MIKE Silcock admits he knew little-to-nothing of motor-neuron disease until his godfather was diagnosed.
Now, Silcock is training to run one of the world's most famous marathons to promote awareness. He does so to both honour his godfather, who died in 2013. And he does so with the blessing of all who have reached out, affected by loved ones with MND.
While there is no cure, Silcock runs to support people living with the condition that attacks controlling muscles to speech, breathing, swallowing and movement.
"I'm nervous," Silcock said. "I don't want to let anyone down - not that people support me with the expectation I must finish the marathon - it's the pressure I'm putting on myself.
Running is part of my life, I run everyday anyway, but this is different.
The St Patrick's College boarding director is determined to set a good example for his boarders. Social justice is a big part of boarding culture at the school, the chance to board considered a privilege and emphasis was on giving back to those in need.
Running the New York City Marathon in early November is a chance for Silcock to step out as a individual making a stand for a cause he is passionate about.
He is bringing the community along with him.
From Silcock's selection in the MND Victorian team last November, with immediate backing from his school, Silcock raised more than $4000 within six weeks.
Australian Boarding Schools Association, for which Silcock is on the board, is working on fundraising across its 193 schools nationwide.
Melbourne Rebels, supported by City of Ballarat, allowed Silcock to generate $400 from gold coin donations to their practice game at Mars Stadium last month.
Silcock said AFL identity Neale Daniher's annual Big Freeze at the 'G had been incredible in continuing to generate support for the cause on a big scale.
This run was personal and he hoped his efforts would grow awareness at a grassroots level beyond the year dedicated to the event.
Silcock's New York City Marathon efforts come 10 years after his first and only marathon in Melbourne.
A decade ago, Silcock was running to improve his own health. The former English schoolboys rugby player had a high-level rugby career ended by a broken neck.
In the next few years, Silock had piled on weight and at his heaviest weighed 150 kilograms. Within nine months of taking up running, Silcock had lost half his body weight and ran his first marathon.
Running is now part of his daily routine. Silcock has since completed a few half-marathons and enjoyed community events, like Run Ballarat, but had never thought he would tackle a marathon again.
Then this chance came up.
Sticking to a program and some help from The Running Company, Silcock said he has never felt in better shape. He has a new purpose.
As a rugby player, running was for fitness. A decade ago, running was to lose weight. Now, running is a mission and his boarders are taking note.
"They've always known me for running to stay fit and healthy. The boys in this group are really supportive about the cause," Silcock said.
"I'm a firm believer you role model good behaviour, the way I want these boys to be. I want them to know what life's all about."
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