A bedraggled group of runners taking part in the Civic2Surf Canberra to Sydney long distance event arrived in Goulburn on Friday.
With icy rain falling the whole way from Canberra to Goulburn, and more expected for the afternoon and Saturday, they could not have encountered much worse weather for the funds- and awareness-raiser.
Civic2Surf is a not-for-profit organisation helping to smash the stigma around youth mental health.
The 60-strong group of Australian National University students are aiming to raise $20,000 for Batyr, a nation-wide organisation dedicated to helping youth speak out about mental health.
The group started their run from the ANU in the early hours of Friday, aiming to reach Bong Bong Racecourse in Bowral for an overnight camp. Saturday, they would set out for Sydney in the early morning, scheduled to reach Bondi Beach at 4pm.
“We are looking for all the community support we can get,” Civic2Surf committee president Harriet Nixon said.
“Statistically speaking, one in every four of our friends will be struggling with some form of mental health.
“Removing the stigma surrounding mental health is imperative to helping our friends speak out about what they might be going through.
“No one should have to suffer in silence.”
The student-led initiative was established in 2011 to raise funds for Batyr, a not-for-profit organisation founded by an ANU alumnus who recognised the for people to talk about their mental health. The alumnus, Sebastian Robertson, opened up about his own battle with depression. He and six friends devised, then ran, a 340km course from Canberra to Sydney over six days.
Five years on, Civic2Surf has raised over $50,000 in the name of removing the mental health stigma.
This year, the cause has seen overwhelming support. Former Wallabies Clyde Rathbone, who battled with depression during his career, spoke about the issues at Civic2Surf’s July launch.
“Our goal this year was to engage with more … broader communities, increasing awareness,” Ms Nixon said. “It’s inspiring to see people getting on board to help tackle such a prevalent issue.”
- Civic2Surf is on Facebook