Chris bends over back­wards for run

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

RUN­NING a marathon is on many peo­ple’s bucket list, but run­ning it back­wards seems too chal­leng­ing for most peo­ple to con­sider.

Not for Chris Hen­der­son though, who will take on the Rot­tnest Marathon, run­ning back­wards the whole way, this Sun­day.

The idea started as a bet be­tween friends, but now Chris is us­ing the run to raise money for char­ity be­yond­blue. So far he has raised more than $3800 and, if he wins the $2000 bet, he will do­nate half of it to the char­ity.

Dur­ing the 42.2 kilo­me­tre run, friend and “hu­man guide dog” Tane Eun­son will run a few steps be­hind, us­ing hand sig­nals to help Chris nav­i­gate the course.

The pair have al­ready com­pleted three half-marathon train­ing runs with­out in­ci­dent, apart from some amused glances from passers-by.

Known for its heat and its hills, the Rot­tnest race was cho­sen be­cause Chris thought he would have longer to com­plete the course.

“Part of the bet was that I have to fin­ish be­fore the sweeper bus, which is the bus that comes around and picks peo­ple up that are too slow,” he said.

“I picked Rot­tnest mainly be­cause there are no cars so I didn’t think there would be a sweeper bus.”

Un­for­tu­nately for Chris, while there is no bus, race or­gan­is­ers have to pack up the fin­ish line af­ter six-and-a-half hours.

This means he has less time to fin­ish than if he’d cho­sen an event like the Lon­don Marathon where the sweeper bus comes around af­ter seven hours.

West Aus­tralian Marathon Club race or­gan­iser Jade Onno said she thought Chris’ back­wards marathon idea was an April Fools joke at first.

“I had a very good laugh to my­self and thought it was hi­lar­i­ous,” she said.

A sense of fun is part of the an­nual race, which com­mem­o­rates the leg­end of im­mi­grant pris­oner Harry McFordyce.

McFordyce al­legedly at­tempted to es­cape but, on his fourth lap of the is­land, col­lapsed from de­hy­dra­tion and died. In his mem­ory, bag­pipes in­stead of a gun sig­nal the start of the marathon.

Search for ‘Hendo’s Back­wards Marathon’ on the ev­ery­day hero web­site to do­nate. To keep track of Chris’ progress, go to the event page on Face­book.

Chris Hen­der­son will run the Rot­tnest Marathon back­wards with the help of ‘hu­man guide dog’ Tane Eun­son.

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