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RAAF wages war on cancer... on foot

RAAF fundraisers (from left) Alastair Cooper, Sydney Turner, Jarrad Whately, Scott Howard and Richard O’Connell.
RAAF fundraisers (from left) Alastair Cooper, Sydney Turner, Jarrad Whately, Scott Howard and Richard O’Connell. David Nielsen

RAAF personnel will take the fight against cancer to the streets when they embark on a 500km run from Bundaberg to Amberley on October 24.

Eight men from three different sections of the Amberley base will participate in the Back to Base relay race over five days culminating in a group run through Ipswich on Friday October 28.

Sergeant Richard O'Connell is the brains behind the idea that he hopes will raise $10,000 for the Queensland Cancer Council.

The avionics technician said a personal experience with a family member was the motivation for the event.

"My aunt battled cancer on three separate occasions but fortunately she has recovered," he said.

"Watching her go through that made me want to help out, so in 2007 we did one of these runs in South Australia.

"We ran around 400km then but with more runners this time we've stretched it out to over 500."

Training for the event as a group has been a challenge, with all members currently serving with operational divisions.

Despite the difficulties, Sgt O'Connell said his team was prepared for the challenge ahead.

"It will be a relay format where we'll change over regularly but someone will be running all the time," he said.

"The first day is our biggest day at 121km and we'll average around 100km a day."

Corporal Alastair Cooper is one of the willing volunteers and says the team will try to keep the atmosphere light and fun along the way.

"We all know it is going to hurt so I'm sure there will be a lot of whinging and bitching along the way," he said

"We're all mates though, so we'll just tell each other to have a hot cup of cement and harden up."

Sergeant Scott Tonkies provided the best description of what team members would look forward to the most.

"We'll all be looking forward to the end," he said.

To donate to the run visit www.airforce.gov.au/relay

Topics:  cancer council queensland raaf raaf amberley



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