PETER Mahoney wants you to question why he is running seven marathons, across seven states in seven days the year after his hip operation.
Running, he said, was the easy part. Peter is pushing through his own social anxieties to raise awareness for child protection organisation Bravehearts.
It took running more than 100 marathons for Peter to find what he said was a purpose to keep running.
"When I was first introduced to Bravehearts, I thought I can't do much but I can run and it's given me purpose to keep running," Peter said.
This is an organisation that doesn't get a lot of recognition. Preventing sexual abuse of kids is not something people really talk about.
Running times do not matter to Peter anymore. He was happy to stop and chat or walk and talk with people about his mission while training or on course.
Peter grew up in a household with a violent, alcoholic father and living in Ballarat, he was very much aware of the impact of clergy sexual abuse on his generation.
A grandfather of five, Peter said this was a chance to focus on how he could make a difference. He said Bravehearts was not just about supporting survivors but also looking out for the next generation in school-based programs, including those run in Ballarat, so children and teenagers knew it was okay to speak up.
This is the second time Peter is preparing to achieve the Bravehearts 777 feat. His marathon effort in 2017 left him determined to keep getting out there and making every step count as long as he could - even after non-running related hip operation kept him sidelined last year.
"A lot of people who ran in 2017 were survivors...they were everyday people and not hardened marathon runners," Peter said.
It's a special group of people. I found there was a lot of self-healing.
"It's good to find a greater purpose than running for the bling at the end - and with the bling is a great sense of achievement."
Peter first took up running as a sport after visiting a surgeon for a bad back when he was younger. He said the surgeon's advice was to get moving more, rather than have surgery.
Walking felt too slow but he was soon hooked on running, particularly as a single dad of five needing time to clear his head.
Now his children are all grown up, Peter looks to how he can give back to the community and help more children, like those his grandchildren's age.
Peter said he was facing this running mission with a little apprehension coming back from surgery, but his hip was holding up well and his medical team were comfortable with his goals. He could walk when he needed and take time for those who wanted to talk.
Bravehearts 777 Marathon will start in Perth on July 1 and will move on consecutive days to Adelaide, Melbourne, Launceston, Sydney and Canberra before finishing with the Gold Coast Marathon on July 7.
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