Three-time Olympian and Australian 200m record holder, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor is moving out of her comfort zone to compete in Australia’s most spectacular running festival and raise vital funds for cancer research.

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor has traded the 200m sprint for the long haul of the Blackmores Sydney Marathon to raise money for the Can Too Foundation.

The three-time Olympian, who remains the Australian record holder for the 200m, is enthusiastic about raising vital funds for cancer research by taking part in Australia’s most spectacular running festival, having recently lost her mother to the disease after a 15-month battle.

“I know all too well the devastating impact that cancer can have on an individual and their loved ones, and I am really proud to be able to do something to help stop cancer from taking more lives in the future,” said Gainsford-Taylor.

“The marathon distance is so out of my comfort zone but the amount of pain I saw my mum in and how brave she was, I thought if I’m going to commit to raising money I have got to do something that is going to be really hard.”

While Gainsford-Taylor is a celebrated track and field athlete, dedicating herself to running a 42km marathon is a far cry from the short distance sprint races she is used to. “I’m used to training for events that are over in a matter of seconds, not hours!  So training to run 42km is a challenge that lies well out of my comfort zone.  Thankfully, I’m training with Can Too and their running programs enable people of all fitness levels and abilities to achieve their fitness goals, while meeting new friends and making a fundraising contribution to cancer research.  It’s an absolute win-win,” she said.

“Whilst the distance is much further than I’m used to I’m looking forward to amazing opportunity of crossing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge traffic free at the start. I think crossing the finish line is going to be quite emotional, especially as the stunning Opera House was where I carried the Olympic torch for the Sydney Games so it really is a place of wonderful memories.”

The Blackmores Sydney Marathon is part of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on September 20. There are four spectacular events to choose from for all ages and abilities – simply select the distance that’s right for you.  Events include:-

  • Medibank Family Fun Run/Walk (approx 3.5km)
  • Blackmores Bridge Run (approx 9km)
  • Blackmores Half Marathon (21km)
  • Blackmores Sydney Marathon (42.2km)

Join Melinda in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon or take part in the Blackmores Half Marathon to finish at the Sydney Opera House, or take part in one of the two fun runs and finish in the stunning Royal Botanic Gardens.  Travel to and from the event via public transport is also included in your entry fee.

Having crossed the finish line you and your family and friends are invited to celebrate in the Blackmores Recovery Village located in the Royal Botanic Gardens while enjoying spectacular views of Sydney Harbour.

Just like Melinda you can make each step count by getting sponsored for your participation by choosing to raise funds for 37 official charities including the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Can Too Foundation – Fitness Fighting Cancer, or you can select your own personal cause.  Sign up for the ‘Run for a cause, Run for free’ initiative, reach a set fundraising target and receive a refund of the original entry fee.

In December 2014 the Blackmores Sydney Marathon was awarded a prestigious Gold Label from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) – officially positioning the event alongside household international marathons such as London, Boston and New York.  With a six hour marathon cut-off time, runners of all abilities can look to tick this legendary distance off their bucket list.

The 2015 Blackmores Sydney Marathon will be broadcast live on both Network Ten and EuroSport Asia.

Register now at www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au for the run that’s fun for everyone