When little Lilly Tunningley was born, she weighed 2.1 kilograms, was not much longer than a ruler, and her hand was so tiny it fitted inside her mum's wedding ring.
Her mum, Crystal Tunningley, was rushed to hospital at just 32 weeks pregnant in excruciating pain.
If they waited any longer, doctors told Mrs Tunningley and her husband Robert that she and Lilly may not have survived.
When Mr Tunningley first saw his daughter, her left arm and leg were completely white.
Lilly remained on life support for 24 hours and in hospital for four weeks learning to feed, but her strength prevailed and she recovered quickly.
She has had her tonsils removed and experiences muscle weakness which causes abdominal problems, but she's doing better than expected.
Lilly will turn three years old in April. Her early arrival and a passion to support those faced with the same difficulties has inspired Mr Tunningley to run in The Canberra Times Canberra Marathon in this year's Australian Running Festival in April.
Life's Little Treasures Foundation, the charity Mr Tunningley is running for, provides support for families of sick or premature babies.
Mr Tunningley planned to raise $20 for every kilometre he runs but hoped he may even surpass that goal.
Premature birth is the number one killer of newborns in Australia, according to the charity.
Mr and Mrs Tunningley were not aware of Life's Little Treasures while their daughter was in hospital, but the enormous support they received from their friends and family helped them endure the emotionally draining experience.
The support was especially important as their son Austin was just 14 months old when Lilly was born.
"There are a lot of people who go through that situation and don't have the support that we did," Mr Tunningley said.
"So part of this is putting Life's Little Treasures out there so that if people do go through that situation they know that there's support groups like that out there."
Mr Tunningley has always been an active person and played a lot of team sports at a national level, but his leap into long distance running was inspired by his brother. In preparation for the Canberra Marathon, his first ever marathon, he runs 20-30 kilometres a week.
"Any time you go through something like this, it's hard for a reason. It's easy to quit. But it's the hard things in life that are worth doing," he said.
He will draw his determination from the strength of every baby that needed to and will have to endure the challenge of premature birth.
"The struggle that I'm going to go through on the day is going to compare nothing to what these little babies go through. They fight so hard, and they're so little and they've got so much fight in them to survive and live, and that's incredibly inspiring," he said.
The 2015 Australian Running Festival features the adidas 5km and 10km on Saturday, April 11, and the half marathon, marathon and ultramarathon on Sunday, April 12.
For event information or to enter, visit runningfestival.com.au.