Running for mental health

Australian Ultramarathon runner Pat Farmer runs with the Indigenous message stick within the range area of the Singleton Military Area as part of the 1000 Miles to Light Ultramarathon.

Running for mental health

With the Australian Army’s support, 1000 Miles to light – a 1000 mile fundraising ultra-marathon relay race – kicked off on August 14 at Singleton Military Area. 

Eight runners from Australia and the US are covering 100 miles per day over 10 days in a relay footrace around the base and its training areas to raise funds for ReachOut, a youth mental health service.

The race, which was originally planned to cross regional NSW from Broken Hill to Byron Bay, was adapted to meet emerging COVID-19 restrictions. 

Fortunately, the School of Infantry was able to create a series of running tracks within the base that enabled the race to occur with no impact on training events.  

Army’s 17th Sustainment Brigade is providing logistics and health support sustainment to event athletes and crew, including the coordination of accommodation and catering. 

Captain Harry Keynes, the event’s military Officer in Charge from the 17th Sustainment Brigade, said the change in location highlighted how Army continues to support activities, which optimise mental health and wellbeing during difficult times.

“The Australian Army is committed to physical wellbeing, overcoming adversity and mental health support,” Captain Keynes said. 

“1000 Miles to Light is an event we’re proud to throw our support behind.

“Through logistic and health support, and coordination of Base Services, we are able to directly contribute to the success of this event and by extension, the fundraising endeavours.”

Event organiser and seasoned ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer said the 1000 Miles to Light team was deeply 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 is confined to the base, we still plan 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.”  

Fundamental to race planning has been COVIDSafety, with all athletes and support staff completing a 14-day quarantine period before the event to ensure the health and safety of all involved. 

The 1000 Miles to Light ultra-marathon will end on August 24. 

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