Runners remember Jackie Fairweather with tribute run

Jackie Fairweather.
Jackie Fairweather.  

Diet Coke, dark chocolate and red wine were some of Jackie Fairweather's favourite things and the three treats will be a fitting end to a tribute to her life based around her greatest love of all - running.

Fairweather's life will be celebrated at public memorial service at the AIS Arena on Thursday at 11.30am.

At 6.30pm, her husband Simon Fairweather will lead friends, family and members of the broader triathlete community in a tribute run around Lake Ginninderra – one of Fairweather's favourite running spots.

Olympian Rob de Castella, one member of the Canberra running community ready for Thursday's tribute run, said the run was a fitting tribute.

"I think it's important not to forget the incredible person Jackie was," he said.

"She has contributed so much to Australia but also to the lives of other people."


In lieu of flowers organisers of the memorial service and tribute run have asked for donations to be made to Ward 2N at Calvary Hospital. 

Calvary Hospital's public mental health services manager Carmel Ronning said staff would consult Fairweather's husband Simon but felt the money should go to health and well-being programs for the acute inpatient ward.

"Perhaps exercise equipment and funding fitness programs for patients and perhaps some staff education as well," she said.

"Jackie would have appreciated that... it's something we're lacking in and health and lifestyle is important in recovery."

Ronning said the stigma surrounding mental illness was slowly disappearing.

"There are lots of supports out there it's a matter of people feeling confident and overcoming stigma," she said.

"Certainly the actions of Jackie's family will assist in breaking down the stigma, but it's still very prevalent in society and it does block some from accessing services.

"Mental illness can affect anyone… particularly with the stresses of today's living."

De Castella said he was in New York with his indigenous running team when he heard Fairweather had died on November 2.

"I've known Jackie for a long time and I was just devastated to hear the news," he said.

"Suicide is a something which is a major issue with indigenous Australians... I recently heard of an 8-year-old boy in the Kimberly who took his life.

"This tragedy is something which certainly affected me in a strong way and I want to demonstrate my support to Simon or anyone else going through this emotional struggle."

Fairweather's former coach Dick Telford said he planned to take his running group to the tribute run after their usual training session and expected many runners to take part.

"It's nice to do something where everyone can get together," he said.

"I think Jackie would have wanted something like this, she would like to know people cared... running is definitely the medium for this or some sort of physical activity."

Ronning said the first point of contact for someone concerned about their mental health was their GP, for more acute cases the crisis team or hospital emergency department were options and mental health services were also available at all community health centres.

Lifeline was also another option.

Jackie Fairweather's memorial service will be at 11.30am on Thursday at the AIS Arena in Leverrier Crescent, Bruce with entry through the AIS Visitor's Centre. 

The tribute run will begin at 6.30pm at John Knight Memorial Park in Townsend Place, Belconnen.