26,000 PEO­PLE HIT THE ROAD FOR A PER­FECT DAY AS CAN­CER VIC­TIM’S Emo­tional fin­ish for City-Bay

The Advertiser - - NEWS - SI­MON WILKINSON

THE fin­ish­ing line of the West­pac City-Bay Fun Run, pre­sented by the Sun­day Mail, is a place of eu­pho­ria and re­lief, cheers and a few tears, per­sonal bests, quiet achiev­ers and su­per he­roes, not all of them wear­ing a cape.

While a hand­ful of ath­letes, such as 12km champs Jack Rayner and Sinead Diver, cel­e­brated their wins yes­ter­day, just mak­ing it to the end was a tri­umph of sorts for most of the 26,000-plus en­trants in this year's event.

For Peter Owens, how­ever, com­plet­ing the course with his fam­ily and a band of sup­port­ers had an ex­tra level of emo­tion, as he re­mem­bered his son, Michael, who died just five days af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in April this year. He was 23.

Mr Owens, who has been a City-Bay reg­u­lar since com­pet­ing in the in­au­gu­ral race in 1973, in­cor­po­rated the event into the fi­nal stage of a marathon fundrais­ing walk from Port Au­gusta to Glenelg.

His 365km trek will raise an es­ti­mated $75,000 for the Leukaemia Foun­da­tion.

He crossed the fin­ish line along­side wife, Deb­bie, and Michael’s fi­ancee, Rosie Rechichi, and sur­rounded by more than one hun­dred sup­port­ers wear­ing white T-shirts bear­ing Michael’s name.

“I’m glad it’s over,” Mr Owens said. “I didn’t re­alise what walk­ing 365km was go­ing to do to me. It’s a very emo­tional mo­ment. It has only been five months (since Michael died).”

Mr Owens said it was ap­pro­pri­ate that his walk ended with the City-Bay, as the event had great sig­nif­i­cance to his

Pic­ture: MATT LOXTON

CHAR­ITY CHAM­PI­ONS: Deb­bie and Peter Owens with their son Michael’s fi­ancee, Rosie Rechichi, at the fin­ish line of the City to Bay in Glenelg yes­ter­day.

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