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A Marathon a Day for Seven Days

By Skye Buttenshaw on November 29, 2011 in News

Those of you who trained hard, sweated profusely, and slogged through the 14km City2Surf back in August, consider this: 330km, Canberra to Bondi.

Well, that’s how six university students from the Australian National University are celebrating the end of the academic year. Heartbreak Hill, eat your heart out.

Evan England, Jack and Harry Bennetto, Bronti Ness, Calder Hamil and Ben Kelly will run over a marathon a day for seven days in what they call the Civic2Surf.

They set off on Sunday, November 27 from John XXIII College at ANU and if all goes according to plan, will come charging in at Bondi Beach this Saturday, December 3 at roughly 4pm.

The students are raising $10,000 to split between two charities. The first is the John XXIII College community service portfolio, which includes various domestic and international aid projects, most notably an education development project for underprivileged children in Nepal.

The second is Batyr, a not for profit organisation that provides preventative education on mental health issues by engaging, educating and empowering young people – the founder of which lives in Bondi.

The Beast spoke to Harry Bennetto twenty minutes before he and the rest of the team were due to set off on Sunday.

“Today we’re running to the north-east tip of Lake George,” Harry said.

“We’re obviously very nervous but we’re also very excited. We’re keen to get on the road and get the first leg out of the way.”

That first leg being a cheeky 55km – yep, that’s just first leg.

It’s certainly a challenge, and the team will undoubtedly experience serious physical and mental pain, but those running see it as a great way to raise both funds and awareness about mental health issues that, as Harry said, “are particularly relevant to our age group”.

Batyr finds that in a typical Australian Year 12 classroom with an average of thirty students, seven young people will have experienced a recognised mental health difficulty, but only two will have sought professional help, and at least one will attempt suicide.

“We have unfortunately developed a culture where the stigma around mental health issues has resulted in young people harbouring their feelings as opposed to talking about them and seeking assistance when they need it,” Sebastian Robertson, founder of Batyr, said.

Through training programs and presentations, Batyr “gives a voice to the elephant in the room” and promotes the use of the processes, professional services and other avenues available to young people who are in need of support.

Come Saturday afternoon it will be the Civic2Surf team that need your support at Bondi Beach.

“We’re hoping to see lots of family and friends at the finish line,” Harry said.

“We’d love to share a swim and a beer with anyone who wants get involved.”

In order to donate to the Civic2Surf, email Civic2Surf@hotmail.com or search for the team under ‘The Civic2Surf’ on Facebook. For further information about Batyr, visit www.batyr.com.au.

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