For years Matt Burch has kept fit through strength training, but with gyms closed during the COVID pandemic he decided to set himself a marathon new challenge.
Despite never having been a runner, he decided to tackle a half marathon.
And after just a few runs, he set his sights even higher and decided to tackle the full 42.2km marathon distance - and then some.
But it wasn't enough for Mr Burch to simply tackle the run and he decided to add meaning and provide himself with some extra inspiration and dedicate the marathon to raising funds for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor program.
On Sunday October 4, which would have been the Melbourne Marathon, Mr Burch will run from Skipton to Ballarat along the rail trail then in to finish with a lap around Lake Wendouree. It will be just over the marathon distance, clocking in at almost 43km but with several 35km training runs already under his belt he's confident he can make the distance.
"I just wanted to take on a new challenge and challenge myself in a way I never had before so I started running. The first kilometre was absolute hell but the next day I didn't feel too bad so I kept on going."
After his first few runs and with his sights initially set on the half marathon distance, he looked at the training program for the full Melbourne Marathon and realised it aligned exactly with the amount of time he had left before the event - so he shifted his goal to the full distance.
"I'm a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organisation and I'm very passionate about its work and making our community a better community, so I decided the run would raise money for Big Brother Big Sister as well.
"Growing up through life, becoming a teen and an adult, it was always really important I had mentors in my life and I don't think I would be where I am today if not for the positive role models and influences in my life," he said.
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"And I wanted to acknowledge change. If I can go from not ever running to being able to put on a pair of shoes and commit myself to training and to run 42.2km, hopefully it will inspire other people to go and make one change themselves. It might be to run one block, or just to make some sort of positive change for themselves."
Mr Burch will run the first 32km of the marathon on his own before friends join for the final 10km in to town and around Lake Wendouree to his finish line.
Click here to link to the fundraising page.
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