Running for a LIVIN
By Kate Lockyer
A group of friends took on a mammoth challenge in September, running 144 laps of New Farm Park in support of mental health charity LIVIN.
For 24 hours straight, Gerard Moriarty, Ben Hunter, Luke Bellamy and Billy O’Mealley each ran 5.4kms, or six laps of New Farm Park, every hour, totalling almost 130kms.
“We know every rubbish bin and every speed bump, I think there are 12 speed bumps around New Farm Park, and they felt like hurdles at the end of it,” Moriarty and Hunter joked.
This is the fourth year they have run for charity, and have raised over $23,000 in total over that time.
Moriarty said: “When we first started the challenge, we decided on LIVIN.”
“We were wanting to change the conversation around men’s mental health, particularly the stigma behind talking about your feelings, showing emotion and showing passion and love.”
Moriarty has become outspoken about mental health since facing their own mental health struggles, which almost led them to take their own life, but they now say they are fortunate enough to be confident to tell that story.
“I will always use my voice, my confidence and my privilege to tell that story for those that are not yet comfortable enough to tell their own,” they said.
“I will take to my grave that visibility is so important, and it’s one thing for us four to be advocates in the field of mental health, but it’s another thing to use our privilege to be able move our bodies in this way.
“Yes, it’s an outrageously hard challenge, but I think it’s taking the idea that we can push ourselves to the limits, we can use our bodies in ways that other people aren’t fortunate enough to do so.”
The friends wanted to show people that if they can run 130km in 24 hours, hopefully others can find the courage to get through their own challenges.
They estimate about 200 people came along to support them over the 24 hours.
Hunter said his legs started to stiffen up around the 90km mark, and though the challenge was hard and painful he felt a lot of gratitude for the people who were supporting him when he finished.
“It was a very tough challenge but having Ged and Luke and Billy there and then family and supporters, the wider community, just demonstrates how having those people you can lean upon really helps you get through those tough times in your life,” he said.
Hunter also has a six-month-old baby, and he said he is not just doing things for himself these days, but for his son as well.
“Especially when things get really hard, I just look at my phone and see Alfie, and say, ‘ok, I can keep going,” he said.
They have raised over $8,200 for LIVIN this year, and you can make your own donation at https://www.livin.org/donate/.