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Mothers in arms embrace race for child protection

 
When the Bravehearts 777 challenge – 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days – kicks off in Perth in June, four mothers will be leading the charge for child protection. 
 
Maggie Giles, Andrea Turpin, Jayne Berkin and Natalie Landmann (pictured) formed a close bond four years ago and formed a mothers group but a recent encounter with another Western Australian mother inspired them to join forces to run 42 kilometres for children. 
 
The awesome foursome from Wembley, Nedlands and Wembley Downs met their personal trainer Gill, a passionate child protection advocate, whose life was tragically turned upside down when her 17-year-old daughter Abbey took her own life after years of sexual assaults by her father. 
 
Eager to support Gill and the awareness and prevention of child sexual assault across Australia, the marathon mothers formed their aptly named team ‘Mummies on the run’ to enter the Perth leg of the Bravehearts 777 on June 29. 
 
Natalie said the 777 was the perfect platform to make a difference. 
 
“One of my school friends was assaulted as a child and after going through her disclosure in our early 20s, we found there were quite a few of our school mates who also came forward to break their silence,” she said. 
 
“After meeting Gill and thinking about it happening to your own children, it really hits home hard and we saw the marathon as something we could do immediately to raise awareness.” 
 
Recreational runner Jayne Berkin is encouraging her team with training programs, which include runs around Lake Monger. 
 
“As mums, it’s tough finding the time to exercise but we are all encouraging each other and making an effort to improve our fitness,” she said. 
 
“As we get closer to the marathon we hope to have more opportunities to train together.” 
 
‘Mummies on the run’ is also fundraising in the lead up to the 777 marathon. You can visit their fundraising page and make donations at bit.ly/1IuQTvW and follow their journey at www.facebook.com/mummiesontherun777bravehearts. All funds will enhance Bravehearts capacity to educate, empower and protect Aussie kids. 
 
Bravehearts Founder and CEO Hetty Johnston AM says the event brings people together who are passionate about making a real difference in the community.

“Child protection is everybody’s business in every corner of the community and it’s great to see these mothers leading the charge from the front and taking on this awesome challenge,” she said.

“This crime is, for the most part, preventable. Money raised will help those vulnerable kids out there who are enduring their own personal marathons and we want to reach as many of them as we can with our personal safety program Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show and our specialist counselling services.”

The Bravehearts 777 – 7 marathons in 7 states in 7 days - is a heart-pounding, exhilarating feat which will see participants run/walk 300kms in a week with marathons in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Kingscliff and the Gold Coast. 

But if running all 7 marathons seems too daunting, you can run just one marathon in your home state for $500 or make a holiday of it and travel interstate to participate. Do it with a partner or get the whole family onboard or compete as a team.

Participants will be mentored by three-time Uncle Toby’s Ironman series winner Guy Andrews, with tailored training plans designed to build up your fitness. 

All funds raised will help to fund counselling, advocacy and education services for Australian children and their families affected by sexual assault.  

Research shows that 1 in 5 children in Australia will be sexually assaulted in some way before their 18th birthday – a number Bravehearts aims to halve by 2020 with its child protection blueprint The Three Piers to Prevention – Educate, Empower, Protect.

Register now or donate at www.braveheartsadventures.org.au

Need to talk to someone? Bravehearts is here to help: 1800 272 831.