KENNY Hughes of Toora will be running along the Great Southern Rail Trail again right throughout September, just as he did a year ago, to raise money for prostate cancer research and support.
Kenny covered nearly 400 kilometres and generated $3358 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) while taking part in The Long Run during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in 2021.
Now he is in training for 2022’s The Long Run, “though not as much as I should be!”, with the earnest intention of topping his previous achievements backed by as many sponsors as he can find.
“I did this last year, almost by chance, and raised just over $3000, so that’s my target to beat,” Kenny said.
“The Rail Trail backs onto my house in Toora, so it’s an easy start, but hard to finish!”
The Long Run aims to raise awareness and funds to help men survive prostate cancer by tasking people to “run, walk or wheel 72 kilometres in September and collect donations and rewards along the way”, as described by the PCFA.
Kenny said he was drawn into participating in The Long Run last year purely because of the distance.
“I had always meant to run the Rail Trail bit by bit from Port Welshpool to Leongatha, which is exactly 72 kilometres, so I was intrigued as to why The Long Run’s challenge was the same,” he said.
“I asked the PCFA to find out and was told that prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian men, and that one in five will develop anxiety or depression as a result of their diagnosis, yet 72 per cent will not seek help for it.
“That parallel of 72 prompted me to try to raise some money for a good cause, the PCFA, and I’m lucky because I’m fit and well and can do just that,” Kenny said.
“Of course the Rail Trail is much longer these days than the 72 kilometres it was for quite a long time.
“There are so many stories about men who have lost the battle or who have survived, and I want to run as far as I can so I can help as much as possible.
“I’m happy to take on a challenge if anyone would like to set me one, such as covering a distance in a certain time, or nominating a specific target, because I believe you can always go through a bit of discomfort if it will benefit others,” he said.
“A friend and I went on a training run over a weekend a while ago, and we went from Port Welshpool to Korumburra and back again, clocking up 176 kilometres!”
The name of the PCFA’s annual fundraiser comes directly from the organisation’s mission to work together with the community to ensure men with prostate cancer are supported “for the long run”.
Statistics show that one in five Australian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer by age 85.
Each year 24,217 men are diagnosed, and 10 men die each day.
PCFA Chief of Mission and Head of Research Professor Jeff Dunn AO said that “a future free from prostate cancer is within our reach.
“Survival rates have increased from around 61 per cent thirty years ago to 95 per cent today, and The Long Run can help us cover the last mile to a cure.”
The PCFA urges runners, walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users to “join The Long Run and help us keep up the pace of research, awareness and support.”
During the past 10 years the PCFA has funded $40 million in prostate cancer research, placed 100 Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurses, and provided one million information kits to the community.
Kenny invites everyone who would like to get behind his month-long campaign for The Long Run and to sponsor or challenge him, to look for him on his Facebook page.
“Type in Kenny Hughes Toora and you find me easily from among all of the other Kenny Hughes that there are around the world,” he said.
“You’ll also find a link on my Facebook page to The Long Run’s website where you can register or make a donation, and you’ll be able to keep track of my progress during September!”