For most, the prospect of running a marathon is daunting.
But come 7am on Sunday morning, that is precisely what John Wilson and his son Ben will be doing in preparation for Bravehearts 777 Marathon.
The 777 Marathon usually involves athletes running seven marathons in seven days across seven different states. But due to Covid, the 777 will run across seven different Queensland cities and towns.
Toowoomba, Brisbane, Mount Isa, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Gold Coast will host the 777 Marathon from June 28 to July 4.
Bravehearts was founded in 1997 when Hetty Johnson's daughter disclosed she had been sexually assaulted. Johnson found no help after this revelation, so she established Bravehearts to provide advice and support to those affected by sexual assault.
The 777 Marathon began in 2013 as a unique way for individuals to raise money for Bravehearts to help prevent child sexual assault.
John and Ben Wilson are two of six Canberrans who will participate in this year's event. John Wilson had initially planned to compete in last year's 777 Marathon before its cancellation due to Covid.
"The travel is going to make it harder this year because last year with Covid, we just did it all in Canberra. So I just ran 42km every day in different locations around Canberra," he said.
John had an unexpected training partner, though, in the form of his 16-year-old son Ben, who will join John in Queensland to knock the seven races out of the way.
"He ran 158km with me last year. So he did two full marathons and a half-marathon, and then at least 10 to 15km every other day. So he knows what he's in for," John Wilson said.
To run nearly 300km in a week requires plenty of training. One alternative method of marathon preparation is deep water training. The pair have been doing this with Di Evans at AquaSparke.
John says it has helped them perfect their technique while reducing the impact on their joints from constantly running.
The duo was preparing for the aspect of running in a climate quite different to Canberra.
"I've been running in thermals and a hoodie to try and overheat myself. Ben has been wearing gloves and a hoodie. We've been saying to each other to stay hot and keep it on," John Wilson said.
"We generally run about 5.30-6am. It is freezing, so you need all that to start with. But then we have been keeping it on and making sure we're sweating."
The Canberra contingent for the Bravehearts 777 Marathon will have a training race at Lake Ginninderra from 7am on Sunday.
- Donations are welcome at fundraise.bravehearts.org.au/event/777-marathon-2021-national/national-team.
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