Ultra-distance runner Richard Bowles is pounding along the Bicentennial National Trail on his way to the South Burnett
Richard Bowles is helping to raise funds for SANE Australia

June 15, 2012

Most people would think you’d have to be bit crazy to volunteer to run 5330km along the Bicentennial National Trail for charity.

But for ultra-distance runner Richard Bowles, it’s a very SANE thing to do …

The run, which will be bringing Richard into the South Burnett fairly soon, is raising funds for the national mental health charity SANE Australia to support their work for people with mental illness.

The Bicentennial National Trail follows old coach roads, stock routes, brumby tracks, rivers and fire trails along the length of the Great Dividing Range.

The world’s longest marked trail traverses remote bush in national parks, crosses mountains, rivers, lush rainforest and dry plains.

During the first 2000km of the run – which began at Healesville in Victoria – Richard encountered snowstorms, the swollen Murray River, strained muscles and angry bulls.

“In the 40 years since it was founded, few people have completed the trail in its entirety, yet alone run it,” Richard said.

He is expected to run into Blackbutt at some time between June 26 and June 30, and then onto Nanango, Kingaroy and Kilkivan.

“SANE supports and advocates for people with a mental illness as well as their families and friends,” Richard said.

“They have a busy helpline with trained counsellors who provide information and referrals. They also offer a wide range of books, DVD kits, and other resources to explain symptoms and treatments for mental illness.”

People can support Richard on his run – and support people with a mental illness – by donating to SANE online.

[Photos: Aaron Flanagan and Vickie Saunders]

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