Sunday 18th of October was a great day to raise awareness for Mitochondrial disease (Mito) while taking in the breathtaking views of Sydney’s northern beaches. We started with wonderful ocean views from Palm Beach (Home of Aussie Soap “Home & Away”) and very soon got a taste of what the day had in store as we climbed the steep and abundant stairs at the south end of Palm Beach. Australians like to be direct and to the point, so I’m sure when the organisers came up with the idea of a “Long walk” they knew that people would respond better to the obvious slogan of “It’s a bloody long walk.” The walk was 35kms hugging the Sydney coast and turned out to be a very bloody long walk indeed.
The day was all about raising awareness and funds for Mito research, with the great achievement of $512k raised in the Sydney walk alone, as well as having a bit of fun.
My involvement came when the head of our Video Production company TenAlphas did a shout out the previous week when a couple of their team members dropped out. After the great job they did on our latest Customer testimonial video (and of course the opportunity to help a very worthy cause in the spirit of FinancialForce4Good) I was happy to put my hand up and volunteer my Sunday to test the mettle of my knees, ankles and calves (which are almost better after a couple days, thanks).
While the real heroes are those having to face this debilitating disease, it was heartening to see so many people boarding shuttle buses from 5:45am in the city to reach Palm Beach by 7am for their starts. Over 3,500 people participated in “The Bloody Long Walk” in Sydney with a mix of endurance runners, fitness fanatics, gym junkies and then the rest of us.
It was not a race (for most), but more a show of support, solidarity and community spirit, which is why at 11:30am after 12kms of walking it felt okay for our team to duck across to Armchair Cafe at Mona Vale, have a Carbo/Protein lunch and then head off on our way. Locals quizzed us on our caps and shirts and complimented us on doing the walk (while giving that little smile you give when you think someone is absolutely bonkers).
The majority of the walk (at least 90%) was along beaches, cliff tops and roads close to the beach, with only a few stretches where we had to put up with real traffic. As well as the stupendous beach scenery and some amazing beach side mansions (got a spare $10m?), we also saw whales broaching off Avalon beach (Whale Beach would have sounded better) as well as a pod of about 30 dolphins near the cliffs at Warriewood.
Reaching Manly Beach more than 10 hours after setting out for those of us in our small team that had not trained for the event (i.e. All of us) felt like a major win. To know that 3,500 people in Sydney pushed themselves to the limit for this cause made it feel even more of an achievement. Thank you Team TenAlphas for my being able to be a part of this great event. Suggestions for the next event include “The bloody long lunch.”