I was planning to stay in Perth for the entirety of January. Never exploring Perth previously, I figured I would spend the month in Perth in a quest to unravel a few of the gems so many people talk about. One afternoon whilst sitting in the sun against a brick wall, nibbling away on a cinnamon scroll in front of The North Street store, I received a phone call from my close friend Samantha Gash. If you don’t know Sam, this is the short bio that Google provides for her –  “Samantha Gash is an Australian professional endurance athlete, social entrepreneur, motivational speaker.” Sam and I have now been on numerous adventures together and discussed countless ideas. Any phone call with Sam is guaranteed to be both exciting and thought-provoking.
Across the course of the phone-call, Sam briefed an idea to me that she called ‘The Relief Run’. It was a virtual half-marathon that you could do anywhere in the world and it would cost $50 to enter. She wanted to ignite the running community to do what they do best, run. More so, she wanted to do it in partnership with redcross and help those that were being affected by the devastating Australian bushfires. I thought the idea was brilliant and wanted to do everything I could do help spread the word.
Fast forward a few days, myself and a few friends were on the shores of Fremantle creating a video about The Relief Run and how the public could get involved. By this stage, The Relief Run was up for a few days and raised well over a couple hundred thousand dollars. The word was out and the running community was onboard!
My friend Monty from The Crew, Fremantle (@thecrew_freo) and I swiftly started building awareness about hosting a community run for those in Perth and around Fremantle to join. We devised a 7km route which would allow everyone to be included no matter what pace they were running.
Continuing on another few days, I was sitting at my laptop (day-dreaming/procrastinating) and thought it was only fair that Adelaide had it’s own community run.
I messaged my friend Em about the idea, she then put me onto Cat from The Run Club Adelaide, and within half-an hour, we had a location, start time, and two-run clubs onboard. I was buzzing with excitement, my run club from home, Bayside Run Club, was going to partner with The Run Club Adelaide to host the community-run event. The next day, the Facebook event was running and people were quickly clicking away their attendance.
I saw my friends click attending, my Mum and then my sister. Along with it being the inaugural community run event for Bayside Run Club, I felt compelled to go back to Adelaide to help host the run. Whilst still in Perth, Cat from The Run Club Adelaide and I organised lululemon, red bull, UTONIC, and several physios from Adelaide to all be apart of it. Sure enough, I booked my flight to Adelaide. I had to be there.
I flew in on Friday afternoon, surprised my Mum for lunch, and then set out to continue getting everything in order. I say ‘everything’, but all that means was I need to put down some arrows for the course and attend a pre-Relief-Run pizza dinner. Pizza, the perfect way to carb load before a long run.
Sunday arrived, as did the masses. By 7:30 am, 30 minutes before the scheduled kick off, there were hundreds of runners at West Beach. I was filled with joy seeing the community come together for this amazing event. Speaking to a few people before the run, some runners were out to do their first half-marathon, others to run PBS, some to jog with friends or for a few it was just another sunday long run. It didn’t matter how you planned to run the 21.1km or 5km, everyone was out there smile.
It was time to go, so I stood up in a park and gave a brief announcement on how the run would unfold. I told people about the 65 countries The Relief Run was taking place in, the 120 different community runs happening, and the $900,000 that had been raised for the Red Cross Relief Support fund. Everyone set off, it was truly amazing.
I started at the back, talking and chatting to people along the run. I made new friends and ran with old friends. After about 12km, I ran with my friend Emily and new friend Nick as they ticked off kilometre after kilometre on track to their first half-marathon. Two weeks prior to The Relief Run, Emily hadn’t run more than 6km. There were many runners like Em out at The Relief Run who were running far further than they ever had previously. This highlighted the power of community and what happens when you’re surrounded by waves of positive energy. Even for some of my friends who are competitive amateur runners, they also told me how easy the 21km felt that day. Something magical was in the air, I promise.
What a way to finish the week.
Thank you to everyone that helped make The Relief Run what it was. Running for a cause, and with friends – is there anything better?
Big Love,
JL

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