Words by Sharon Evans
River Run 100 Ultra Marathon was created by my partner Denny Neave in 2013 to raise money for my sister-in-law Elisha Neave. My father-in-law had just passed after losing his battle with cancer, my mother-in-law was fighting her own battle and now we had Elisha with her own cancer battle. We were just not ready to let a lack of funds keep Elisha from the best chance of beating this horrible disease. The event was created to raise funds for Elisha but in 2014 we decided to really make a push for teams or individuals to fundraise for THEIR charities. We were all on the same side, trying to make changes, take chances and beat the odds which were usually limited by our financial capability. Beating the odds often came with a hefty price tag – emotional and physical.
The 2014 event was an emotional day – Elisha had passed away on the 30 April and we would be running to remember Elisha, to show her son Jack (12) what his mum had been a part of. We’d been busy contacting charities, garnering support and all the time hoping that Elisha would be with us to join in on the day. A cheerleader on the sideline if not a runner on the day! Instead it was her memory that sat firmly with us on that day.
The River Run 100 was more than an event it really did have such a great feeling about the day. There was so much support and so many different types of teams the young, old, experienced and not-so-much!; the ultra marathon runners slogging out 100km alongside the teams sharing the 100km or 50km distance or individuals running the smaller distances of 10km, 20km or 50km. The route meant that everyone returned to the start and the cheers and support would lift your flagging feet and drive you forward.
Tough Mummas was our team – a group of fifteen woman who all came together to support Elisha’s son Jack. For me, the fact that these wonderful women would support our family, traveling from Sydney to Brisbane, was symbolic of how lucky we where, and that we were so blessed to have this emotional support.
Liz Powis, Tough Mummas head coach and motivator, travelled from Sydney with ten other Tough Mummas, “participating in the River Run 100 was initially motivated by supporting our friends, the family of Elisha Neave. However, it developed to be much more than fundraising and moral support. A bunch of friends, neighbours and mothers banded together called themselves the Tough Mumma and trained when they could for a distance which would individually challenge them and together add to the 100km!”
Our two ‘Tough Mumma’ teams consisted of 15 amazing women. We where a combination of women who had never run before to marathon runners. It didn’t matter what your fitness level was, it was all about sharing in the team spirit with your friends by your side to cheer you on. The underlying purpose was to raise money while having fun.
Many of us have had friends and family fall ill to cancer. The River Run 100 allowed us as a team to share our emotions from our past while supporting a charity that meant a lot to all of us.
The highlight for me was the participants cheering one another on. It didn’t matter if you were running as an individual or in a team, everyone clapped and cheered as you made it around the course and across the finishing line. The challenge was individual, the atmosphere was team spirit.
2015 the Tough Mummas will be back running for a charity or an individual in need sucking up the motivation from other teams and making a difference.
To find out more about River Run 100, click here.