The world’s longest and toughest waterskiing endurance event, Ski 4 Kids, will be run for the fourth consecutive year on June 17 to raise money for childhood cancer research through the Hunter Medical Research Institute.
Participants ski across open waters from Manly on Sydney Harbour to the finish line on NewcastleHarbour – a distance of 120km and a duration of between 90 minutes and two hours.
Electrical retailer Glenn Geary (The Good Guys Kotara), along with fellow skier Scott Curtis, founded the event in 2009. Mr Geary will be behind the wheel of a boat this year, rather than skiing as he’s done previously.
Where it began with just one starter, last year the event attracted 15 other boats and crews, each paying an entry fee. This year, Mr Geary is hoping for 20 boats, competing in one-up and team divisions.
“The best skiers are super fit and they can ski the 120 kilometres by themselves, but others are more confident if they can take it in turns skiing,” Mr Geary said.
“I have found that you go through different stages of pain during the race. The water is cold and you get fatigued – your arms go, then your back goes, and by the end you are just hanging on.”
Sydney’s Sarah Eagle, younger sister of Footy Show ‘Lady Luck’ Lauren, will be skiing, along with Junior Female Skier of the Year, Shantelle King, 14.
Mr Geary is hoping to raise around $10,000 from Ski 4 Kids,including proceeds from a raffle and auction that will be drawn at Hogs Breath Cafe in Newcastle at 2pm on the Sunday.
Funds will support HMRI researchers in their quest to determine the genetic risk factors that lead to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common type of childhood cancer.
‘‘I wanted to do something to give back to the community but rather than give a cash donation I wanted to get involved,’’ Mr Geary said. “I have visited the oncology ward at John Hunter Hospital and it’s very upsetting to see the children. Anything we can do for them is time well spent.”
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.