Give $10 for 10: running shoes draw

To celebrate marathon number 10 I had the idea of promoting a “Give $10 for 10” campaign to encourage people to donate as little as ten dollars to cancer research through Can Too. However, I thought that would be even more interesting if I had a prize to draw. I contacted my friend Emily from The Runners Shop in Canberra and shamelessly asked her if they could donate a pair of running shoes for the draw. The next morning I received the good news: “I have a sponsor for the shoes” – she said – “On is happy to donate a pair of On Cloud“. I must confess that I had never heard about the Swiss company On before and I went straight to the web to check it out. Their website gives a very good first impression and I enjoyed reading about their story. Unfortunately I can’t comment on the shoes as I have never tried them. However I did look for reviews and I must say that I am now very curious to try them. Some reviews can be found here, here or here.

So, it is On! (pun intended) I have a prize to draw and the rules are the following:

  • For every $10 donated through my fundraising website you’ll receive an entry number for the draw.
  • Donations from 16/03 (the day of my first post about this on Facebook) until marathon number 11 (mid April, exact date to be confirmed) will be valid for the draw.
  • I’ll ship the shoes anywhere in Australia (overseas supporters are welcome to continue donating but unfortunately won’t be considered in the draw).

You can get in the draw by donating here. Gook luck everyone!

UPDATE 1 (15/04/16): the final date for donations is 16/04/16 and the draw will take place on Sunday 17/04/16

UPDATE 2 (17/04/16): some overseas supporters are keen to cover the postage costs if they win the shoes. So they’ll all be included in the draw.




A BIG Thank You!

When I first set my fundraising target on my Can Too webpage I had no idea how much money I would raise. It is very hard to guess, especially for a fundraising that will last a whole year. It could start strong with the contribution of friends and then die down with time, or it could start slow and then pick up. Hard to tell. In the end I decided to set a goal of $500 for the first marathon and then update as I move to the next one. On Thursday, a bit less than two weeks after the first marathon, I reached my goal! Yaaaaaayyyy! In the post about the reasons why I’m running the marathons I’ve mentioned my difficulties with fundraising, so this was a big achievement for me. And for that I have to say an gigantic THANK YOU to all the generous people that donated: family members, known friends, and the anonymous ones. My target for the second marathon has moved to $1000 and I’m excited to see the contributions coming. Every single donation motivates me even more. I want to run harder courses, write interesting posts, come up with fundraising ideas, all to get more people involved and raise as much as possible for cancer research. fundraising Again, THANK YOU!

Make my map!

I went to bed last night trying to come up with a way to encourage people to donate, and also thinking about the maps that I have to make for my non-official marathon runs. To deal with both issues at the same time, I came up with an idea that I called “Make My Map”. The game works as this: if you contribute with at least $10 to my fundraising here, you can submit a map for my second marathon that is going to be in July, in Canberra. You can use Strava, MapMyRun, Garmin, or whatever your favourite platform for creating maps is. You can be mean and create a hard marathon course for me (please don’t), or you can show how creative you are by making the most original and fun marathon course ever!


That’s a seriously cool map. Here is a link to the original post.

There is even a blog dedicated to this weird form of art! The giraffe map above is from the “Sketchbook of a Strava Artist” and can be a source of inspiration for those planning to help me with the maps (and with the fundraising 🙂 ). We at the Bilbys Triathlon Club also tried to unleash the inner Strava artists in our members with this post on our Facebook page:


This would have look much cooler if I hadn’t posted the giraffe map before!

Back to the Make My Map game. As in any game, there must be rules. Here they are (especially designed for the mean people out there):

1. The course should be no shorter than 42.195 km (that was obvious), and no more than 45km (I’m giving you room to be creative).

2. You can create an “out and back” course or a “loop” one (can be as complicated as the giraffe), so that the starting point and the finish line are the same.

3. You can make me run over different hills but no, you can’t make me run up and down Black Mountain until I complete 42.195 km! This rule is valid for any other nasty hill in Canberra!

4. I can, at any time, add extra rules if the ones above are deemed to be insufficient to avoid extremely nasty and potentially body-destroying courses 😉 .

You should submit your course by leaving a comment in this post. The winning course will be chosen by popular vote and the winner may get a prize (I’m working on that!).

UPDATE (09/07/15): Second marathon in Canberra on 18 July. Can you create a course for this one?

Oh, those crazy inspirational people!

On the weekend a friend of mine lent me the book “All the way around”, about the adventure of a man that circumnavigated Australia in his kayak. I love this kind of book ever since I read “Cem dias entre céu e mar” (“100 days between sea and sky”) from Amyr Klink, back in my school years.

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Today, another friend sent me an e-mail with the subject “Pega ele, Dedé!” (“Catch him, Dedé!”) and a link to this article. It is about David Alley, the fastest person to cycle around Australia, that is now trying to be the fastest person to run around Australia! Wait, wait, wait! Fastest to run? That implies that he is not the first, otherwise the journo would have written “the first person to run around Australia”.

Indeed a quick search on the internet shows that David wants to break the record established by Pat Farmer in 1999, and that other people have done that as well. I understand this fascination about islands and circumnavigation. In my teenager years I would go to the “Pontal Island” in Arraial do Cabo to surf and once I couldn’t resist and paddled around it. There is just a small difference: Australia is a bloody big island!

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“Pontal Island” in Arraial do Cabo – RJ (Brazil)

David’s challenge is pretty impressive and I wish him success not only with the record, but also with his fundraising for awareness of mental illness through the White Cloud Foundation.

You can follow his run in his website. This is his progress so far:

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Talking about fundraising, have you given your contribution to cancer research yet? Visit

The whys

Since I announced my “Fit it in one” project, people have been asking a simple question: Why?

After answering this question over and over again in the past week, I realised that it is not as simple as I thought. In a typical conversation, I’ve been bombarded by a sequence of whys: Why? Why cancer? Why now? Why 12 marathons in one year?

The simple why

To raise funds for cancer research. That’s the easy one, but very few people stop here. Possibly only the ones that asked just for politeness.

Why cancer?

That’s the second level of curiosity.

The first thing that makes cancer special is its reach. Ask anyone and they will have a relative, a friend, or at least a friend of friend that has been affected by cancer. The second one, in my view, is its unpredictable nature: a person that looks perfectly healthy today, may be laying on a hospital bed tomorrow awaiting for surgery. The third is the severity of cancer: in many cases it represents a real life threat.

These are all reasons that anyone could use to justify fundraising for cancer research. However, in many situations these are followed by very personal reasons, and my case is no different. My father and grandmother have both been through surgery for bowel cancer, I have a cousin that was treated for Hodgkin in his 20’s, relatives that died of lung cancer, and a few friends that have survived or are still battling cancer. When it is that close to you, you can’t turn your back to it.

Why now?

It is funny how things work. Despite my family history and my personal connection with people with cancer, it took a person that I’ve only seen twice to trigger this project. It was a freezing morning in Canberra and I was coaching the last Saturday run of the Canberra pod of the Can Too Foundation. In the long runs we always have what we call the Energy Champ. This is a volunteer that is willing to be at 7am on a Saturday morning ready to hand drinks and lollies to our runners, and cheer them up as they pass the halfway mark. That Saturday our Energy Champ was there with her two kids. Because it was the last weekend before race day, we gathered at the meeting point after the run and talked about their race expectations and also why they were doing it. That was when our Energy Champ asked to say a few words. She thanked everyone for their effort for such a good cause. She then revealed, with her two kids by her side, that she is a cancer patient herself and that the money raised was helping research to increase her life expectancy. That hit me so hard that I immediately decided that I needed to do something special. I didn’t know what, but I knew I had to.


The Can Too Canberra pod celebrating just after finishing the SMH half-marathon. This amazing group of people raised more than $14k for cancer research!

Why marathons? Why 12 in one year?

Driving back home I was thinking about what to do. In the previous fundraising events that I participated my results were pathetic. In most cases the only money I raised was what I put myself as part of the event registration. For some time I’ve been trying to find the reason for my inability to raise funds. It could be the lack of family in Australia, my discomfort in asking people for money, or simply that my friends don’t see those events as a real challenge for me.

Recently I tried to tackle the last problem. For the third time I joined the Bilby Bathers team and participated in the Mega Swim Canberra, a 24h relay swim event to raise funds for multiple sclerosis. What could I do to make it look more challenging? Well, first of all I said that I would be happy to take any available shift. I ended up with the 4am to 5am and the 6am to 7am shifts, and also joined the short distance team relay from 9:30 to 12pm. On top of that I arrived one hour earlier to count laps for the poor guy swimming at 3am. I was taking pictures and posting on Facebook. I got lots of likes and one donation! Woo hoo! But that was all… 😦


Some of the awesome members of the Bilby Bathers team at the 24h Mega Swim 2015. After only 2 and a half hours of sleep and more than 8km swum I raised the stunning amount of… $55 😦 ! The team effort was great though, almost $6500! (Photo from the Mega Swim website)

So, for my new fundraising project I decided to do something impressive, something that I would never do just for fun. Well, an Ironman is in my plans, so no. An Ultraman? Not in my plans (yet?) but the amazing Debi Hazelden and John Mergler had just done that, also raising funds for Can Too. As I was discarding crazy one-off events I thought of doing a long term project, just like the treatments that my friends and relatives went (or are going) through. That’s how I came up with the “Fit it in one” idea: 12 marathons in one year! And here I am less than a month away from the first 42.195 km!