjoy and it has a purpose attached to it, nothing is going to stop you. When you have that community around you and everybody is pushing you on, you’re there to get to the end and it’s that community which gets you there.”
Kaiti says she’s not sure about the challenge she faces but knows she won’t be on her own.
“Whether I get to the finish line of every event, I’m already incredibly proud of myself and I can’t wait to do the event with Jess and the other runners. If I can now inspire someone else to give it a go, then that’s why we’re doing this.”
You can help each of the Canberra runners achieve their goal by finding their fundraising page on the Bravehearts 777 Marathon website.