Andy steps up to the challenge for charity

Published 10:00am 18 December 2023

Andy steps up to the challenge for charity
Words by Jodie Powell

Andy Almond has completed the biggest challenge of his life – running for 18 hours in honour of a young man who lost his life at the start of this year.

The Luke’s Legacy, The Hours of Darkness Run started at 4pm on December 9, finishing at 10am on December 10, with Andy running loops between the Woody Point and Shorncliffe jetties.

Andy says he had great support from Luke’s family and the chaplain at the school where he works, who stayed up through the night to keep him going with food, drinks and encouragement.

He clocked up an incredible 131.08km during the course of the 18-hour event.

“I also had fantastic support from friends and colleagues running with me, often in a good sized pack all through the night,” he says.

“In the 131km I ran, only 9km - less than one hour - was on my own from around 2.30-3.30am.

“One friend ran 50km with me, another did 37km and many people ran 10-25km by my side.”

Pushing through the pain

Andy steps up to the challenge for charity

The Moreton Bay Road Runners club member says the hardest stretch was his final 10km from 8am.

“It was starting to get very hot, my body was seizing up and starting to shut down, everything hurt, particularly having to go up and over that little footbridge by the water park but I had my running coach and two other MBRR club members run with me and just support me to keep going with company, encouragement and distraction from the pain.”

Andy says about 70 people were waiting for him to cross the line at 10am.

“(It) was so overwhelming I almost broke down in tears.

“All up, I ran for a total 131.08km with 15.75 hours of physical running - the other 2.2 hours was pit stops for food, fuel, body maintenance, changing of singlet, shoes, socks etc.”

Helping young men

Andy steps up to the challenge for charity

So far, Andy’s epic feat has raised $5500 for the Top Blokes Foundation, which will help them support around 154 young men to develop sustainable life skills that will improve their mental health.

The foundation runs programs for vulnerable young men aged between 10 and 24.

A $30 donation can help a boy open up with his peer support group, $50 funds a life-changing conversation with a Top Blokes mentor and $200 helps a boy complete a Top Blokes program and regain control of his life.

Andy says running from the darkness into the light was significant, because the hours between 10pm and 4am are when many young men feel at their most vulnerable.

“The fundraiser is also a symbolic journey for me,” Andy explains.

“I run a lot – I’ve run three marathons and one 50km ultra marathon, and often use my long runs to unpack my thoughts and process what is happening in life.”

Show of support

Andy’s run was in memory of Luke, the son of a work colleague, who died aged 17.

“He was one of those lads who always had a smile and he looked like he was totally enthused with the world,” Andy says.

Andy says he wanted to show support for Luke’s family, do something positive by raising money for the Top Blokes Foundation and to start a conservation about the importance of people looking after their mental health.

“Top Blokes run programs that focus on building sustainable skills – it’s a holistic package,” Andy explains.

“They’re sustainable life skills that are designed to improve a sense of wellbeing and reduce the risk of harmful or antisocial behaviour.”

Find out more and donate to Luke’s Legacy, The Hours of Darkness Run here.

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