HSP family takes on wheelchair marathon

Raises $11,500 for HSP research


Ted and Sonja and their family from outer suburban Melbourne created their own Marathon event to raise funds for HSP research. Sonja started a fundraising page on Everyday Hero called ‘Wheeling for a Cure’ where they raised $11,500 from over 100 people.



putting in the training

At the start back in January, Sonja said “We are doing a marathon together! Now, don’t get the wrong idea. Ted (who has HSP) is still in a wheelchair and I still don’t run anywhere. We’ll be doing this marathon by wheeling and walking. We’ve chosen a stretch of the Warburton Rail Trail.”


Ted & Sonja took on fundraising because they wanted to make a difference. The date of reckoning was 30 March 2019. “We have a support crew all ready to help and hope to finish the wheel/walk within 12 hours.”


They began training: “We walked from Woori Yallock 10km west to just shy of Wandin. Disaster struck after 3km when Ted’s freewheel broke! We had a choice of turning around and heading back to the car or helping to push Ted 17km uphill and down with the small casters on the front of the chair slowing us down. We of course chose the latter option”.


On another training day: “It was a very hard walk/wheel today. There were no breakdowns of any equipment but the route I chose started with a big downhill section which means the return journey ended with a big uphill section. Oh, and it was also really dusty!”


… more training

Training with bushfires raging: “Due to the terrible fires raging in Victoria, we decided to err on the side of caution and took our walk to the bay. Hopefully the fires are brought under control soon and we can head back out onto the trail again next weekend”.


The following weekend: “We made it out onto the trail again. The fires still aren’t under control, but the temperature has dropped and the trail area isn’t under any threat. The smoke haze in the area was clearly visible. It made for a spectacular sunrise but fortunately wasn’t strong enough to affect either our breathing or our eyes”.


A hot training day: “With today’s forecast of 37, we cut the walk short to only 13.7kms”.


Getting closer to the big day: “As the marathon is only 13 days away, we upped our distance today to 34km. That’s all good in theory but I made the big mistake of telling our supporting walkers of the plan and suddenly, everyone was busy and couldn’t help!!”


Final preparation: “Our final training wheel/walk is complete! We had a great session today, which we shortened to only 16 km as the marathon is only a week away. We still managed to fit in a coffee at our favourite café. While there were no cows on the path today, we did see a number of kangaroos off in the distance and Ted did manage to spook a horse”.


all smiles at the finish

“Marathon day was an interesting day. After all of the experiences of the Warburton Rail Trail over the weeks of training, we had experienced dust, heat, bush fire threat, smoke haze, and other trail users including walkers, bike riders, horse riders, cows, kangaroos, emus, deer, sheep, alpacas and goats; on the day it rained, not the 11mm forecast but 25mm, and also the coldest March day in Melbourne for 50 years!!”


Ted & Sonja achieved the full Marathon distance of 42.5kms in a little over 6 ½ hours actual walking time with an average of just under 10 minutes per kilometer. Total time was 8.5 hours with breaks well organized by the support team.


Ted & Sonja were humble about their physical achievement. Ted said “I guess the main achievement was not the distance covered or the time taken but the amazing support and generosity of our friends, family, and colleagues who have enabled us to plan, train, and complete our marathon and have so willingly donated to the cause.”

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