Canberra teacher Tony Cox says with so much negative news around the profession of teaching, he wanted to add something positive to the public discussion. And he is not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. Or make that running the run.
The 50-year-old primary school teacher from Lyons has set himself a formidable personal challenge to honour and encourage all his teaching colleagues, reminding them their health and wellbeing is crucial to them doing their best in the job.
On March 8 and 9, he will be running from Canberra to Moruya, taking the back roads via Queanbeyan, Hoskinstown, Majors Creek and Araluen.
He'll be running 85km a day - the equivalent of two marathons a day.
"I've run nine marathons [in total] and my longest run has been 50km, so this will be taking things to another level," he said.
"I'm feeling terrified, excited. I'm not kidding myself, it's going to hurt."
Tony hopes the run will "inspire teachers to keep going and to reach for their goals, aspirations and to seek support if required".
"This run is about creating a ripple effect of teacher holistic health improvement and positivity, teacher by teacher, school by school, system by system," he said.
Tony is speaking from the unique position of being not only a teacher, but a health coach who helps teachers to reduce stress and increase happiness, wellbeing and job satisfaction. His business is Tenacity Health Coaching.
"I started teaching in 1999 but I had a five-year hiatus. I left because I was extremely stressed. I was pretty well burnt-out and I thought there must be an easier way to making a living," he said.
He spent three years in the public service but missed education, eventually returning to schools as a deputy principal. He now works on a contract basis and is more attuned to the demands of the profession and the means to mitigate stress and overwork.
"It doesn't matter what sector, public or private or independent, it seems to be teaching is becoming a more and more stressful role," he said.
"With my background as a teacher and certified health coach, I can put steps in place to help teachers and make sure they're looking after themselves and they can be the best they can be for the kids they teach."
Tony will be accompanied on the run by a support crew of one - dad Frank, 78 - and running mate Ben Wilson.
Doing a big run was always a goal for him.
"I guess growing up I used to go running with my dad when he went for his morning jogs and so on and that was around about the time when Cliff Young and Yiannis Kouros were doing the Sydney to Melbourne runs, which I thought was extraordinary," he said.
"And that inspired me to one day tackle a challenge that was similar.
"Fast-forward, 40 years, I thought running to the coast might be do-able."
Tony has a renewed love of teaching. He never under-estimates the potential of the profession.
"I think it's a profound privilege to be working with young people, to help them learn to learn so that they can then be functioning, hopefully flourishing, adults and to have input into their development, it's really exciting," he said.