Mountain Man's New ChallengeAugust 2002 - originally appeared in the Bankstown-Canterbury Torch newspaper
Grahame Kerruish, aka Mountain Man, is a self-confessed marathon junkie. In a running career that has spanned almost 20 years, the super-fit member of Bankstown District Sports Club's running fraternity and the Western District Harriers and Joggers has completed an astounding 261 marathons, including more than 70 ultramarathons. In distance terms, that amounts to more than 60,000 kilometres of terrain, from dirt tracks and mountain trails to scaled roadways.
"I actually hold the Australian record for the most number of completed marathons," Mr Kerruish, 63, said. "I got to about the 50 [marathon] mark and just kept going from there. I love the challenge of it and the social side as well." But his decision to participate in Relay for Life, at The Crest Athletics Centre at Bass Hill on the weekend of August 31 and September 1, was motivated by more than just his passion for pounding the pavement. Relay for Life is a massive fundraiser for the NSW Cancer Council and raising money for cancer research is a cause very close to Mr Kerruish's heart because he has been personally touched by the disease.
"On Friday, I attended the funeral of one of my close friends from marathon circles, Barbara Allan, who lost her fight with breast cancer after a four-and-a-half-year battle," Mr Kerruish said. "I have four other friends in the running fraternity who have also been stricken with cancer and I had my own cancer scare a few years ago when I had a malignant melanoma removed from my back. Cancer affects so many people in the community - there isn't one person you talk to who hasn't been affected by it in some way - and the more we can do to raise money [for research] the better."
Mr Kerruish is one of the few participants in Relay for Life who intends running for the whole 24 hours of the event. "It's the least I can do", he said. He is looking for sponsorship from generous people in the community and businesses in order to raise as much money as he can for the Cancer Council. But he also encouraged everyone in the Bankstown area to consider pulling on their tracksuits and trainers and getting involved in Relay for Life.
"And even if you are not going to run [or walk] a few laps, consider supporting it through sponsoring someone else," Mr Kerruish said.
If you would like to enter the relay, as a team or individual, contact the Cancer Council on (02) 9334-1413 or 1300-656-585. If you would like to sponsor Mountain Man's run, call Peter Moore at Bankstown District Sports Club on (02) 9709-3899.