It was 6.30 am and I’m up Red Hill on a misty Canberra morning watching an energetic bunch of people – and one dog, stretching, strolling, guzzling coffee and water but pumped and smiling! I’m not, but then I don’t do long walks and can’t imagine feeling excited about it, but for this one I can share the information and make us all a little bit more aware of the efforts locals and many interstaters are prepared to do for a good cause affectionately called The Bloody Long Walk. It raises funds for the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (AMDF) to find a cure for ‘mito’ a genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy they need to function. To walk, run or just stand up is a daily struggle for sufferers.
The organisers say about 800 seemingly fit people of all ages were under starter’s orders for the Bloody Long Walk of 35 km. Bloody painful you’d think but this is a national initiative to raise funds for mitochondrial disease which receives no government funding and relies on donations and community support. And these entrants have all been raising money from sponsorships up to and during the walk. Among them and urging them on was Shaun Armitt whose son Archie died from the disease and for research Shaun has raised with his band of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ $35,000 with the amount rising constantly online.
The walkers, and some runners, had a meandering course from Red Hill towards the National Zoo and Aquarium before heading around the Lake to end at Reconciliation Place. Good on them for a great effort, I went home for breakfast.