Rob Bindon-Howell of Nicholls will be running his first marathon to raise money for breast cancer. Photo: Melissa Adams
Rob Bindon-Howell had never run further than 10 kilometres before he started training for The Canberra Times Canberra Marathon, but at 39 years old and 102 kilograms, the former rugby player made a bold promise to people donating to his charitable cause.
If he doesn't finish the 42 kilometres in less than five hours, Mr Bindon-Howell will cover every dollar pledged to his fund-raising effort. At present, he's risking $2800, but he hopes that will nudge closer to his $10,000 target by the time of the run on April 14.
The financial planner from Nicholls is raising money for Breast Cancer Network Australia, a charity he chose after watching his mother-in-law beat the disease.
"She stayed with us while she was having the chemotherapy - that was a little while ago but I've been wanting to just do something good," he said.
"I thought if I can do a little bit, I know it's not much but it will all help."
Having made the ''impulse'' decision to run the marathon three months ago, Mr Bindon-Howell has lost 10 kilograms, and is up to 24 kilometres in his training runs.
But it hasn't all been smooth sailing, with dry needling treatment now part of his routine.
"My calves go after 10 or 15 k, they ache and ache and ache so I'm having to get this treatment … to get my calves into working condition," he said.
"I'm still too heavy to run a marathon on road when my joints from football swell up … but I'm getting there."
He's also cut back on wine, watching what he eats a bit more closely and learning to become a morning person to fit training in before his two kids wake up.
"I actually enjoy running … [but] I probably wouldn't [choose to] go at 5.30am for three hours," he said.
While his wife think he's mad, she bought him an iPod to run with, now stocked with the music of Rocky, among others, to get him through the pain barrier.
He plans to set a pace of 4½ hours, allowing his wallet some breathing room with the five-hour target. "If I don't [complete] it, worst-case scenario it will cost me a bit of money … but I'm going to give it my best shot. I'll fall over trying, put it that way.
You can sponsor Mr Bindon-Howell through everydayhero.com.au/rob_bindonhowell.
Early-bird entries for the Australian Running Festival close on Friday, although entry will still be open until all spots are filled. There are five and 10-kilometre events on April 13, as well as the half-marathon, marathon and 50-kilometre ultra-marathon on April 14.