Running 1,300KM against family violence
by JAIME NOYE
6th October 2020
By Jaime Noye
A group of 20 Warrandyte mums (and one bloke) banded together to run a total of 1,300 kilometres as part of a virtual challenge last month.
Runners and walkers alike were invited to participate in the 3rd annual Run Against Violence Virtual Team Challenge, a nationwide movement to raise awareness of family violence.
Run Against Violence (RAV) is a volunteer organisation whose purpose is to end the silence through starting constructive and comprehensive conversations around family violence.
Founder of the event, Kirrily Dear said “Our job is to engage the broader community in conversations about family violence, to reduce the stigma and isolation people who have lived with Domestic Family Violence feel”.
“When that stigma is removed people then share their story and reach out for help.
“We deliver awareness campaigns and community activities in order to create the platform for these conversations around family violence to be heard.”
To participate in the event, teams of up to 20 people were asked to run 1,300km in a 19-day challenge.
The goal was to travel the equivalent distance from Broken Hill to Sydney, starting August 30, 2020.
Local runner and run participant Michelle Chan said family violence is a significant problem in Australia.
“Our virtual run equates to 1.7 million steps.
“1.7 million is the estimated number of Australians who experienced physical abuse before the age of 15*,”she said.
Michelle is no stranger to a challenge.
You may have seen her in recent Diary editions running an Ultra Marathon of 50km in her backyard, or maybe you saw her last month dressed as a banana running around Warrandyte.
Michelle, for the second year running organised a local team to run the 1,300km in the Run Against Violence Virtual Team Challenge.
“With absolutely everything up in the air right now, having a goal to keep yourself active, is so important for our families and ourselves” said Michelle.
During the challenge, each member of the Warrandyte Mum Runners RAV team, ran within their 5km zones, uploading their daily distances online.
The team encouraged each other and regularly made two person running dates to motivate and keep each other on track, all the while adhering to the, then, one-hour-per-day restrictions for exercising.
Daily posts included images of where the team had been running, new local routes to be explored and the sunshining weather that began to emerge.
The daily activity ranged from family walks to others pushing as far as they could in the 60-minute limit, many striving for a PB.
That’s no mean feat in the hills of Warrandyte and Wonga Park!
Participants from the group cheered and encouraged each other to keep going.
With all-round virtual applause as each runner completed their individual kms.
One team member, Gen Stephens said “It’s the longest trip I’ve been on all year.
“Loved seeing everyone’s posts and running together/apart.
“What a wonderful bunch!”
Another team member, Maddy Wilson said “It was so lovely seeing everyone’s posts… feel like I need the next challenge to start to keep the motivation going!”
At the end of the 1,300km, Michelle praised the group.
“Together we contributed to the very important cause of raising awareness and preventing family violence.
“Thank you to everyone for being so positive and encouraging.
“This virtual challenge may be over, but we will still have our camaraderie,” she said.
Michelle is a champion for many local women to stay active, especially during these times of restrictions.
The Warrandyte Mum Runners RAV team are thankful Michelle was there to inspire and support each of them, to get out the door and take on a worthwhile challenge.
Information about the annual RAV challenge can be found via their website www.runagainstviolence.com.
*Sourced from ABS Personal Safety Survey 2016.