Disasters like the Australian bushfires can make people feel vulnerable and helpless – and most people want to help in some way, shape or form.
For Oamaru multisport athlete Alice Perry, organising a community run to raise money for relief and recovery efforts is one way she felt she could make a difference.
As part of the virtual global event “Relief Run”, Miss Perry is leading a community run along the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail tomorrow afternoon.
She has measured out official half-marathon and 5km courses to run or walk, and an unofficial 10km course, all ending at the Oamaru Harbour.
Runners and walkers anywhere in the world can sign up for the Relief Run for a $50 registration fee paid online, with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. Once registered, they can run or walk anywhere and at any time on January 18 or 19, but many community events, like Miss Perry’s, are being organised to boost participation.
So far, about 20 people have confirmed they will take part in the Waitaki event, which has staggered starts from 1pm, and at least another 30 have expressed an interest in registering.
“That’s $3650 [raised] from Waitaki, if they ended up doing it, in under two weeks,” Miss Perry said.
“Initially, I thought that this might be a case of four to five people going for a jog in the spirit of supporting Australia and doing what’s right. Garnering the support of the community, getting more people active and helping Australia on a bigger scale, is an unexpected but truly fantastic outcome.”
The half-marathon course starts near Windsor and the 5km course starts at Weston. There will be limited hydration stations along the trail, so runners are encouraged to carry their own water.
“You can walk it. You don’t have to be competitive, just have fun with family and friends and get out there,” she said.
“[And] there’s pizza and beer at the end [at Scotts Brewing Co]; you just have to pay for it.
“If you’re running and you order [pizza] when you’re at the [Oamaru Public] Gardens, it’ll be ready by the time you get there.”
Miss Perry, who volunteers for the Weston Volunteer Fire Brigade, got into multisport about six years ago while living in Dunedin.
She is a passionate advocate for the benefits of exercise.
“Oamaru and the Waitaki region has a pre-made walking, jogging, plodding, running [and] biking track right in our backyard called the Alps 2 Ocean [cycle trail], making Oamaru the perfect place to have this run and get our community out in support,” she said.
“If I can get one person to join me, then it’s one more person that has helped support a country who needs us.
“Australia is our neighbour, our friends across the Ditch, and while we may be the opposition on the sports field, we owe it to them to support and assist them in their time of need, just like they do for us.”