A mammoth challenge has been taken up by four Margaret River women who jetted to China on Monday to tackle the Great Wall Marathon in aid of a local cancer charity.
Mandy Carey, Marcelle Egberts, Sarah Kissell and Lynda Jones met when they joined Margaret River mums’ football team, the AMRzons. The team takes part in an annual charity clash against rivals Dunsborough, also consisting of local mums from the northern end of the Capes.
“All of us were runners, but not over very long distances, and we're all new to the marathon distance,” said Ms Carey of the group. “All of us share a love of running, and of adventure!”
Personal trainer Sarah Kissell recently completed a half marathon event in Busselton and according to Carey is “the one to outgun us all”.
“We've been training since October, a mix of individual and group training out at the Boodjidup steps, trails and around the hills on Kevill Road. “It's hard to coordinate with children, work and life but when we can, we run together.”
Importantly, the group has supported each other heavily in the lead up to their departure. “We have maintained almost daily contact to keep each other motivated and supported,” Ms Carey said. “There's definitely been low times throughout the training but overall it's been fun.”
She said the idea to tackle the marathon, which includes 5,164 steps, stemmed from a discussion amongst the AMRzons. “There may have been beer involved when we cooked up the plan,” she said.
When it came to the recipients of their efforts, talks took a serious turn. “We chose River Angels as we raise money for them with the footy team, and we all know someone who has had some experience with cancer.
“River Angels is a local support network and we want to help our community as much as we can.”
Ms Carey will be running for a Cowaramup friend who is currently battling illness, while Ms Egberts has collected donations of baby products for delivery to a Beijing orphanage.
“We are in Beijing for a day then we take a visit out to the Wall to check out the route, before a rest day and the run on May 20.
“It’s not like a normal marathon, with so many inclines and declines, so we expect it could take up to 8 hours.
To follow the local Great Wall attempt and to donate to the cause, visit facebook.com/Great-Wall-Great-Run-with-AMRzons