When running really means something
By STEVE SPINKS
YOU have to admire the Gilfillan family from Tuntable Creek.
They don't stay at home talking about actions.
They get out and do it.
Take today as an example.
The family, along with some friends from their athletics squad Addicted 2 Running on the Gold Coast, will run a 130km relay from Lismore Base Hospital to Southport to raise money for the Early Bird Advocacy Group.
The Early Bird Advocacy Group was set up by Karen Gilfillan after she realised there was a lack of support for rural women who had premature or chronically ill babies.
Karen experienced this first hand when she had her own premature toddler, Julian, who survived despite being born at 26 weeks.
She also lost a terminally ill baby girl, Brittany, and had a still-born boy, Gabriel.
Early Bird helps women who have had similar difficulties.
This will be the second long distance relay the family has done.
In 2003, Karen and her daughters Ashlea, Courtney and Jessica ran from Lismore Base Hospital to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane, a relay of 250km.
They raised more than $10,000.
However, today the girls will not be running the whole relay.
The senior members of the Addicted 2 Running squad, including the Gilfillan girls, will run the first leg of the relay to Salt, just north of Pottsville.
The younger members of the squad will then run the shorter leg from Salt to Southport.
"The girls won't be doing the whole thing this time," their father and coach Rob Gilfillan said.
"All three of them have got the Pacific School Games at the end of November so it's not a good time of year for them to be doing that type of distance."
The Gilfillans moved to the Gold Coast a few years ago but return to their Tuntable Creek property as much as they can.
In fact, Rob indicated the family would be pretty much moving back to the area full-time next year.
"We've nearly had enough of the Gold Coast," he said.
"We're thinking of basing ourselves back in Lismore four days a week and starting to do some coaching down there."
The relay starts at 5.30am at Lismore Base Hospital and will go through Bangalow, Brunswick Heads and then along the coast road through Cabarita before finishing at the Southport Sharks AFL club.
A fund-raising dinner will then be held at the club, with Steve Ovett the guest speaker.
Ovett won the 800 metres at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
In doing so he came from sixth to knock over British team-mate and raging favourite Sebastian Coe.
Later in the same Games, Coe reversed the result by winning the 1500 metres; Ovett finished third.