When Tony Cox told his friends, family and colleagues his plans for the weekend, their immediate response was to call him a madman.
What other explanation can you give for making the decision to run from Canberra to Moruya in two days which will require running 85 km a day – the equivalent of two marathons?
When people ask him why he is putting himself through some much pain, his reaction is “why not”.
His reasons for strapping on his runners and jogging from the nation’s capital to the coast is three-fold: a realisation of a childhood dream, shining a positive light on the importance of teacher health and wellbeing, and to inspire others to set audacious goals.
“The run is a personal challenge to test my endurance and my mental strength. I have run nine marathons and one ultra marathon but I have never tested myself like I will this weekend,” Mr Cox said.
“I remember as a young kid watching Cliff Young and Yiannis Kouros running from Sydney to Melbourne and I was blown away that people could do that. So I was always inspired to do something similar and ever since I was a kid I wanted to run from Canberra to the coast.”
The 50-year-old former primary school teacher from Lyons resigned from full-time teaching eight years ago due to levels of stress and feeling burnt out and took up a job in the public service.
He went from being a deputy principal who was second in charge of a school with 60 staff to the public service where he supervised no one and received a pay rise.
Though he was less fatigued in his desk job, the longing to teach kids was too strong and he decided to come back to education on a two-day a week contract. On his other days, he runs his own health coaching business which is in support of teachers to help them avoid stress and burnout, just like he had all those years ago.
By attempting this formidable personal challenge, he wants to honour and inspire his fellow teachers to look after their health and wellbeing and to not be afraid to reach for ambitious goals.
“You don’t have to be that focused on the media to continuously hear reports of teacher stress, teacher burnout, retention rates, teachers leaving their jobs in the first five years and other health and well-being issues,” he shared with Region Media.
“I want to motivate teachers to keep going, to reach for their goals and to not be afraid to seek support if required.
“If you set a goal and stick to it, you can achieve what other people see as impossible. I want to inspire people to set bold and audacious goals and to work towards the achievement of those goals.”