Newcastle runner Benn Coubrough came so close to running the Great North Walk in record time whilst raising funds for Newcastle’s Sports Concussion Clinic.
Benn managed to run 247.5km before having to stop to avoid serious injury to his ankle in steep, slippery and rocky conditions as he got into Sydney bushland. He was ahead of time but made the tough decision to pull up as he couldn’t risk broken bones.
Before dawn broke on Friday November 6, Benn started the 276km journey from Newcastle harbour determined to run to Sydney in under the current fastest time of 39 hours and 50 minutes.
He battled waist high waves at Merewether, getting early blisters whilst climbing rocks. He was worried about heat and bushfires when planning the run but the trail was wet, muddy and slippery.
Benn ran the section from The Basin to Patonga overnight. Including a creek crossing that due to rains had a waterfall and waist dep water.
From the 200km mark his ankle ligaments really began troubling him but kept going. Once he got to 245km he had climbed over 7000m metres in height during the run and his ankle was shot.
Running and support communities from Newcastle, the Central Coast and Sydney came out in force with water stations and moral support.
Dr Andrew Gardner, from the Sports Concussion Clinic, joined Benn at the Congewoi part of the trail a stayed with him for many hours as pace runner.
Benn said the NSW Water Police were also fantastic – they were so happy to be helping him. Senior Sergeant Michael Hrnjak and Senior Sergeant Michael Morris were his very able boat crew.
“It was humbling to see so many people I’d never met coming out to support me,” Benn said.
Support for HMRI
“Some people said they wanted to support such an epic attempt, but many said they were touched by my reasons for running – to raise funds for the Sports Concussion Clinic and honour HMRI’s research into Stroke.”
“Thanks to all the people who have donated to HMRI too.”
The Newcastle's Sports Concussion Clinic provides free access to evaluation and medical recommendations for people aged 12 years and over who suffer a concussive injury while playing sport. It also undertakes research to supporting athletes with best evidence-based practice.
You can still show your support for Benn and raise funds for the Clinic via https://www.mycause.com.au/page/237159/im-running-the-great-north-walk-in-the-fastest-known-time